Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do You Strive for Mediocrity?

Recently my friend’s Facebook page stated that she was “absolutely baffled at how people rise to the level of their incompetence –and then stay there.” The comments to the status update popped up like crocus after spring rains. One friend said that she was afraid that mediocrity had become the acceptable way of life. I have to say that I often wonder the same thing. It seems to be coming more prevalent in human nature to be average. When did we as a race in general decide mediocrity was okay?

I had been pondering mediocrity even before this Facebook encounter. This interchange just seemed to come at a time when I have had to deal with incompetence in several arenas of my life; not my own, but others. In one situation it was revealed to me that the person in question felt everyone took things too seriously and they should be more like her with her lackadaisical attitude. I was shocked when I heard this; it explained a lot about the situation.

Call me crazy, but if I am going to do something like work or writing I want to take it seriously. I don’t want to put my name on something that I haven’t put my all into. Why even bother doing something if you don’t want to try your best. Still, although, I strive to do my best at work and in my writing I wonder how many times I do settle for just doing enough.

Writing requires time and effort. When I short myself on taking time to write my craft suffers. But, finding time to write is one of the things I struggle with and find myself settling. My desire is to glorify God in my writing and mediocrity won’t do that. I need to strive for the best including giving it the time it deserves.

Speaking of God, the Facebook thread soon turned to God. The friend who said that mediocrity had become the acceptable way went on to state, “Imagine where we’d all be if Jesus had said ‘Ya know, this really hurts. It’s too hard. Can I get down now?’ Talk about doing things with a standard of excellence.”

Yep, Jesus set a high standard for us. While we will never be able to fully reach His level of competence and commitment we have something to strive for. He gave His all for us and He blessed us with a gift. I think He expects us to give our all in the pursuit of our gift and not settle for second best.

All of this thought of doing just enough to get by led me to consider my prayer, Bible study and quiet time habits. Do I take it seriously enough? Do I give it my all? Or am I settling for being just mediocre. These thoughts really stunned me and grieved me some. I was sad to not be able to say that I always strive for perfection in that area of my life. Sometimes I do just enough. Yes, God still loves me, but if He doesn’t deserve my best, who does?

Mediocrity really is a threat to us as Christians and as writers. When we settle for good enough and don’t strive for better we shine a poor light on the God we love and want to glorify. It is a threat to me. I definitely need to be working toward a higher standard.


  1. Pursuing the craft of writing has been a window for me into the depth of my laziness and desire to find an easy way out - but it comes back to bite me every time I yield! It's easy for me to be aggravated at others' mediocrity and to excuse my own! Thanks for this, Tammie!

  2. Thanks Lori.

    I have had the same experience in my own writing and am always glad when I don't give in.