E is for Excellence

I’m so excited to get to FINALLY share this post! It’s the fifth installment of my “alphabet” series where I’ve introduced some big themes. I think this one is my favorite. Then again, I’ve felt that way each week.

But somehow, “E is for Excellence” is making my heart sing.

Want to know why? Because I finally figured out the big secret to excellence.

e is for excellent

Yes. You read that correctly.  I’m drawing a big distinction between excellence and perfection.

Excellence doesn’t demand perfection.

Excellence is better than good. It’s being of high quality, a cut above the rest.

Perfection is about striving to be free from defect, flawless.

I want you to know that I struggle with perfectionism. I know full well the paralysis that happens when I think about organizing something only to realize I can’t possibly organize them perfectly, so I don’t even start.

I’ve lived in bondage to being a control freak. I know how much it stinks.

I say this with some passion and a LOT of experience.

Perfectionism is rooted in fear.

 Excellence does not demand perfection.

It’s the fear of not being good enough. It’s the fear of not living up to your own projected image. It’s the fear that someone, somewhere, might be better than you. It’s the fear of showing weakness.

It’s the fear of being rejected for your imperfections.

It’s the fear of being found unlovable and unwanted because you failed to measure up.

Excellence is founded in faith.

It’s the faith of believing in yourself and doing the best you can, even if you suspect you’re still learning. It’s the faith of trusting the process and trusting that repetition will bring improvement.

It’s the faith of knowing you are imperfect and doing it anyway, because God perfects you.

God calls us to excellence.

Don’t just take my word for it. Go take a look at scripture. Look at Proverbs 31 to start with.

In Proverbs 31:10, the word is ḥa·yil. (that link takes you to BibleHub where you can see the translation for yourself)

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (Proverbs 31:10 esv)

It’s translated as noble, capable, valiant, able, wealth, strength, worthy, and power.  It’s the same word that is used to refer to officers of an army.

It’s the same word that Boaz uses when he and Ruth meet and he reassures her “for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.” (Ruth 3:11b, NASB)

I’m not a bible scholar, but I couldn’t find a single case where the word is translated as “perfect.”

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to jump up and down with excitement!

An excellent wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31 10 esv

I can never, ever be the perfect wife or mom or housekeeper or cook or crafting queen or whatever else that Proverbs 31 woman did.  Perfection is so far out of my reach I don’t even want to try.

I can achieve excellent. I can aim for awesome. 

Strive for YOUR excellence.

Be motivated by faith, not fear.

Heed the call to do YOUR best, not to compare yourself to an impossible (and quite possibly imaginary) standard.

Aim for awesome.

Sweet moms, I want to know… do you struggle with this half as much as I do? What words of freedom can you share with me?

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series expanding the vision first shared in the 31 day series on writing.

P is for Passion

E is for Encouragement

A is for Authentic

C is for Character

E is for Excellence

the peace vision - this is why i write what i write on my blog

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. You’re absolutely right Susan. Perfectionism is rooted in fear and I would add pride. Excellence is definitely not perfectionism.

  2. I love how you point out that excellence and perfection are not the same. We all need a reminder of that sometimes.

  3. Thanks for sharing your “e” for excellence; it is true that excellence and perfection are totally different! I am certainly NOT a perfectionist; hoping I achieve that “excellence” status!!

    • Barbara, remember that excellence is simply “more than good” – it’s doing YOUR best without comparison to others. I’m willing to bet you’re already excellent.

  4. I love your article. I need this today. Thanks your buddy from 31 dayers Diana

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