I have two boys. They are both amazing and wonderful and perfectly unique.
One is a clean freak and the other resembles Pig Pen from the Peanuts gang!
One craves organization and lives by the rule book. The other notices no chaos whatsoever and doesn’t closely adhere to that rule book.
In our home, we tend to talk about excellence a lot. I believe that as a family who loves the Lord, excellence is a subject matter that needs addressing. But let’s stop here for a minute.
When I say excellence, I don’t mean perfection.
You see, God is the perfection of excellence. He alone has it mastered. But as we live our lives before Him, we must do our part and give our best with all the blessings and giftings He has so graciously extended us.
Not long ago, I was having one of those conversations with my younger treasure. (The one from the Peanuts Gang.) He looked at me during the conversation. It was about the discrepancy between his extremely high level of intelligence and the grade that was reported on his work. His tender little face that is so usually filled with the grin of the next funny joke or a plan for his next activity, crinkled up spilling tears onto his cheeks.
“But Mom, I’m trying so hard … I do want to do things with excellence. I do. Really. It just doesn’t turn out that way. I don’t know why I do this.”
Ugh. Knife to the heart, right? How could I not be left with questions?
Does a pursuit of excellence lead my eldest to obsess upon perfection causing him not only anxiety, but to miss out on the big picture of the journey?
Does it cause my younger of the two to feel incompetent and unable to live up to excellence, causing him to give up on the pursuit?
Can excellence be a thorn to each?
Each in their own unique way?
As Mama, where do I draw the line between seeking excellence and resisting perfection? And how will I successfully teach and embody that concept into these precious young lives?
How do I give them a healthy perspective of what excellence truly is?
Maybe it is easier if I start by defining excellence by what it is NOT.
God has given me the BEST job ever. I am blessed beyond measure to be given these treasures to Mama.
I don’t want to mess it up. And I’m more than positive you don’t either.
So we need to take this excellence thing to heart. As we strive to teach our children just what excellence is and what it is not, we, too, must embody those characteristics.
Even in this Mama gig.
It’s true. I don’t think there is a Mom out there who has escaped it. Being a Mom is a breeding ground for comparisons, insecurities, judgement and perfectionism. But, it is a place we cannot go if we want to help our children grow into adults that seek to pursue a life lived in true Godly excellence.
That means that as we teach, we must model excellence as a receiving of each of our gifts from our Heavenly father.
Then stewarding them to the best of our individual abilities rather than comparing them to the abilities of those around us.
Finally, it is resting in the peace and contentedness that our best may not measure up to the best by worldly standards. Rather, that it measures up to the best before the God of the universe Who is smiling down upon us for choosing to draw in and know Him better.
I know those tears rolling down my sweet pea’s cheeks were an indicator. They were a message for me to reach in, get closer and see where our pursuit of excellence was turning into a thorn. I still needed to hold him accountable, but we needed to work through what excellence was and was not in the eyes our Father’s unfailing love.
I’m pretty sure it is an area we will need to revisit over and over again. An area to self-reflect. And to ask three things:
Am I receiving my unique gifts?
Am I stewarding them well?
Am I resting in the knowledge that my best was excellent in the eyes of God?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you struggle drawing the line between seeking excellence and resisting perfection?
P.S. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be perfect, my friend Holley Gerth’s new book will encourage you. You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.
P.P.S. If you are looking for extra encouragement. These are some wonderful places I link to each week!