EP Member Spotlight ~ Elizabeth Pierce: Rubber Balls, Crystal Balls, and the Holy Spirit

I began my foray into leadership 8 years ago.  If I’m honest, I never had career aspirations outside of being a therapist.  But as we all know, when you surrender your path to Jesus, He takes the reins and you can often times find yourself saying yes to things that you would never have considered otherwise.

Shortly after I started in my new role, I was reading a leadership magazine.  I can’t even remember the name of the magazine, let alone the author of the article that caught my eye.  But I will never forget the quote that has forever changed how I approach my role as a leader.

“Leaders always have too many balls in the air.  The sign of a good leader is someone who knows the difference between a crystal ball and a rubber ball, and lets the rubber balls bounce.” 

It stopped me dead in my tracks.  In two sentences, I was given affirmation for my reality and a way to look at a role that would otherwise bury me if I continued on as I had begun.  Because there were too many balls!  And, as a Type A first born, I don’t like to not complete the tasks before me in a timely fashion, or at all.  But I was quickly realizing that there was no way I could attend to all the demands placed on me as a leader without staying up all night, every night, forever.  And since I also have a family and church responsibilities (and I really do like my sleep), I needed a new plan!

It was freeing to realize my job wasn’t to attend to all the balls promptly, just the crystal ones.  As I thought about what happens when a rubber ball bounces…it eventually rolls to a corner somewhere, to be picked up later…I realized this could work for me.  I’m pretty sure I could open a Children’s Play Place with a huge ball pit, given all the rubber balls that bounce around me daily, but that’s ok, because the crystal ones aren’t smashing.

Elizabeth Pierce quoteBut it’s not just about balls.  Because Jesus called me into this role, I can’t do it without Him.  So, it’s through His Spirit that I discern what is rubber and what is crystal.  I try and make it my daily practice (but I’m not perfect) to ask Him to order my steps, and to give me His perspective on what is rubber and what is crystal, because He knows far better than I ever could.  Proverbs 16:3 (ESV) actually says, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”  It’s amazing to me how many times something I think I should get done, but I don’t get to because it doesn’t feel right in my spirit to focus on, turns out to be something that gets cancelled, or a deadline extended.  To me, that is the Spirit of God at work on my behalf, establishing my plans.   

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV) says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.””  My best days are the days I listen to that voice, the voice that orders my steps and tells me what is crystal and what is rubber.  The voice that lists my “to-dos” from His perspective.  And when I ask for His eyes to see things, it is amazing the clarity I am given – funny, how in the wrong light, with the wrong eyes, rubber can look like crystal.  It’s amazing how easily the enemy will sneak in there, like in a house of mirrors, skewing my view when it’s me and my eyes I rely on, rather than the Holy Spirit.

EP Member Spotlight ~ Elizabeth Pierce: Rubber Balls, Crystal Balls, and the Holy Spirit igI’m far from perfect at this.  I don’t always see right.  I sometimes have too many rubber balls cluttering my desk, making it hard for me to see the crystal ones.  But I’m learning.  And God is so gracious. 

If you want to come for a jump with me in my ball pit, let me know!


Elizabeth Pierce

Elizabeth Pierce is a wife, mother of two teen boys, and clinical social worker by profession. She has worked for 21 years at the same counselling agency, where she started as a therapist, until 2010 when she became the Executive Director.

In 2014, God prompted her to write a book. She never intended to be an author. Her goal was simple – to “make a difference” in this world using the gifts and talents God had given her.  She always thought that meant one person at a time in the confines of a counselling office. However, when God began asking her to do things that didn’t fit inside the four safe walls of a counselling office, she became aware that she was being led on a journey that would lead her to fulfill the plan God had in store for her. Deep, Soulful Places is a culmination of all that transpired, personally and professionally, as she sought to be a vessel for Him.

When she is not at work, Elizabeth lives a busy life, full of children’s sporting events, serving at Forest Brook Community Church as a ministry leader and preacher, acting as Board Chair for Gather Women, and spending time with the important people God has blessed her with. Most importantly though, she is tenderly, yet passionately pursued everyday by a loving God, and wants to ensure that everyone else understands that they are too.

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