We've just about finished a huge basement remodel. We've been working at it on and off for five years, but we needed to have it finished by this Friday. My extended family is coming for a visit, and we need the sleeping space.
We've done all the work ourselves, from putting in the studs to hanging the sheetrock to mudding and taping and painting. The furniture arrives today, and we still need to do some paint touchup and hang the blinds in the bedroom.
I don't know if you've ever done a big home improvement project with your spouse, but tempers can often fray. Ours reached the breaking point this weekend and resulted in a less-than-stellar result. My husband and I don't often yell at each other, but on Sunday, we did it twice.
Between finishing up the basement, the drama and stress of soccer tryouts, getting ready for VBS this week and trying to get the rest of the house clean, I was out of patience, compassion and energy. I was doing my best, and it wasn't enough.
My daughter needed me to be calm and rational to help her think through her soccer decision. After two hours of her switching back and forth between decisions, I felt anything but calm.
My husband needed me to be a contractor finishing a job. After nearly two months of constant work on the basement, I was tired of drywall dust, paint and anything that resembled a tool.
My mom needed me to be a party planner. With everything else going on, this one didn't even register as something that needed to be done until my mom brought it up.
The 54 fifth-graders on my VBS roster needed me to be a prepared teacher. Looking at the clock and the calendar, I was trying to wedge in some time to open my leader's book and learn about God's amazing power.
My younger daughter simply needed me to be mom. I wanted to plop her down in front of the TV and let it babysit.
No matter what we do, our best simply isn't enough. It's when we reach that point that we have to stop and take a look at what we're doing and on whose strength we're relying. All weekend long, my mantra was "These are the things I have to get done." Outside of the soccer decision, I didn't once ask God what He thought was important or for the strength and energy to get it all done.
Simply doing my best isn't enough. It's not enough for my kids. It's not enough for my husband. It's not enough for my mom. And it's not enough for those VBS kids relying on me to teach them. No matter how good my best is, it's never going to be as good as God's best. Psalm 59:17 says "You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely."
How can I expect my kids to look to God for strength and help if I refuse to do it myself? How can I expect them to take their problems to Him if I'm shouting at my husband instead of allowing God to fill me with His love and patience?
The truth is I can't expect my kids to learn that unless I show them how it's done. Unless I take time to fill myself up every day with God's love and strength, I can't expect my kids to do so. Unless I take the time to stop and pray when my patience is short, I can't expect my kids to hang onto their tempers. Unless I quit trying to set my own priorities and instead let God set them, I can't expect my kids to focus on the things God wants them to do.
My kids can't learn any of those things unless I teach them. I can talk all I want about how we need to rely on God for His strength and love, but unless my kids see me doing it, my words are worthless. So, today, I'm not going to even try to do my best. I'm going to ask God to help me do His best. I know that will make me a better mom, a better wife, a better VBS teacher and even a better home remodeler. Because God's best is always better than mine.
Where do you need to let God help you do His best instead of striving to do your best?