The “Best”

I love trying new recipes and often search for new ones online. One of the things I often notice when I do is how many of the recipes that are posted have the title, “The Best Ever” or “The Perfect”- whether it is for meatloaf, banana bread, or taco seasoning.

Sometimes this holds true, as was the case when I found a sloppy Joe recipe my son actually likes. I know this is meant to attract the attention of people like me, in hopes of gaining more clicks and page likes. But more often than not, it seems a bit of an unnecessary addition.

Even though I’m no stranger to looking for the top recommendations in a certain location or when searching for kids’ athletic gear or something like that, I can’t help but think that our fixation on being, having, and doing the best isn’t very helpful. In fact, I could be wrong, but it adds to the general sense of frenzy that many of us feel on a daily basis.

And there’s no doubt this carries over to our kids and our expectations of them. Even though we mean well by telling them to “do their best,” our emphasis on best makes average seem somehow less than. I used to tell our kids, “Your best is the best for you,” which is slightly different, but it still implies that our best is always achievable.

But I’m beginning to think that sometimes, especially for those of us who tend to have high expectations of ourselves and others, it’s enough to just get through what needs to be done and be okay with it. I’m not saying we should encourage our kids to slough off and be social loafers- far from it. But I am saying that expecting them- or ourselves- to always give our best or be the best is unrealistic and rather unhelpful in the long run.

In an age when most of what is posted on social media shows forth the shiny edges of our lives, we tend to have a distorted idea of what other people’s lives are really like. Based on what is often posted, it would be easy to think that my kitchen is the only one with crowded counters, that my kids are the only ones that argue over many little things, that my pantry is the only one loaded and not labeled alphabetically.

Of course, I’m being extreme, and I know that I’m not the only one for whom this is the case, but I also think it could be worthwhile for us to take the pressure on ourselves down a notch and accept that perfection is over-rated. To tell our kids that while doing their best is admirable, it’s okay for them to not be the best at everything. To know that their worth isn’t based on their performance or achievements but rather on who they are as a child of God.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have days when I’m not particularly enthused about what I’m doing and feel like I’m just going through the motions. It’s not my favorite feeling- I’d much rather feel energetic and upbeat- but it’s not realistic to feel that way everyday. Some days I just get by.

Rather than see this as a deficit, I’m learning to approach it as a day to offer myself some grace, to verbalize to my kids my thought process on those days, and to rest in the reality that in Christ, I have enough, I do enough, I am enough- even if it’s not perfect or the best.