If you were asked to share your strengths and weaknesses, would you be able to confidently say, “I am gifted in these areas, but not so much in these?” Maybe you are someone who only sees your weaknesses (if so, the bottom of this post is for you), or maybe you are like me– you know you have weakness (of course!) but struggle to admit it because it means something big:
It means you can’t do it all–well.
For many years this was a challenge for me–I really really wanted to be able to do it all. It was a pursuit born of pride, and people pleasing, and a desire to appear capable to everyone in every situation. And this led me to say yes to way too many things, which caused the activities I was currently involved in to suffer–even if they were important activities, like motherhood.
If you think about it, “doing it all well” is impossible, actually absurd. It’s like the Olympic swimmer coaching herself, cleaning the pool, paying the bills on the pool facility, designing and sewing her swimsuit, and timing herself in her laps–all while hoping for the gold!
In fact, “doing it all” is the one area of our life where we shouldn’t excel.
I believe this important to talk about, especially for women, because we live in a culture that applauds excelling at everything. This culture tells us we can be nurturing moms, giving and patient marriage partners, holding down careers or at least part-time jobs while having deep talks with friends at Starbucks and a organized pantry that always has stocked ingredients for the well-balanced meal waiting for us to create. We can also serve willingly at the church and show up at school parties with Pinterest-inspired homemade cupcakes, not to mention squeezing in time for kettle bell squat workouts.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it…because it’s true.
MAKING PEACE WITH WEAKNESS
This past year I decided to get off the wheel of perfection and do some soul searching about what I am good at and what I am NOT–and more importantly how to make peace with my weaknesses.
It started with a Strengths-Finders test I took as part of being on Young Life committee. It was so validating to see my life line up with the top 5 strengths the test identified me with…and to see what it didn’t. It almost took a weight off to say, “This is definitely not my strength–see the test result?”
Two months later I went through a two day intensive life plan with a friend who is extremely gifted in this field. I came out the other side with intense clarity about not just things I am good at, but what things give me joy and purpose. I also was clear about the areas that were not my strengths which were directly correlated to ventures I didn’t enjoy.
And the most important thing I learned? That when I am crystal clear about strengths and begin to focus on those areas, I have very little energy to worry about fixing what I am not good at. In fact, I can accept those areas of weakness as part of who I am, and be free to enjoy those as strengths in other people.
For example, I am not a detail person. Yet I almost took a job this past year that required that of me because I had the “I can do it all” mentality. Because I had gone through this process of clarity with my personal strengths, I knew that I was not a fit for the job, and that someone else was. I said no, with difficulty but with peace.
I am, however, a big picture/implementer/vision person. I have started three businesses from the ground up, creating them as government entities, developing websites, marketing, learning technology, branding, working with customers, running the financials, and carrying out the service. But I almost daily misplace my keys or sunglasses.
You see, when we are strong in our strengths and accepting of our weaknesses we allow God to use us where he wants us, and we don’t take up space elsewhere that he could be reserving for another person. We don’t need to be all things to all people.
JESUS FOCUSED ON A FEW GOOD THINGS
How did Jesus approach this idea of being all things to all people? We can assume Jesus would have been excellent at anything else he tried. But he didn’t try to be everything to everyone. Jesus was crystal clear on his purpose and he chose carefully where to put his time and energy:
- He was a messenger from his Heavenly Father: …The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. John 7:15-16
- He loved the unlovable and offered grace and salvation to all. “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:46-47
- Made some great dining room tables. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Mark 6:3
If we are truly wanting to live by Jesus’s example then we need to put down the book that tells us we need to do it all. We don’t. We need to do a few things well, and we need to be able to identify our strengths to know what those things are.
Circling back to the beginning of this post, do you know what your strengths are? Are you at peace with your weaknesses?
If you are just not sure what your strengths and talents are, here are some tools to help you figure out just what gifts you bring to the the table of life. They go in order of price, and depth of introspection. I would highly encourage you to take a look at one or more of these–even in the next week. The clearer you are in the talents God has bestowed upon you, the better He can use you for great purposes in life!
1. SPIRITUAL GIFTS TEST This is a FREE online quiz.
2. STRENGTHSFINDER You can purchase the basic version of this test for $15.00
3. CORECLARITY This is a coaching option that runs about $250.00 for individuals. CoreClarity facilitators serve as interpreters for the Strengths-finder Assessment and meet with individuals of all ages for one on one coaching, along with couples and groups. If you would like to learn more about identifying your strengths and then learning how to apply them in relationships, work or ministry, this might be a great option for you! And, I happen to know a great CoreClarity facilitator! Her name is Jill Felix and you can contact her by email HERE.
4. LIFE PLAN The Life Plan is a two day intensive process that culminates in a customized strategic plan for your life. With the help of a guided facilitator, the process uncovers the discovery and ownership of who you are truly created to be, and then sets you free to pursue the fullness of that in all areas of life: personal, family, career, faith, and community. The Life Plan will run you about $3500.00 ($2500.00 for those in full-time ministry). If you are interested, you can contact one of the most sought after life plan facilitators in the country, Laura Brashov. You can email her HERE for more information.
This is good stuff girls (and guys!). When we can be gracious with ourselves, and confident in who we were created to be, we thrive.
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