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When are we good enough?

When have we done enough?

When is it good enough, and to whom is it good enough for? 

This is a question many of us humans struggle with or ponder when we consider the meaning and purpose of our lives. Maybe we don’t consider it deeply enough to understand the underlying motivations, the subconscious drivings that make us never feel satisfied with our accomplishments. 

Everyone has accomplished something if they are alive and getting by each day. If we have learned to dress ourselves, brush our teeth, drive a car, or ride a bicycle, then we have done something at least. 

As a child, expectations weren’t as high, and we, along with those around us, were generally happy with the small accomplishments that come with growing up. These expectations grow as we get older, sometimes from others close to us and sometimes from ourselves.

Many times, it is our own expectations of ourselves that really set the tone for our contentment with our accomplishments. Where do these expectations come from we must ask. 

The question persists, “when is it good enough?”

Often, the question is when am I good enough, or what I accomplish?

As a Christian, the question becomes when am I doing enough to fulfill my purpose for God? 

Then there are the relationships we have, the family we are part of…

It seems like a never-ending quest to be something or someone, as some vague ideal drives our subconscious thinking. 

Young adults are probably the most prone to having this central drive to do something with their lives, as they have just begun to accomplish things. It is when we get older that we start to wonder if this drive is still needed, or if we have done enough to be content with our vague or pointed goals. 

Maybe it is when we get older we start to consider this question, but it would be advantageous for younger adults to consider it as well, as they may be driven to do things for the wrong reasons, and in the end, never be satisfied with the results. 

On the one hand, there are super lazy people who have no ambition and don’t seem to care about accomplishing anything past mooching off others and getting by with hustling and crime. 

On the other hand, there are super ambitious people who falsely think they are going somewhere and becoming someone only to find out when they get there, it isn’t what they thought. 

There needs to be a balance. 

There needs to be contentment mixed with the drive to achieve modest and healthy goals in life. 

I’m not here to tell you what is enough, as this is the question I’m asking. What I’m discussing and wondering is if this question is ever answered on this side of reality, or is it just part of our fallen nature?

There will always be someone bigger, stronger, better looking, who makes more money, has a better job, and nicer stuff, so setting our expectations and standards for accomplishment based on other people is a sure way to be disappointed, for everyone.

 Even if someone achieves some top dog status, it is only for a short time and then back to being inferior — and the superior status was just an illusion anyway considering how big the world is and the unknown supernatural. 

If there is someone who bases their value on being better than others, they have a losing mentality. Eventually, they will realize this, likely, when no one is around to care. 

Time, old age, and death are there to get us all in the end. That is, if we live long enough to become “old.” Being old is relative anyway considering Adam and Eve lived around 1000 years. Just imagine that. 

Just having the luxury of contemplating when good enough is enough should make us grateful. 

Truly, being grateful and content, even when things aren’t optimal, is a powerful achievement. Those who have these things, whether poor and ugly or rich and beautiful, have something truly valuable. 

What I’ve noticed is those who are rich and beautiful are often the most miserable and unsatisfied. Isn’t that an interesting paradox? It seems the more people have, the more they want, and the more spoiled they get. Also, after people have experienced riches, beauty, and status, they can’t handle not living up to that high standard, which they generally can’t sustain for their entire lives. 

What goes up must come down.

It is better to stay consistent and not go up and down like a yo-yo. 

As a dreamer of sorts, I still have a flicker of the ambitions once embraced. Instead of a burning desire or need for them to manifest, I now place their accomplishment in the hands of God, while I work on them when the time and motivation present themselves— I believe He gives me both. 

The reality of how short life is, how precarious the future looks, and the vanity of being known by mankind, have tempered my ambitions down to a purposeful work given by God. This even enhances the importance of my efforts, while taking away the desperate need to become someone. As long as God knows me, I have already achieved the ultimate status longed for. 

Many times in everyday life, the question of what is good enough, am I ever good enough, comes up with frustration. The many efforts to just get by, go to work, pay the bills, do the chores, and be there for those we love, all seem to be gobbled up sometimes by the insatiable need for more and more of ourselves. 

It sometimes seems like others and even God doesn’t notice our constant efforts to stay afloat in the sea of life, as nature continues to ask for more and more. Then I wonder if nature is asking anything at all, or is it just this insatiable vague prodding inside myself, this will to power as Nietzsche put it, this longing for greatness, the quiet desperation inside most people like Thoreau surmised, or simply some vain drive for a life of ease? 

There is nothing wrong with seeking the most of our potential, yet there is also nothing wrong with being content with a consistent effort within our means.

 Maybe it is the culture of watching movies in America that continues to ask me to become a hero, to inspire with some unique overcoming tale, to rescue the innocent and downtrodden masses oblivious to the sinister plots of a nefarious elite, perhaps.

Whatever the case, the question persists. The saving grace is the answer appears to be getting clearer as I get older.

 The balance of drive and contentment is more attainable as I realize with God’s help the true purpose of my existence. Essentially, I want God’s will in my life, whether as a dedicated and faithful hermit that speaks life unto a lone traveler meant for great things, or a daily teacher to the lost in a large city full of troubles and deceptions. Maybe more realistically, somewhere in between the extremes, in the place He has me now. 

I have faith and hope that what I’ve done and who I am is enough, although the question still persists through the fallen nature within me. The fallen world around me needs more than I can give, yet I believe the answer is there for each person if they are willing to receive Him. That is their choice, just as it was mine. 

Whatever I’ve done and whoever I am, the best thing I ever did was accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. By believing and accepting the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, I have become enough to be satisfied and content with my life and what I’ve done. If I didn’t make this choice, I’m sure I would be miserable, even if I had more things and a loftier status. 


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