Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Playing to Your Strengths (Laurie)

Earlier this year, Laura did a great post called "Know Your Weaknesses, Use Your Strengths," which has really stuck with me as I hone my writing skills and remind myself again and again that I have my own unique writing style, and there's no point in wishing I could write like someone else because I'm working with a very different set of strengths and weaknesses.

Today I want to focus on how that lesson has played out in my personal life lately. I'm the kind of person who wants to be able to do it all. I'm terrible at saying no and extremely reluctant to ask for help, because under my twisted logic, if I have to cut back or can't accomplish everything by myself, it's a sign of weakness or failure.

But lately I've had to give a little. I'm trying to juggle a lot between the demands of two young kids and working toward everything I want to accomplish as an author, plus all the other obligations of daily life. And I'm finally learning that if I'm honest with myself about my own strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to be something I'm not, there's a much better outcome for everyone involved.

The first example was my sister's bridal shower. She's my only sister and I get to be the Matron of Honor at her wedding, so this is a very exciting time! But I'm not much of a party planner. In the midst of the arrangements for the shower, two of my sister's friends who will be bridesmaids offered multiple times to help with the planning. And, of course, my instinct was to say no. But then I found myself in Party City, wandering cluelessly down the decorations aisle. When I got home, I swallowed my pride and asked the other girls for help. And I'm SO glad I did!! They actually had fun planning out a theme and the decorations, and the end result was 100 times better than what I would've come up with on my own.

The other example stems from the fact that my oldest son started kindergarten this year. I know so many families who successfully homeschool, and it's always made me feel a bit guilty and ashamed that I've never had any interest in homeschooling my kids, despite recognizing the many benefits. But now, seeing my son thriving in a public school, I'm finally letting go of those feelings. Yes, homeschooling works great for many people, but it wouldn't for us. And that's okay. My son comes home every day with a grin on his face, gushing about the games they got to play, activities they got to do, songs, puzzles, books. He's learning all day, but he barely notices because he's busy having fun with his friends. I'm not creative enough to come up with those types of activities, so at home we'd be butting heads constantly, with me losing patience and him complaining a million times that he just wants to go play with his brother. I'm not cut out for homeschooling, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Ironically, I'm always telling my sons that we all have different gifts. Now it's time to accept that lesson for myself :) Party planning and teaching don't happen to be among my gifts, but the good news is, I have other talents. And I think I will be much happier (as will everyone around me!) if I can get better at enjoying the gifts I have and letting others play to their strengths instead of lamenting that I can't do everything on my own.

How about you? Do you struggle with asking for help or wishing you could do more? Is there anything you've had to let go because it wouldn't be a good fit for you even though it works well for others?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Wonderful post, Laurie. This is something I've been working on too. I'm certainly no party planner and I've had to rely on others to help me plan things for women's ministry at my church. I tend to get really busy and always thinking of other things I could do be doing and would like to do. I'd love to see a musical based on The Rose and the Wand; I've been dreaming of it for five years. But is writing a play and lyrics (I know better than to think I could do the music without special help from God for the purpose!) something I should learn and pursue? Something to pray about since it would take time from writing novels.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! It's nice to know you can relate :) Ooh, a musical based on The Rose and the Wand would be amazing! But you're right, it would also be a huge time commitment, which would require taking time away from other things since you're so busy! I'll keep you in my prayers, I know how hard it is to figure out how to prioritize projects.

  2. I struggle with the same thing. I think it comes from constantly being told we can "do it all." I'm beginning to realize I can't -- & that's okay.

    1. Thanks, Jill! You're right, I think the collective mindset of our society definitely contributes to the problem. I'm pretty sure the only way to "do it all" is to get no sleep, which isn't an option for me since I don't drink coffee :)


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