I remember it well, though it’s been almost four years since I taught at a small Christian school in Australia.
That day my class of kindergarten students had been…shall we say…unruly. They were much more interested in playing, running around, dropping their pencils, sharpening their pencils, chewing on their pencils, watching the paint dry on their pencils, than in learning anything.
As a kindergarten teacher, my goal was to make sure my students learned at least one new thing each day before they went home. It didn’t necessarily have to be an earth-shattering concept. Even if they just figured out how to open the bathroom door by themselves, it was a good day.
(I’m not kidding about that. I once had a student who couldn’t open the bathroom door by himself for the entire first half of the year. I mistakenly thought he was absent one day, but he had high-tailed it straight to the restroom after departing the bus and couldn’t get back out. He played happily in the bathroom all alone for 1/2 hour before his sisters told me he was at school.)
Anyway…back to my unruly students. By the end of the day, I was pretty well convinced I was a failure as a teacher. After cramming squirming feet into shoes and unwieldy lunchboxes into schoolbags, I flung open the classroom door and released the wild elephant herd.
Glancing across the room we shared, I unloaded my frustration on the 1-2 grade teacher.
“I don’t think my students learned ANYTHING today!”
My fellow teacher was a patient man with many years of teaching experience. He just chuckled and then spoke these words I’ve remembered ever since,
“Some days if the kids all go home alive, then that’s enough.”
His words grounded me and gave me a larger perspective on my day.
I realized not every day would go according to my carefully-made plans. Some days my students would soak up knowledge like little sponges, and some days they would forget what an “A” was. And that was ok, because not every day had to be perfect.
It’s a concept I’ve tried to remember the past few years. You might call me a recovering perfectionist, or at least a perfectionist who is trying to release her grip of control on all the things.
I’m a list person. A list person who likes to have her list neatly crossed out at the end of each day. But at this stage of my life, more often than not, it doesn’t happen.
Life as a single mom has me juggling the operation of a daycare while raising three teenagers. Trust me, there is no room for perfectionism in this equation.
I’ve come to the conclusion if everyone in my daycare and in my home is happy, healthy, fed, and loved, that is enough. The homemade chocolate chip cookies I used to bake and sparkling clean windows will just have to wait. (For at least one or two or thirteen years.)
Perhaps you are in this place today?
Worrying that you have not done enough.
Fretting about the things on your list that have been there for weeks.
Lying in bed wide awake with a thousand unfinished projects hurtling through your mind.
Afraid that you are not enough.
If you have tried your best today in the thing which God has called you to do, then you are enough. Leave the rest in His hands. He has not called you to solve all the world’s problems. He has not even called you to solve all your problems.
He just asks that you follow Him, obey Him, trust Him.
Do what you can, and leave the rest to Him.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9
“You are enough”
You wanted to pass with a higher score,
You wanted to accomplish a little more.
All you see tonight as you gaze at your list,
Are all the things, the things that you missed.
You rose with the dawn, got straight to your tasks.
Did all you could, did all that was asked.
You toiled all day, barely stopping to rest.
You gave it your all, you gave it your best.
Now in the dark, and the sleep won’t come,
Thoughts swirl around you, and leave you undone.
“I should have done better, I should have done more.”
Thoughts pounding down like fists on a door.
Then God pulls you close, cradles you near,
“Give it to me; give me those fears.
My child, I never asked you to do it all,
I know sometimes you try and you fall.
I know in your heart you’re doing your best.
And this was never meant to be a test.
My child, rest in me and go to sleep.
Trust me with all those fears you’re trying to keep.
I created you, I know your desires.
Don’t believe the fear, for fear is a liar.
Fear tells you, you will never be good enough.
But my child, My loves makes you enough.”