How good is good enough?

I have always been a rule follower. I like to know what to expect and what’s expected of me in any given situation. I feel safe when everything is laid out for me, like a check-off list for living.

But all too often, there is no check-off list, no list of rules to follow, or even if there is a list of rules, they are impossible to perfectly complete.

Parenting, for example. It seems like there are lists of rules everywhere for how to be a good mother, often contradictory. Let your child cry it out, so he learns to comfort himself. Or, don’t dare let your child cry himself to sleep, lest he develop a mistrust of his parents. Don’t overschedule your child, she needs time to develop her imagination. Or, make sure you give your child every opportunity to discover her gifts and passions.

There is no possible way to follow every rule. There is no way to be a perfect parent. I am going to mess up, make mistakes, and hurt my children sometimes.

It’s the same with every area of life. Relationships, jobs, even what we choose to feed ourselves and our families. There are so many differing opinions of what makes a “good” person that it is easy to give in to feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

This is one of the real questions of life, isn’t it? Am I good enough? Do I measure up? Will God be happy enough with me to let me into heaven?

I think if we are honest with ourselves, we know that the answer is no. No, we can’t really be good enough. God, by definition, is perfect. We, as humans, are not. No matter how hard I try to follow all of God’s rules, I can’t possibly be perfect or good enough.

That’s why I’m so thankful for grace, for God rescuing me through Jesus. He is perfect, and took the punishment I deserved for all the rules I have broken and will break. Grace gets rid of the guilt, shame, and striving to be everything I can’t be. Because of Jesus, I am not forbidden. I don’t have to follow every rule, because they have already been followed. God is happy with me because of Jesus, not through anything I have done on my own. What an amazing truth!

This post is inspired by I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits. Though not sisters by blood but through their Hasidic faith, Mila and Atara views the rules and structure of their culture differently. Mila seeks comfort in the Torah while Atara searches for answers in secular literature she is forbidden to read. Ultimately each must make an irrevocable decision that will change their lives forever. Join From Left to Write on May 8 as we discuss I AM FORBIDDEN. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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