Excellence vs. Perfection

For years I’ve heard that God wants us to pursue excellence instead of struggling with perfectionism.  Someone clever reading this might ask, “What about Deuteronomy 18:13 (“Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God”) or 2 Timothy 3:17 (“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”)?  In both verses, though, the words in their original languages refer to one being complete  and even innocent as opposed to striving for perfectionism, or the “highest degree of [excellence]… and rejecting anything less.”  Other translations reflect this fact.

So, I can see that God is not holding me to some unattainable standard like a cruel master.  These days that lesson has been highlighted for me, and I can tell you that it means so much more now than before.

I find myself with less time and what feels like less brain power.  The tasks to be completed, though, have not been minimized. In fact, they have most certainly multiplied.  And here is the beauty of choosing excellence instead of perfectionism—there is freedom that allows me to complete a task well and move on to the next one without guilt that it wasn’t done perfectly. 

My husband and I always joke and laugh about the fact that my personality is a bit extreme.  I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of gal.  Well, honestly, I’m probably the only one laughing.  (Sorry, Honey!) The reality I have tended to live in is that it has to be able to be done perfectly, or why attempt it in the first place?!  For the sake of the LORD freeing me from this, I am so very grateful for motherhood.  I can almost hear all the mothers reading this guffawing at my former approach to tasks. 

I’ve always known that the LORD not only doesn’t require this, but he doesn’t condone it.  I haven’t, though, been able to get out of the rut of expecting perfection from myself by myself.  Truly motherhood has been an antidote for this problem.  After barely being able to get anything done other than caring for sweet Gabriel for weeks, I was grateful to complete any task.  I find myself still full of gratitude for a day with chores completed that keep our lives running.

I am continuously in awe at the gifts of motherhood—some quite general and others tailored specifically for the healing of my heart by God.  I’m both excited and a bit nervous to see all that God wants to do in our lives through our precious boy.  The biggest lesson of all, though, is that God is good and intentional as it concerns each of us.