Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the best I can do?

How often do you find yourself thinking, or saying "I'm doing the best I can."

I am pretty sure I both say and think it quite a bit.  Sometimes, it's quite true.

Often I think its how we give ourselves permission to not achieve perfection.  We know perfection is impossible, yet we still want it, or at least the appearance of it.

Other times, we use that phrase as a cop-out, an excuse.  If we say "I'm doing the best I can" no one can really fault us.  They feel pressured to accept it as truth, because "the best I can" is relative, it's not objective.

No one else can tell you what the best you can do is.  They may try, but usually they just say "ok" and leave it at that.

Has anyone ever challenged you though, and said "I think you can do better?"  I don't think anyone has ever challenged me in that way.  It would be difficult to hear, but I'd like to think I'd take inventory and truly investigate if I was doing the best I could.

I'm in the process of reading and teaching the book The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg, and that's exactly what his wife told him.  She approached him with several things she wasn't happy with and he said "I'm doing the best I can" and she said "no, you're not.  You're not living up to what you teach and preach or what you've done in the past."  That incident was one of the factors that lead to the journey which turned into this book.

It really has caused me to stop and think.  I believe I've been accepting too much mediocrity in my life.  Mediocrity that I'm to blame for.  I let things go in the house.  I don't keep up with various cleaning and organizing tasks.  Yes it's true that I'm tired, that I'm busy, that I'm a working mom of young children, that I need to take care of myself.

But truly, these things I leave undone for far too long, take probably a maximum of twenty minutes to complete.  Easily done.  But discipline and a plan is required.

In some respects, I'm NOT doing the best I can, even though I try to pretend I am.  And it's not about perfection or getting things done.  A lot of times, I just forget what needs to be done when I have the time to do it, until it's too late and I'm too tired.  The bottom line is I feel better about myself and better about life in general when I am on top of these basic tasks.

This last week and weekend were pretty out of control.  The little girls were sick and I was trying to get work stuff accomplished from home. Then I taught a class all day Friday and most of Saturday.  When I got home on Saturday we drove 90 miles to one of my best friends baby showers.  Sunday was a busy day at church and I officiated a memorial service in the afternoon and didn't get home until 3:30pm.

I had every reason to sit around on Monday and relax.  But so many areas of my home needed attention. And we were all home and it was a warm, beautiful day.  In actually started on Sunday when I cleaned the kitchen and dining room floors.  Monday I went to work cleaning, purging and organizing in the girls' rooms.  I de-cluttered other parts of the house.  It pretty much took all day, between stops to play with the kids, attend to them, and take care of life as well.

It felt good.  It energized me.  And when I walk into the bedrooms, it's like a breath of fresh air now.  I can say on Monday, I truly did the best I could.

This morning, I got up at 5:15am so that I could run.  Bean had to leave at 6am and I'm needed to be back in the house by then.  Yes, it was early.  But I haven't been running enough and I've been more on edge and tense.  So running early, was my best.

I have a list of forms I'm going to print from Monday Saving Mom and Simple Mom to help me organize.  I love lists and organization, routines and plans. But I've been slacking big time.  It's time to step it up.  I'm going to find what works for me.  I want to do truly do the best I can do.  I don't want to settle for mediocrity any longer.

I'll still have days I slack.  We'll still spend days in our jammies.  But I want to have earned those days.

I want to know I'm truly doing the best I can.  Because I know I'll be happier when I am.

What do you think?  Do you use this as a cop-out sometimes?  Are there any downloads, forms, schedules etc that you find helpful?

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