Monday, September 01, 2008

Accepting Mediocrity

A friend of mine wrote recently about Excellence in Mediocrity. I agree so heartily with what he said about how we idolize ourselves and our hard work, and how we always want to be The Best. I agree too with his assessment that mediocrity which flows from laziness is just not okay.

As I mused on what he wrote, however, it struck me that it's not only "average ability" that can cause mediocrity in spite of a person's working hard at what he does. Sometimes it's the great number of responsibilities. I mean, a person can only do so much. When he is trying to be a good husband, a faithful father, a son who honors his parents, a decent neighbor, and a hard-working employee, he may not be able to do an exemplary job at any of those things ... even if he theoretically could
if he had fewer people to love.

There is no "solution" to this other than do what you've been called to do in whatever way you can do it. Somebody will always be telling you that you're not doing it well enough. Most people in this society think that kids should have the priority, so whatever you have to ignore for the sake of giving your kids The Best should be ignored. (Hey, I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's the popular wisdom out there.) Some people will tell us that interacting with our non-Christian neighbors should be a priority so that we can "witness to them." Other people will encourage us to put our paid-employment as top priority. And others will say that our marriage should be the focus of our time and attention.

When you have people in your life to love, it's sad to recognize that you are unable to give each and every one of them the time and attention you wish to lavish on them. So we do what we can, and fail. And then we thank and praise God that we have so many loved ones that are still here on earth for us to spend time on! And we remember that God uses our weakness and inadequacies to do what HE wants to do in our loved ones' lives. And most importantly, when we still feel our failings for how we can't do it all, we go back to what Pr Stuckwisch was talking about as the only real solution: that excellence is found in what Jesus does for me, what He gives to me, and not in my response or in my love for others.

1 comment:

  1. Wow--were you a fly on my kitchen wall today? As we were having lunch, my husband asked my why I seemed so blue. And I told him that I was feeling inadequate--that there were so many things I was needing to do today and so many things that people were needing from me today (and most of those things needed to happen RIGHT NOW TODAY, not tomorrow or the next day) that I was feeling inadequate and overwhelmed with my inability to do it all. I was met with warm words and assurances and offers of help from my loved ones, all of which I deeply appreciate. But I also appreciate this reminder from you (and Pastor S.) that Jesus is big enough to cover all of my failures and shortcomings. And I also appreciate that the message here is not that if I only trust in Jesus He will empower me to DO IT ALL but instead an acknowledgement that I can't do it all and that He comes along after me cleaning up the mess that I have made.

    What a comfort. Thanks, Susan.