A recent article in the Wall Street Journal told of a bank who had loaned millions of dollars on an understanding, thinking that was “good enough.” It wasn’t, and they regretted their confidence in the value of a handshake agreement.
But many times in life, “good enough” is what we should be willing to settle for. As a teacher, I couldn’t expect every student to perform perfectly on everything, especially their written pieces. They would never have finished a piece if I’d insisted they edit it as I would have. I remember their smiles of relief when I said, “Sure! That’s good enough!” Then they could move on to something else.
Our friend and contractor, Dennis, has worked for us, on and off, for over thirty years. I think one reason he keeps working for us even after he closed his business and retired, is that he knows I like things done well but I don’t require perfection. One day, when he suggested he change something, I assured him it was fine as it was. He said, “I knew it! For Lanita Boyd it’s always ‘good enough’!” I think he meant it as a criticism, but I took it as a compliment.
Before we had children, we stayed for a week with three children whose parents were out of town. As we cleaned the house for their return, the 15-year-old daughter said, “No matter what we do, Mom will find something wrong with it. Nothing we do ever pleases her. It’s never good enough!”
I took that as a cautionary tale when I had my own children. They may have thought my expectations were too high, but I also tried to remember at times to accept good enough.
When we are having guests in our home, I like for everything to look as nice as possible. And yet, as I scan the rooms, I always see things I could do to improve what I see—dusting a shelf, Swiffering a floor, clearing coats off the hall tree. But, as I get older, those things are less important. Also, as I cook for guests, I don’t mind taking shortcuts, such as a purchased quiche instead of a homemade one, or a box mix coffee cake instead of one from a recipe.
I often look in the mirror (especially at my hair since I can do nothing about the wrinkles) and I think, “Well, I guess that’s good enough.”
i love growing flowers, but now my space is limited. As I plant what I can, I don’t grieve over previous flower beds or peony bushes. I figure what I have is good enough.
As I read my Bible daily, I sometimes think I’ve read enough for the day. Should I raise my standards there? Should I do more personal Bible study as well as what I do for my Bible studies with others? If I’ve taken food to a sick friend once, is that good enough? Should I take more? If I’ve called once to check on someone who wasn’t at church, is that good enough?
I know that what we do in the name of Jesus is never enough; I’m so grateful that because of Jesus, God accepts what I can do and overlooks what I neglect. Thank goodness, and thank God, that in his eyes whatever I do in the name of Jesus is, for God, good enough.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14