“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence, I can reach for; Perfection is God’s business” Michael J. Fox
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be excellent. As someone who works full-time in the ministry, excellence is an expectation, not just from God, but from those I work for and those I serve. We are called to give our lives to serve Christ, and He does deserve the absolute best. I am thankful that excellence is demanded of me, for it reminds me that shortcuts are never worth it, that I will only be satisfied if I know I did my best, and most importantly, God is pleased with me.
However, I often interchange my definition of excellence with perfection. The difference is pretty simple but often misunderstood excellence is knowing God sees you as perfect, while perfection is hoping man thinks you are excellent. I strongly believe that the desire to be perfect in all of my tasks has been luring me further from the heart of God. Instead of pushing myself to operate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have been asking myself to perform to the best of my personal abilities. Instead of knowing I am pleasing God, I am seeking for man’s affirmation. To pursue perfection means that we believe we are responsible for our own gifts and successes, and either take the glory or beat ourselves up for our shortcomings. Shouldn’t we instead be aligning ourselves with the heart of God and asking for his anointing and blessing on everything? His presence can do what my abilities cannot – touch lives. I have seen God use people without any gifting, without any ability, in amazing ways, simply because they were prepared and anointed. I miss knowing God is doing great things among us, despite us.
I do not like where my heart has wandered. I have been relying on my own ability to get my work done and painfully beating myself up when things do not go perfectly, or when I feel like I have disappointed someone who’s respect I was trying to gain. I must realize that I am weak and I will fail from time to time. There are many expectations put on me every day, but the only expectations I should try to meet are God’s expectations for me. Then, when things do not go as planned, or when I’ve fallen short of perfection, I should embrace my shortcomings because they are my personal opportunities to be refined by Christ. The true pursuit of excellence is to depend on God for all of my ability, strength, and results… and then offer back to him my best.
Excellence is journey.
Perfection is destination.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17