This is a guest post by my executive assistant, Sarah Piercy, who in addition to working with me for the last 9 years, is a wife and young mom. She wrote this piece for her own blog, and, well, it was too compelling not to share it with you here.
I think we’ve all been there as people and leaders, and for the record, I think Sarah’s great. 🙂 Here’s her post:
There is this version of leader and spouse and parent and leader that I wish I was.
And then there is this version that I am.
How about you?
Sometimes the person I wish I was stares through the mirror at the person I am. They don’t scorn me, and I don’t resent them. We make eye contact across strange planes of existence, but we never really meet.
We’re not in opposition to one other, we’re not enemies or competitors… we’re not even really aware of one another most of the time.
Most of the time, I really like the person I wish I was. I aspire to be more like them. They motivate me. Encourage me. Show me what could be.
But the person I wish I was doesn’t live in reality. And therein lies the problem.
Am I getting too ethereal here?
Put simply, there are things that I wish were true about me that just… aren’t.
Not yet, at least.
Sometimes I am discouraged that I’m so unlike that person I wish I was, and sometimes I’m excited and inspired by the possibilities waiting for me!
(a lot of that probably depends on how well I slept last night – ha!)
Who do you wish you were? What is your relationship with that version of yourself that looks through the mirror at you?
Who is this person I wish I was?
*warning – this list is ridiculous.*
They are kind and generous at all times.
They love the people in their life without limits – as Christ loves them.
They’re constantly learning about any and every subject that interests them, benefits their family, or enriches their life.
They spend time in Scripture and prayer so the life they live is fuelled by an eternal source of wisdom, love and hope – Jesus Christ.
Words of wisdom are on the tip of their tongue when having meaningful conversations with family, friends and their team.
They work hard and with excellence at whatever they put their mind to.
There’s always healthy food on the table and mealtime is always strong relationship time.
They create a home that is a safe, welcoming place for family and friends at all times.
Their work is well organized, well-thought through and extremely effective.
They never fret about hours in the day, the to-do list always manages to finish itself.
They have meaningful one-on-one time with their children and spouse on a weekly basis.
And they have all the time in the world for child’s play.
After writing that, I literally laughed out loud. That person is perfect. That person doesn’t exist.
Somedays, 2 or 3 of those things might be true. On really good days, 3 or 4 of those things might be true.
But let’s be honest, the reality is, somewhere between what’s real and what’s wished for, I see that person I wish I was and I know we’ll never really meet. Not in this life, anyway.
Until then – what do we do with that version of ourselves that we wish we were?
Begin with grace.
Writing this post comes on the heels of my most recent counseling appointment. (I’m a huge fan of counseling, here’s why. Finding a good counselor can be a life-changer.)
What was the appointment about? Turns out my most recent struggles have been rooted in perfectionism. My personal expectations of myself.
That probably has something to do with where The Person I Wish I Was comes from.
Unchecked perfectionism has negative impacts on daily life. It creates tension and frustration that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
Finding our worth in what we perfect and accomplish is even worse.
You might not be a perfectionist. Or maybe you are. But the person you wish you were does come from somewhere. Do you know where?
Your life and my life is not about how much we achieve, the value of our living room furniture, or how clean our floors are. It’s not even about how well our kids behave in public or how much we can give of our time and money.
We aren’t perfect and we don’t have to be perfect.
In fact, we are inescapably imperfect.
It’s really a beautiful thing that the human heart longs for perfection… not necessarily shallow surface-level perfection, but life-giving, whole-making, soul-quenching perfection.
I think that’s a reflection of our Perfecter’s fingerprints on us. We need Him. We long for Him.
But since we aren’t God, we aren’t the Perfecter.
So What Do We Do?
Surrender and turn.
Am I to quit trying to be a good spouse, friend and parent? No.
But I need to recognize who I am, and who I’m not.
I am not God.
I am a person. Created and loved by God, but not God.
My value is not in what I perfect, but in who I belong to – God. And I need Him.
You do too, right?
Take a minute to confess that to God. Yes, right now.
Renew my mind.
I need to renew the way I think.
We develop thinking patterns that become second nature and sometimes those patterns lead us down dark paths.
Do I want to be angry when I’m cleaning up dishes after a full day of juggling work, meals, and a toddler when the milk jug slips off the edge of the counter and empties into a white puddle on the floor?
But my natural, knee-jerk reaction happens. My subconscious thinking triggers an emotional “ugh – you should’ve seen that coming! How could you let that happen?!”
Reality: I can’t see every accident that’s coming. I’m not a failure when something doesn’t go right.
Renewing my mind is a process.
And it’s a process for each of us. Your thinking patterns might be different from mine, and the ways you need to renew your mind might be different than mine.
This isn’t a diagnosis, but an encouragement. You are valuable. You are worth renewing.
If that’s something you want too, see a counselor you trust to help you get to the root of your challenges.
And if you want it, this month I am reflecting on these verses. If you’d like them, save them for yourself, too! They’re the right size for your phone’s wallpaper.
So, does this mean I need to stop trying to be the best person I can be? No.
But the fact is that today – I am not the person I wish I was.
And that’s ok!
What about you? What’s your relationship with the version of yourself you wish you were?