Monday, October 8, 2012

The Real Me

I started reading this book, The Real Me by Natalie Grant and I've found myself kind of into it, kinda not. Parts of it drag on while others parts I find myself holding onto every word. But I found myself really digging into the meaning in one part of the book. I want to quote the book exactly and then I'll discuss my thinking on it. So here's the words from page 54-55:


What Matters Most. 

On paper, Stephanie looks like your classic high achiever. She's the historian of the student council and co historian for the National Honor Society. She's a member of the Spanish Club; the Spanish Honor Society; the orchestra; the mathematics honor society, Mu Alpha Theta; and Impact, the school club dedicated to community service. And as though all that wasn't enough, she signed up for all the Advanced Placement classes her school offers and became a social officer on her dance team.

The truth is, Stephanie, the daughter of Korean immigrants, has more than one reason for staying so busy.

"From about seventh grade until about the end of my sophomore year in high school I was really driven to achieve," she confesses. "If I didn't meet the standard I set for myself -which was often perfection- it caused my self-esteem to plummet. Sometimes even making 100 on a test wasn't enough. I thought I should've gotten the bonus points."

At the end of her sophomore year, Stephanie had a major shift in perspective, due largely to some personal Bible study and godly soul searching. "I realized that getting good grades and winning awards were not nearly as important as the things that were going on in the lives of those around me," she says. "I had been spending so much time studying or practicing the things I wanted to excel in that I wasn't spending very much time with God or with the people I care about. Every night when I'd look back on my day, I realized that about 90 percent was school -you know, studying that extra hour so I could do well on a test and such. And I think that has really hurt me, in a way, because in that long run it's not about my grades.

"I have friends whose parents put a lot of pressure on them to succeed academically," she continues, "and it's really hard on them. That's really sad to me because what are they going to say when God wants to know what they did with their life? That they made As in all their classes? That's not the legacy I want to leave. Sure, I love to learn, and I want to do all things excellently, but I hope that what motivates me the most to be involved in so many things is the desire to love and impact people. That's where my focus is now."


You see, this little bit of the book to me means so much! I've been doing a little soul searching myself here lately and this small story reminded me that it's not about my strive for perfection (which I constantly push myself to be) but it's more about what type of legacy I want to be remembered as.

So the question arises. If I were to die tomorrow what would people remember me as? A friend? A family member? A college graduate who worked full time and got two degrees in the process? A community member who liked to stay involved? A mentor to kids? An inspiration for other young ladies to get involved with their Czech heritage? So many things I've tried to become yet which one would really stick out and leave me as a legacy to the world? What will people remember me for? I want to be known for something good, not like extreme to the point of making giant bronze statues of me (although it wouldn't take much bronze I'm only 5'2"), but someone who brought a lot of positive influence and inspiration to those who knew me.

I think I myself, take on a lot of "projects" and I'm one of those people who can never say no to people. I think we all consider ourselves a bit of a never say no-er type of person but to me, I take it to the extreme. "Kelsey will you clean my shoes? Kelsey, pick up my kids from school so I can work an extra hour. Kelsey, jump off that bridge." Yes, I'm that girl who does everything and anything to be a people pleaser. The one who goes beyond my means and budget to make others happy and maybe feel a small ounce of acceptance from that person. I hate being the people pleaser I know I've become but I'm not the kind of person that could turn someone away. I think it's almost like I feel like I'm supposed to be the person to be there to help everyone, to be a bestie when I feel I lack one in my life.

I've never been known for my awesome grades, or my superb athletic skills but I think I've been known for my willingness to lend a hand or give an ear for a gab chat. I want to help and as much as I want to push people away I'm thankful I don't. The fact that I didn't excel or have my name known for academics or grades just means that I had to learn to leave my impression on people in other ways. I would hope that if I were to walk in and talk to people that I knew five years ago they would now say that I did leave them with some kind of impression. One that left a footstep on their heart and a smile on the face.

While striving to hit that perfectionist mark, I've learned that no one is perfect. No one will ever be the best at what they're trying to do. There will always be someone who can play trumpet better, there will always be someone who can juggle a career and being a mommy better, there will always be that friend who remembers to send out thank you's, and there will always be that one person I forget to add to my Christmas card list every year. But, no matter what, I'm striving to be the best I can be, the best me. Are you being the best you can be at this point in your life?

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