After watching a men's figure-skating competition on television, I woke the next morning wondering about how it must feel to be waking up a gold medalist. As I continued to think further about it, I realized that each of us is worthy of showing excellence and grace in what he or she does. Our true, spiritual identity as God's reflection makes each of us a "top performer" in God's eyes. Knowing this can improve lives.
For those of us who believe that much of what we do is mediocre, it may be hard to believe that we can be excellent. But if you stop and think about it for a moment, haven't you performed in ways worth appreciating on some occasions? Maybe it was the thoughtful way you interacted with a child, or the unselfish way you helped resolve a conflict at work. Possibly it was your persistence and attention to detail in completing a particular job, or the moral strength you exhibited when tempted to do something dishonest.
A person's expression of such qualities of character - thoughtfulness, persistence, attention to detail, moral strength - is as worthy of appreciation as that of athletes on the ice, performers on the screen, or musicians at the keyboard. All these fine qualities have their source in God.
Each of us is included in the spiritual excellence that flows from God. Excellence is our heritage and the source of our potential. To allow for more of this to come out in our lives demands that we begin seeing ourselves in a new light. Rather than identify ourselves as bounded by a certain physical makeup or set of circumstances, we can lift our sights to what the Bible says about us. Psalm 8 asks: "What is man [including woman and child], that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Verses 4-6). What a wonderful view of our worth and ability as the children of God!
It is not wishful thinking that will lift the burden of failure or move you beyond the gravity-like pull of mediocrity. Rather, it's a deepened awareness of the fact that you reflect the good nature of God. This idea of perfect, unlimited reflection must be held within thought. Like an athlete in training, we should refuse to dwell on limiting thoughts. Fear, doubt, envy, self-deprecation, and false pride are types of thought to get rid of and guard against.
Prayer is essential to this discipline of thought. Christ Jesus showed why it is important to do as he did - to take time to pray, even if it involves climbing to a mountaintop. He demonstrated that God was the source of all good, and that his relation to his Father was the only basis for real accomplishment. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," Jesus said (John 5:17). Prayer establishes our relationship to God, too.
A psalm says, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it" (90:17). All things are possible through God. As we endeavor to express the beauty of the Lord in all we do, we find greater potential in our lives. His beauty is seen in the countless spiritual qualities we can express, such as gladness, love, goodness, wisdom, grace, intelligence, holiness. And there's no limit to the measure with which we express them, for they come from an infinite source. Are you yearning for every day to be fresh in opportunity, for the ability to bring productivity and goodness to the work at hand? No matter what the task is, however demanding or simple, begin discerning the qualities that constitute your spiritual identity; they are countless. Allow these to permeate all that you do. This is Christian living, glorifying God and expressing the excellence of His creation. It enables you to celebrate enthusiastically the good in others, too.
The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, states on Page 516: "Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God."