In an increasingly competitive world, excellence is widely pursued. We compete for jobs, spots in a college, positions on an athletic team, the admiration of others, and for many, self-worth. The very nature of excellence is superior to our competitors.
We look around us to gage our well we’re doing. As long as we’re ahead of the pack, we’re good to go. Sometimes we’re so far ahead that we begin to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We anticipate that we have to push our limits, because there are others outside of our field of vision that may be ahead of us. But as we’re blazing down this path of self-achievement, it’s easy to let it control us, leading us down the path of self-deprecation.
Perfectionism affects everyone to a degree. There are aspects of our lives where we hold ourselves to sometimes impossibly high standards. Must get a certain grade on a test, must score this much in this sport, must have the best outfit, must maintain a certain figure, must write the greatest blog post the world has ever seen (yeah, I get that feeling too). There nothing wrong with having goals or high standards, but when we let these standards define us, that’s when we go wrong.
You’re not a failure if you get a mediocre grade on a test. You’re not a waste of space when you have a bad game. Believe it or not, you’re not ugly if you don’t look like a Kardashian (this was especially hard for me to come to terms with). As soon as we can stop putting our identity our works, then we can truly be happy. Not to say that all that stuff isn’t important, because it is important. However, they should not be central our identities.
In Galatians 3:27-28, Paul says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NIV). For me, as Christian, I’m defined by my failures nor my successes, but my identity in Jesus Christ. So go dominate, go shine, go excel. But do so for the glory of God.