November 10, 2022
We had the honor of chatting with the incredible Ruth Chou Simons all on a topic so close to her heart and something so many of us creative entrepreneurs struggle with: our cycle of striving, perfectionism, and how our identity plays a huge role in that.
Today’s conversation with Ruth is a much-needed drink of water for all you achievers and hustlers out there parched in your search for fulfillment and meaning in your accolades, your accomplishments, or even in your need for everything to be perfect. Enneagram 3’s anyone? Ruth dove straight in with getting to the heart of WHY we’re all stuck striving endlessly in a world that constantly tells us we need to do more, be more, achieve more, and have more. She speaks so much truth in addressing the lies we constantly believe that we need to be perfect, that we’re worthless if we aren’t getting bookings or sales coming in, and so much more. We also touched on how she incorporates cycles of rest into her life as a mama and business owner, how to know when to say yes or no to an opportunity as a driven goal oriented person, and why it’s vital to have a secure identity in knowing who you are apart from what you do.
Ruth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including GraceLaced, Beholding and Becoming, and When Strivings Cease, as well as the TruthFilled Bible study. She is an artist, entrepreneur, and speaker, using each of these platforms to spiritually sow the word of God into people’s hearts. Through her online shop at GraceLaced.com and her social media community, she shares her journey of God’s grace intersecting daily life with word and art.
More than ever if you walk down any aisle at the store or bookstore there’s constant information coming your way, telling you what formula, program, or book to read to live your best life. To accomplish your dreams, to achieve your goals. While all those things are wonderful, you can feel extremely exhausted. A lot of the pressure is trying to figure out how to belong in this world.
The book came from a long journey where Ruth wrestled with the fact that she was not made to be defined by achieving more, becoming more, and improving more. You have to come out of a place working hard knowing that you have everything that you need instead of coming from a place thinking you are always lacking.
The thing we don’t do super well because we are all so busy and running a mile a minute, is we don’t take the time to think about why we are doing something that we are doing. At the root of it, what is causing you to be obsessed with perfection, causing you to be anxious or control everything? If those are things that bubble up in us, instead of saying that’s just how we are wired, ask yourself what are you trying to achieve or accomplish by being perfect.
At the root of it, we are all after being seen, known, and loved. We really want to belong, matter and have a purpose. We don’t always recognize that we are anxiously striving to achieve something that we think we need to accomplish on our own.
Striving is when you anxiously maneuver or manipulate to gain or achieve something that you are not quite trusting God to provide. You can’t force yourself to not care about perfection unless you replace that addiction, fear, or need to control with something better. It will not get better and you will not replace that obsession with perfection unless you recognize how trustworthy God is or how good God is and how He provides and that He is the hero of your life.
It’s important to note that sometimes change for the better or worse doesn’t happen from one thing. It can be multiple things adding up. Coming back towards alignment is waiting for some dramatic thing, but noticing it right at the moment and reminding yourself of the truth at that moment. There is no other way to come back into true alignment with who God is rather than replacing lies with truth.
We’re not going to nail it every day all the time. It’s not a one-and-done. You have to keep coming back to it day after day, moment after moment.
It can be really overwhelming if you wear many hats. We are constantly juggling many things. You need to have a mission statement and come back to it daily that will help you keep on track. Unless you have a strong vision and a decided mission statement then it will be really hard to discern what is constant. It’s not what you should or shouldn’t do, we all only have 24 hours in our day. You have to care for yourself, for the people in your life, and rest. You have to have enough growth that overflows into what you do creatively. How do you know when to say yes and when to say no?
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
You have to have the rhythm of every day or one or two days of a week, finding space outside of the internet. Whether that means you physically log off or you go do something so outdoorsy or with people, you can leave your phone. It’s far too easy to work around the clock. The work really never stops. We were made to rest and refill ourselves.
We need to be reminded that we aren’t as amazing as we think we are.
There is nothing wrong with having goals, but follow where your anxiety goes. What is that pointing to? That’s when you should be concerned about it. The ultimate goal is that God is more important to have your heart than your dreams. There is a big difference between striving or running towards your treasure and when you don’t have your treasure. Or reminding yourself that God has already been good to you, you already have His favor, and you have already been given more than you deserve. The latter is being fueled by the grace of God and the first is being fueled by the fear of what we don’t have. Be driven out of that, that life is already found in Christ and every breath you take can be found in Him.
We need others to speak into our lives and God to speak into our lives. Ultimately our identity in Christ is our true identity.
The principle of clarity is kindness. We’re so careful to avoid conflict that we are not being clear. Being clear is kindness.
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