Are you just doing your best?
In our Chosen Generation monthly study (a study for junior high and high school students), we have been reading through and studying a book titled, “Do Hard Things.” This great little book was written by twin brothers, Alex and Brett Harris, who were seventeen years old at the time. They wrote the book to challenge teenagers to do more than expected and overcome societies low expectations for young people.
Recently I was reading their chapter “Raising the Bar” and came across an interesting section:
This common phrase, “Just do your best,” actually encourages the opposite. When someone says, “Just do your best,” are you inspired to reach for more? Or does it feel like permission to just get by? We say, “Hey, I did my best.” But did we really? More likely what we mean is, “Hey, I gave it a shot, and that’ll have to be good enough” (p. 89).
One of the greatest challenges we all face in life is overcoming the “good enough” mind set. We may call it our “best” but we know what we really mean is that it is “good enough.”
I remember in school being able to get by academically with little effort. But it was “good enough” for me—not my parents. After all, I was “above average” and ended my high school years with a high gpa just missing out on the top ten percent by the narrowest of margins. It was certainly “good enough.”
But that attitude isn’t just an issue for kids. It seems it is a problem that few grow out of. People skate through life “giving their best” and being “good enough.”
Marriages end because one or both of the people involved did their “best” but they just couldn’t make it work.
People find themselves unemployed and out of work because they gave did “good enough” but their employer was too difficult to work for.
Parents try to balance their works schedule and raising children while doing the “best” they can. But their children grow up with little “discipline and instruction in the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). And when those children fall away, the parents say, “We did the best we can.”
We need to understand that claiming to do our “best” while doing “good enough” isn’t enough. The wise man said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going” (Ecc. 9:10). We are expected do everything to the best of our might.
Paul gives great motivation for us to do our best. He compares many of our relationships to our relationship with Christ (Eph. 5:22–6:9). When it comes to your marriage, do it with all of your might because it is a reflection of your relationship with Christ. When it comes to parenting, do it with all of your might, or “in the Lord.” When it comes to work, do it with all of your might as if you are working for Christ. Don’t just give your best . . . give it your all. All of your might.
Take a moment and evaluate your life. Are you just giving your best? Or, are you giving it your all? Whatever you do, do it with all of your might.