Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
TITLE: Something Extra
By Adrienne Fetzer
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Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
My estimation would be that six days out of seven I still worry that I’m not good enough. Usually it’s that I’m not good enough for the people around me though sometimes it’s that I’m not good enough for God. I feel an immense pressure to meet the expectations of the people around me, whether it be friends and family or the lady ringing up my groceries at the store.
Even though I’m not striving for perfection I’m still striving to be the right person to a myriad of different people. That can be worse than trying to be perfect. Sadly, there are both friends and family that have stepped out of my life because they deemed my efforts to be unacceptable. I’ve struggled to come to terms with those people and what it says about me. I firmly believe that their choice to end or put distance into our relationship speaks more about their character than it does mine. We should all be accepted for who we are, not for the expectations someone else has placed upon us.
However, I don’t think that means we should ignore our own actions or thoughts. While our worth isn’t measured by human expectations we should still take the time to examine ourselves and make sure we’re meeting God’s standards.
Those are the days I find myself weeping in the shower because I know I’ve fallen painfully short and I worry that my imperfections will have dire consequences for those around me, most importantly my children.
I am a passionate person, but that passion also extends into a short temper and quick tongue, both of which I’ve yet learned to tame. If God were anything like us he would have long ago tired of hearing my repeated petitions for forgiveness and guidance so that I don’t permanently damage my children’s hearts.
I think about people who have crossed my path and demonstrated that something extra, who have given beyond what was required of them and in the process made my life or my children’s lives a little sweeter.
There was the couple at the amusement park who not only handed my kids their extra tickets to play games but also won a pink teddy bear and then promptly handed it over to my daughter to take home.
There are the empathetic mothers who hold the door for me when they see me wielding my ten month old daughter in what feels like a two ton car seat.
There are the waitresses who not only humor my chatty four year old daughter during a busy shift but take the time to bring her extra napkins, a roll before our meals because she’s “starving”, or a special treat to take home because she behaved so well at the restaurant.
I have seen myself extend extra kindness to strangers when they’re in a situation I empathize with and am in a position to help.
What strikes me about all of those events is that the extras were all given by or to a stranger.
Why is it so easy to go the extra mile for someone we don’t know and so difficult to do it for those who matter most in our lives?
I struggle on a daily basis to extend extra kindness to my kids or my husband when I’ve spent the entire day changing their diapers, listening to them whine, picking up their toys, cooking them dinner, making their phone calls, and an infinite number of other things I don’t have time to name.
The one thing that finally gets through to me is the gentle reminder that while God puts up with us on a daily basis and has been doing so for hundreds of years, he didn’t hesitate to love us enough to do something extra. He sent his Son to die for us so that no matter how imperfect we may be our sins will never separate us from him.
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