Excellence Doesn’t Mean Perfection

It’s not about finding ways to avoid God’s judgment and feeling like a failure if you don’t do everything perfectly. . . . It’s about becoming who you really are.
—Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Woman

When a parent sees a child struggling over a math problem or working to read an advanced-level book, the parent recognizes that the child isn’t yet all that he or she will be. No parent in her right mind would expect a developing child to calculate or read perfectly. Instead, the parent is delighted to see her child working to become the person he or she was meant to be. When that child brings home a B or a C on a report card, the parent places the grade in the larger context of the child’s attitude and effort, ability and growth. Somehow, though, it’s often harder for us to extend this same kind of grace to ourselves. When we fall short of perfection, we even assume that God’s face frowns on us. Thankfully, God’s standards for us are different from the ones we have for ourselves. Aiming for excellence is different from aiming for perfection. God is more interested in our becoming who we really are than in perfection.