More Than Good Enough

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This woman surprises me. She surprises me by the way she thinks, the way she lives and the things she creates. Her story and how she puts words to this striving and settling we do really struck a chord in me. I think it will in you too! -Willow

It was 1982 and I was the new kid at a tiny school in Illinois. Things were actually going pretty well for me and I was having the best year of my life. The annual science fair was coming up and for this little community, it was a big deal. We spent weeks choosing a subject, researching our reports and planning our models. I chose the ever-popular solar system. I had grand visions of colorfully swirled styrofoam balls in varying sizes firmly planted by little wooden dowels into appropriately spaced out bases. It was going to be impressive.

It wasn’t.

What I ended up with was a thin sheet of cardboard creased into a semblance of a tri-fold backdrop with a single strand of fishing line strung between the outer flaps. The sun and planets were represented by wads of cotton balls that had been dipped into food coloring and hung in a row from the single strand of fishing line. It was the saddest representation of the solar system that I had ever seen or have seen since. But it was “good enough”.

What I hadn’t factored into my vision of what I wanted my solar system to look like was the fact that money was REALLY tight and my mom couldn’t justify spending any money whatsoever on styrofoam balls and dowels. So we made do with what we had. It was good enough.

I have been fighting this battle between my grand vision and settling for good enough my entire life. Over time, I think that it became standard procedure to preemptively water down my dreams, aspirations, goals, etc because inevitably, it seemed, I would be forced to live with the version that was merely good enough.

I only began to recognize this pattern about the time my second son was born, eleven years ago. And, of course, I wanted to change it. I had just discovered a new-found passion, upholstery, and was determined to change the course of my future. The years to follow were marked by officially starting a business, selling my wares at one of the biggest antiques shows in the U.S., offering interior design services, styling window displays, running an online shop and even making it to the final casting round of HGTV’s Design Star competition! I thought I was heading off the “good enough” mentality by dreaming big – going for it. But in fact, I had swung the other direction and it just became heavy. It felt like aimless striving.

As a life-long Christian, I believe that the way I am wired is unique to me and that God truly delights in seeing his children live authentically. But I was struggling with how to live big while being aligned with God’s plan for my life. Through a lot of prayer and reflection, I realized that what I wanted more than success and achievement was purpose and balance. I also realized that I needed to be able to recognize His voice when He spoke to me. Not surprising at all, God has been faithful in teaching me to know His voice. He has provided opportunities for me to connect the dots between unique promptings in my spirit with real life experiences. It’s like a secret language between me and God. And it’s affirming to know that He is intimately interested in my deepest desires. The Creator of the swirling, brilliant, perfect solar system knows me.

I will probably always walk the tightrope between dreaming too big and convincing myself that less than is good enough. But I am encouraged that God values me enough to patiently teach me to know His voice. Time and time again He does and will continue to remind me that His will for me is big. And it is perfect. And it is balanced. However that plan plays out, I am thankful that He has instilled in me the desire to hear Him above anything else.

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