rebelling against low expectations

As the School Year Inches On, Strive for Excellence Not Perfection


Let’s face it: school can be overwhelming. There are assignments to complete, to-do lists to conquer, modules to work through, and deadlines to overcome. But whether you’re an organized perfectionist, or a distracted procrastinator, as a child of God, you are called to excellence.

Whether you’re an organized perfectionist, or a distracted procrastinator, as a child of God, you are called to excellence. Click To Tweet

What Is Excellence?

The definition of excellence is as follows: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good (Oxford Languages). Upon first reading that definition it can easily be interpreted as perfection, but you see…they are not the same thing. Perfection is when something is achieved flawlessly…excellence is when something is achieved well.

During my freshman year of high-school, I was obsessed with getting good grades. After finishing my daily assignments (including the recommended studying time) I would spend hours going over the work and cramming as much information into my mind as possible. I wanted perfection.

As you can imagine, that schedule soon became rather stressful and overwhelming. I shared this struggle with my grandparents one day and my wonderful grandfather said, “Rue…strive for excellence. Not perfection. Excellence is simply doing your best. You can’t do more than that, so don’t break yourself trying to.”

Excellence is simply doing your best. You can’t do more than that, so don’t break yourself trying to. Click To Tweet

You see, excellence is getting it done, doing it well, and letting it go. Being obsessed with perfection is the same as clinging to something that will only tear you up in the process. And friend…is it worth it?

You Are Called to Excellence

As a child of God, you are called to excellence: to get it done, do it well, then let it go. Let’s talk about those a bit more in the context of our lives as Christians…

1.Getting it done:

What is your motive?

Most of you have probably heard the verse 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” When we have heard a verse often enough it can be easy to dismiss the importance of it, but remember that, as His followers, God has called us to serve Him in the little, everyday things. Because that is where He has put you in this life for now; give this task all that you’ve got! Are you doing your school for the glory of God?

2.Doing it well:

Are you putting full effort into it?

Doing it well the first time will help you stay mentally healthy in the process, and it speaks volume about your reputation as a Christian. It is easy to get distracted with school. Are you checking texts, passing notes, daydreaming or zoning out during your lessons? I want you to honestly consider your approach to school right now, friend. School counts as a hard thing! Are you tackling this hard thing well?

Ephesians 5 talks about being imitators of Christ and setting an example of light in a dark world, verses 15-16 say, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Making the best use of the time. While it might seem like school is rather unimportant compared to the many ways you could be serving God, remember that He has called you to do your best for Him right where He has planted you! What if His calling for you today is as simple as doing your schoolwork well, loving your siblings, treating your parents with respect? Make the best use of time! Do it well.

3.Letting it go:

Are you clinging to something that is not worth clinging to?

School is important…and I applaud you if you are getting it done and doing it well. But don’t forget to let go. Your Maker cares for you deeply; if your life is truly in His hands, so is your schoolwork. I am not saying He will magically change your grades or reduce required assignments; I am simply saying that you cannot focus your life around aiming for perfection. You will not achieve it, because you are a flawed human in a flawed world. It is good to do your best, but it is equally good to know when to let go. If you’re a perfectionist, like me, those are tough words to hear, but take a deep breath…it is okay to let go. It is good to let go.

Striving For an Excellent Attitude and Confidence

We can’t be perfect, and we won’t always have excellent results. But I hope you will pursue an excellent attitude and confidence today. You belong to the King of Heaven; don’t forget that the things you do in this life should be for His glory. Our names may be forgotten on this earth, but His name will reign forever…we should be working to be a part of that beautiful journey! No matter how big or small of a role we play.

He has placed you where you are right now, and He expects excellency from you as His child. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and strive for excellence. I believe in you, friend!

Just do your best.

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About the author

Rue Arrow

Rue Arrow is a soul-pondering, rain-dancing, dawn-seeking, child of the Father with deep feeling and intrigue for both the blessings and brokenness in this beautifully messy life. Her desire is to forever embrace every season, fully valuing this mere breath, while carefully sharing her heart-thoughts, enlightening imaginations, and hopeless romantics for all things lovely with the world. You can further journey with her in this endless pursuit of God's heart through her blog ThisMessyThingCalledLife.

1 comment

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  • Thank you so much for this article Rue! I am a perfectionist and lately have been forgetting I can’t do it all and sometimes I need to let go. Your article really spoke to me and I just wanted to thank you!💕💕💕💕

By Rue Arrow
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →