Excellence — Who, Me?

The wow-factor of my kids’ birthday parties?

The visibility of certain muscle groups in my arms, legs, and torso?

The ease and finesse with which I can entertain a party of twelve, self-publish a book, or create deck furniture from wooden palettes?

Are any of these a worthy means of measuring my excellence?

Not according to Cynthia Heald who challenges all of our preconceptions in the Thirtieth Anniversary Edition of Becoming a Woman of Excellence.  She examines a biblical concept of excellence like a finely cut gem, turning it to reveal each face and its sparkling qualities:

  • Discipline of the mind, will, emotions, body, and time.
  • Discretion, which is defined as “saying and doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.
  • A Gentle and Quiet Spirit:  an inner beauty that has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with security in God’s loving sovereignty.
  • Purity, a holiness that arises from a life of abiding in Christ.
  • Wisdom:  Hearing the Word of God and also living it in our every day life.

Cynthia draws from the Old Testament book of Ruth and the woman featured in Proverbs 31 (along with many New Testament passages) to highlight the beauty of excellence.  (Is it possible that Ruth, Solomon’s great-great grandmother, left such a legacy in her family that her memory inspired Solomon to write that famous last chapter of Proverbs?)  Each chapter is an inspiring collection of Scripture, relevant quotes from a wide range of authors, and probing questions to stimulate deeper thinking.

There is a cost to the pursuit of excellence, and a life lived with conviction involves a level of obedience and surrender that does not come naturally.  However, the prize of becoming a woman who fears the LORD and follows Him whole-heartedly is beyond price, and it is a goal well worth pursuing.


This book was provided by NavPress, in alliance with Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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43 thoughts on “Excellence — Who, Me?”

  1. Sounds like an excellent book Michele! I love what it states about the pursuit of excellence requiring obedience and surrender. May we all live for Christ in just that way as we seek to please Him. Have a wonderful week and may God bless you and yours!


  2. This surely looks like a book my shelf needs to make space for. ( as do many of the books you share.) 🙂 But today’s post is a timely deposit of faith and reminder of those things that I wrote about on my own blog… His Word returns abundance in our life and He always brings fullness. Today, He used your words to show me that. Thanks, Michele!


  3. Aww! The rewards of becoming a woman of excellence is worth it. Thank you for reminding all of us that obedience and surrender are necessary in order to pursue excellence and actually achieve it. Blessings!


  4. Sounds like a great book- such a necessary and challenging topic. I’d never considered the connection between Ruth and Proverbs 31…hmm…going to be thinking on that! Thanks, Michele!


    1. Do think on it and let me know. I’ve sat down with the names and wondered about the generations. I don’t think there’s any chance in the world that Solomon could have actually known Ruth, but could David have shared stories about Great Grammy Ruth? I don’t know . . .


  5. I was so relieved as I read your words that Cynthia’s definition didn’t include the “wow” factor that I hear so much about these days. Let us be wowed by God alone! Anyways, her definition is one worth the cost of pursuing. Thank you for sharing, Michele. : )


  6. This review brought back so many memories! Soon after becoming a believer, the person who led me to the Lord hosted Bible studies and we went through Cynthia Heald’s studies. I LOVE her approach!

    I’m pretty sure Becoming a Woman of Excellence was the first one we did. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a wonderful book Michele. I love studying Ruth and just finished a study in May. I want to do one at church they started this week, but not enough hours in the day. I may have to pick up this book because He is always working on me to be more of a woman of excellence.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michele,
    I love how it boils down to a “woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” In this world of trying to live the “wow” factor, how counter-culture is it to live humbly and simply?? Good thoughts to ponder.


  9. I have this book and one other. My husband bought them for me right after we were married. I hate to admit this, they have been on the shelf untouched all these years. Once we get moved, I’ll have to get them out so I can worth through them. Thank you for sharing this review with Thankful Thursdays.


  10. I started reading your post and all I could think was…PINTEREST. Now, I love Pinterest, but I almost always log off feeling “less than”. Thank you for reminding me where my excellence comes from!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This sounds like a great book study for women. While I enjoy building deck furniture from pallets (I’m a born nester) I know that I can only do life well if it is lived close to God’s heart. I would love to mentor some youngers with this one! Thank you Michele.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to have the talent to create new things out of pallets! It goes without saying that you amaze me! And isn’t it wonderful that God sees through all this to the uttermost foundation of who we are and says, “Excellent!”


  12. I have actually never read this book, but it sounds like a good one. Maybe when I finish some of the others I’ve started….. Thanks for your review. I’m your neighbor at #Faith’nFriends this week. 🙂 Blessings!


  13. This book sounds like an excellent (heh) and important read. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I’m so grateful to see a Christian woman detailing the true measure of what it means to be a woman of excellence.


  14. “Becoming a Woman of Excellence” is one of my favorite books from a few years back, Michele. I’ve worked through it more than once, and gain something each time. It’s one of those books I keep on my shelf at all times. 🙂


  15. Hi Michele, it sounds like this book is pointing us away from measuring excellence by the world’s standards and focusing on God’s standards including surrender and obedience. Thanks for sharing at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.


  16. Great points! I love what U.S. gold medal winning diver, David Boudia said about not measuring his worth through his diving but through his worth as God’s child. (Big paraphrase there 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    Liked by 1 person

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