By Jody Bennett
I was struck recently, when reading the children's report cards that "good" is no longer good enough; "satisfactory" just isn't; and "average" is almost equivalent to poor. In Australia, "ordinary" has become a slur.
Now the expectation is that everything has to be "excellent" or "outstanding", 3 out of 5 is just not acceptable. Even Uber drivers get canned if their ratings fall below 4.5, or so I've heard.
Our children cannot just pass, they must excel; our homes cannot be just clean, they must be spotless; our bodies cannot be aging and comfortable, they must be super-fit and model-thin; our friendships cannot be part-time, we must be BFFs; and our marriages cannot settle into peaceful uneventfulness, they must be "smoking".
This puts an awful lot of pressure on women. We constantly feel we are not good enough, not working hard enough, not attractive enough and not producing enough results.
Many of us are exhausted, drained and depressed by the constant weight of expectations that we seemingly are not fulfilling.
When I was a new mum, I heard the phrase, "stop trying to be the best mum you can be and just be good enough", and it seemed to me to be such a cop out. It is only with maturity I can see the wisdom of just doing what you can do, and not pushing yourself to breaking point to achieve standards that probably no one else will notice or appreciate.
Jesus has words of comfort for mums everywhere: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt 11:27-29)
Many people think that Christianity presents us with just another list of impossible goals to attain and unrealistic expectations to meet, and they rightly balk. But Christianity is, in fact, leaving our "To do" and "I must be more ..." lists at the foot of the cross, where all that was needed for our perfection has already been done; and instead taking up the call to follow meekly in the footsteps of Jesus and just do as He says, with the power that He so generously gives.
So, this Mother's Day, take a deep breath, put down the figurative cat-o-nine-tails with which you beat yourself for all the things you are not, cannot do, forget, waste time on, can't fit into to, or haven't quite achieved; and accept a great dollop of the unconditional love of God.
"But [Jesus] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) •