By Missy Smith
My kids are perfectionists! They want so bad to please their teachers, coaches, dance instructors and peers. They get so upset when they make a little mistake. They want to do things well and make sure that everyone is proud with their performance. They often get really upset when they don’t do something well. I know exactly where my girls get this from, as I do the same thing.
One day, my oldest daughter was obsessing about her “mess-up” on a test at school. I could immediately see her confidence dropping as she started to share with me how much her teacher would be disappointed with her for not doing well. After listening a while, I finally said to her, “You know what, you only need to please me and your dad. Your job right now in life is to please us! I am very proud of you and your hard work. That does not mean you will get it right every time but I see how much effort you put into doing well. Even if you don’t make a good grade or feel like you don’t do anything well, I will still love you. I expect you to work hard, but I will always love you no matter what. I simply think you are wonderful just because you are mine.” That seemed to settle her and encourage her. I still have not heard her mention this mistake since that day.
I began thinking about my girls and how so many times they get distracted by how they are not making everyone around them happy and how so many times that is me too. It’s simply because we want to do well at everything and yet it seems we never can measure up to the many tasks before us. Then I thought about being a mother and how I do this very thing in my mothering. I strive to be a good student and minister. I try to be a caring wife that loves their father. I strive hard to provide for my girl’s needs and show them God’s love through the way I nurture and care for them. But, oh, so many times I fail.
I fail at school when I don’t make deadlines. Sometimes I fail at taking my girls to dance lessons or just miss their lessons altogether. I fail when I don’t pay attention at their soccer games because I get too easily distracted. I often fail at providing care for them by not providing healthy food options. I fail when my house is a mess for weeks on end and clean clothes are not in sight. I fail by not being responsible with what they need turned in for school. I fail when my girls ask me constantly to go have lunch with them but I can’t because of school or work. Then, every time they get sick, I certainly feel like I have failed them because “A good mom would keep them well!”
So, many times I would say I don’t do this mothering thing well at all. I may try but it’s too much and I mess up. Then, discouragement comes in the form of thoughts of how I have disappointed my children through my mistakes…. It is often in those moments of beating myself up that I am reminded as if in a quiet whisper from God that I am OKAY because He loves me. In that moment I have peace and comfort knowing the ONE I need to please….IS indeed pleased with me.
So moms, this Mother’s Day, stop beating yourself up for all you have done wrong. Remind yourselves of whose you are and who you serve. There is freedom found when we only focus on pleasing God. I guess that is why he says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23.
God loves us no matter what!
He has released us from striving to please others, so all we need to do is focus on him and that’s all that matters. May our focus turn to pleasing HIM in everything we do, and on this Mother’s Day, HE will receive all the honor, glory and praise.