I’m going to meddle in your personal life in this Leading Thoughts, and you should be forewarned. In exchange, I’ll keep it short. How’s that for a deal?

I want you to ponder with me the difference between relief and restoration in your life. Relief is short term. It lifts the pain or the pressure for a while. It doesn’t last. Restoration, however, gets to the heart of the matter. It fixes the core issues from which you feel the need for relief. Restoration is the permanent solution, the final cure. It is making things right. Relief is just easing the pain while things aren’t right.

So, let me be specific. I’m working with a leader whose father was hard on him. My man feels the inner pressure and insecurity every day. Rather than get some help to undo the damage of his father’s wounding ways, he drinks. A lot. He’s reaching for relief, not restoration. And it is destroying his life.

I know a woman who leads a large firm but who struggles with what are called today “body image issues.” She was the ugly duckling in high school and college, then she “sprouted.” Her word, not mine. Though she became a “stunner” (her word, not mine) she always feared the return of the ugly duckling. So, today she is addicted to exercise and, secretly, she purges and suffers anorexia. All of her efforts to be “in shape” are relief. What she needs is restoration from the wounds she sustained when she was rejected for being the ugly duckling.

I know a CEO who is about 400 pounds. He’s a fine man but his eating is manic. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve come to understand that he was horribly abused as a boy. Rather than getting restoration for his soul from all the abuse, he eats to find relief.

I want you to take time to consider this pattern in your own life. Do you have issues from which you seek short-term relief rather than the restoration you really need? Ask yourself. Ask your spouse. Ask your honest friends. Then, go after the restoration you need. That soul work. That restoration with a lost friend. That haunting from early experiences. Face it all boldly.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Relief in its proper form is great. No one enjoys a massage or a jacuzzi or that quiet glass of wine or the peace while reading a good book by the sea more than I do. Relief is part of life. Enjoy it. The problem comes, though, when we allow relief to replace restoration. That’s when deformity and addiction set in.

Here’s the principle. Relief is for short term issues. Tired feet. A week of hard work. The bruising conversation. The challenging few months. Restoration is for the long term issues. The childhood trauma. The bad stuff that has produced bad fruit for years. Be courageous enough to go after restoration. It will frankly make the relief in your life all the more pleasurable.