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No one likes mediocre when excellence is available. But excellence often takes time to develop. And, in the meantime, love calls us to extend grace – receiving with gratitude humble efforts made.

To be sure, love doesn’t merely settle for mediocre. There’s a place to challenge and call out the best in each other. High expectations give us vision to press toward. And the disappointment from failing to meet these expectations provide us with a needed refining pressure.

All the same, there’s much wisdom and grace in learning to accept what is today even as we hold onto our expectation and zeal for things to be better tomorrow. And part of this acceptance is our willingness to receive the humble efforts of love others make toward us.

Perhaps this is easiest to see with kids. Their homemade gifts are not likely to win any prizes. But we receive it with gratitude, even as we reasonably expect their gifts to mature as they do. And this same approach is needed throughout our adult relationships as well.

On the one hand, we freely receive their efforts because they’re giving us their best. And certainly we can address the situation when this is not the case. But we should not look down on what they’re able to do today just because we objectively know things can be better. This can cause them to give up and feel hopeless – believing they can never measure up to the impossible standards imposed on them. 

The better approach is to fully honor today’s gift as we also express our desire and excitement for all the good still to be conceived. This keeps us humble without giving up our desire for God’s best.

In the end, don’t settle in the pursuit of God’s best. But learn to graciously accept the humble efforts of others along the way.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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