There are things I do well, things I do poorly and things I just do. Generally the things I do well are things I spend time working on, although there are some things we all do well without trying much. Oftentimes the things I do poorly are things I’m not really into or want to get better at. I like playing tennis, but I’m the girl on the court hitting the ball like a softball and knocking it out of the fence. This makes my partner (Big Daddy) rather frustrated. If I really wanted to get better at tennis, I could. I could practice and watch videos and spend time on the court.
I found this quote by Francis Chan the other day, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Let that soak in. What are you trying to succeed at? What are you putting your time and effort into? What’s worth it to you to spend time on the court for?
I’m a wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, therapist…see where I’m going with this? I have a number of roles. You do, too. My roles aren’t my identity. All of my roles could change. My identity is who I am at my core, independent of my roles. The more I work on my identity, the better I am at my roles. I love validation from my family that I’m good at my roles. Validation from my friends that I’m a good friend. Validation from my bosses and co-workers and clients that I’m a good therapist. We all enjoy external validation from others.
For me, what really matters is about my identity. Here’s what I want to succeed at: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. The Bible calls these the “fruits of the spirit”. These are the things I want to succeed at. These are choices I make every day, over and over, because it’s the kind of person I want to be (identity). I spend time on the court working on these attributes because it’s what matters to me, not for external validation. When I see myself succeeding in these areas the internal validation affirms my identity and who I am independent of my roles.
I’m not perfect at any of this. Some days I completely miss the mark in some areas. But, I’ve learned not to beat myself up about it. I just tell myself “I’m a work in progress.” and keep aiming in the direction I want to go. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” What matters to you? What do you want to spend time on the court for?
Be kind, be grateful, be courageous,