Monday, February 24, 2014

{No More Perfect Kids} Excellence vs. Perfection

One of the hardest things about laying down perfection is knowing what to pick up instead. Obviously, life isn't perfect. And neither am I or my husband or my kids or my days or my anything else. But there is a fine line being perfect {or, you know, trying to be ...} and striving for excellence and contentment.

It's a fine line, yes. But there's a big difference.

While reading "No More Perfect Kids" by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch earlier this year, the contrast of perfection with contentment and excellence struck my heart.

"Contentment involves confidently living life as it is. We parents our kids as they are. ... Contentment means we won't focus on what we don't have, what we can't do, and what's wrong with everything and everyone around us. We'll be aware of these things, because we know life can't be perfect, but we won't focus there. Rather, we'll focus on what we do have, what we can do, and what's right with the world -- including our part of the world."

{Jill Savage in "No More Perfect Kids"}

Do you hear that? It's about changing our focus and embracing our real lives. {And, yes, this isn't the first time I've blogged about this book. You can read the first post here.}

You know, the life with a noisy, messy boy and a girl who talks so fast I have to ask her to slow down and repeat herself. Yes, and the life with dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and those sticky spots on the floor. Yes, sometimes people run late and forget what they said they'd do in this real life. And, yes, this real life has disappointments but it has plenty of joy too.

For a long time, I thought if I were content with this real life of mine, then I'd be settling. It's really quite the opposite. When I'm content, I'm free to take risks because I'm not worried about perfection.

Ah, sweet relief. 

More relief came when Jill Savage outlined the difference between excellence and perfection in the second chapter of "No More Perfect Kids." Look at these contrasting lists:

EXCELLENCE :: Something done well. Attainable. Positive. Freeing. Allows for failure. Expects mistakes. Growing. Learning. Open. Motivated by confidence. From God. Empowering.

PERFECTION :: Done without fault. Unattainable. Negative. Binding. Punishes failure. Panics at mistakes. Dying. Performing. Closed. Motivated by fear. From the world. Rejecting.

Far too often I have parented and even lived burdened by perfection instead of striving for excellence. I've squashed my son's joy because his noise level interfered with my task-oriented focus. I've burdened my daughter with nagging correction. I've picked on my husband who didn't read my mind.

I want to embrace my son's joy, even first thing in the morning. I want to show my daughter the freedom that comes with doing her best and learning as she goes. I want to love my husband in ways that burst open the communication. I want us all to stand firmly on the secure foundation that comes only from God.

I want to strive for excellence, rest in contentment, and let go of perfection. 

I got an advanced copy of "No More Perfect Kids" by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch as part of the book's launch team. The book will be available for purchase in March, and if you buy the book between March 13-23, you'll get additional FREE resources worth more than $100 from Hearts at Home and Moody Publishers. Stay tuned because there's more on this book to come. Yes, I truly love it that much. 

This is an ongoing theme in my life. Last year, I blogged often about embracing imperfection and was part of Jill Savage's launch team for "No More Perfect Moms." This post contains Amazon affiliate links because these are books I believe in, but prices won't change if you order through my links. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Joining Jen Ferguson and her Soli Deo Gloria party with this post. 

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  1. I'm really appreciating the clarity on the difference between excellence and perfection. That is speaking loudly to me. Thanks, friend.

  2. KristinHillTaylor2/24/2014 5:13 PM

    It spoke so loudly to me too when I read it in "No More Perfect Kids." So practical for someone like me! :) I'm glad you appreciated it too, Beth!

  3. Glenda Childers2/24/2014 8:24 PM

    Such great thoughts. Bet your kids are super glad you read this book. :) Have you read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It has helped me in the area of perfection and many others.


  4. I really can't wait to read these books! It's hard to lay down the perfection standard when I was raised with it. But slowly, slowly, God is showing me a better way. This post is part of that, so thank you!!

  5. KristinHillTaylor2/25/2014 12:32 PM

    So much truth and encouragement have been coming my way through books lately. Now let's hope I can apply it to my life because, yes, this process out of perfection has been a slow but welcomed one for me too. I'm glad this post was good for you too, Jen!

  6. KristinHillTaylor2/25/2014 12:32 PM

    That is another book I want to read! I'm glad to know you'd recommend it. :)

  7. Jody Ohlsen Collins2/25/2014 10:33 PM

    Kristin, we are neighbors at SDG this week--so glad I stopped by. This line was powerful:
    "I want to strive for excellence, rest in contentment, and let go of perfection." Resting right where we are in Jesus is good advice!

  8. KristinHillTaylor2/26/2014 9:11 AM

    Thanks for coming by and commenting, Jody!