The other day I was working out and I arrived at a point where I almost always come to…the crossroads where I decide whether I’ve done enough or if I should complete the full workout that I set out to do. Now for those of you who workout I know you’ve been here. You may not have this internal battle as frequent as me but I’m sure you have none the less. If you have no idea what I’m talking about let me paint the picture and I’m sure you’ll be able to associate it with something more common in your life.
So here we go. Forty five minutes or so into lifting weights my body is starting to fatigue. My mind takes note of this and starts having a dialogue with itself. (I swear I don’t have multiple personalities). Thoughts of all the things I could be doing instead start to flood in. Then what seems like the minority voice in my head says, “you won’t be lifting again for several more days, just finish.” Then here comes the argument, “you’re 33 and you’re not training for anything. Why be so hard on yourself?” I could give you the entire conversation but I think that’s probably adequate. I am at a place where I have achieved enough but not as much as I could or initially even wanted to. The barrier to moving on lies fully in my mind. My body is no where near its limit yet it’s decision time once again.
I have made up my mind to try and not give in to the part of me that would limit how I live, even in the small stuff like working out. I call this the ‘good enough mentality.’ Now you might be thinking that I’m blowing this out of proportion but bear with me. This scenario is common in so many areas of daily life. Your job, projects around the house, serving others, loving others, giving time and money, taking care of possessions…you name it…it fits.
I want to clear something up before I say any more. I am not promoting perfectionism by any long shot. Perfectionism is a false belief that any of us could be perfect at all short of a relationships with Jesus Christ. I am talking about taking short cuts in life. I would venture to say that whenever one does something of importance in life the ‘good enough monster’ is going to come out to convince you that you don’t need to do something to your greatest ability every time. Thoughts like ‘you loved well enough today, you did your job well enough or as good as the next person, you’ve given your share, you’ve prayed enough, you’ve eaten well ‘most’ of the week (or more like you had one good meal today in my case) so splurge a little, you’ve spent enough time with your spouse and/or kids…I don’t think I need to go on. These thoughts are poisonous.
Giving in to the good enough leads to compromise that will more than likely affect more than one area of your life. Would cutting my workout short mean I would start neglecting my family or job? Who knows. If you phrased it like that anyone would laugh at the connection. But what if you asked the question more like, “if I settle for good enough in one area of my life, won’t I be far more likely to settle in other places too?”
Colossians chapter three in the bible puts it like this, “whatever you say or do, do all things to the best of your ability like your doing it for Christ” (my paraphrase of course). That doesn’t leave room for short cuts or the ‘good enough’ side of us to come out. Plus, who is getting cut short in the process? Rarely just the person giving in to doing good enough. We owe it to the people in our lives to not settle for doing good enough. More importantly, we owe it to our God who didn’t settle when creating us or dying on the cross to save everyone who would believe in Him. So let’s live and love and serve and give greatly, not just good enough.