What are your strengths? Have you ever considered the weaknesses hiding in those strengths?
Recently I had a complete stranger tell me matter-of-factly that I am a control freak. There were no value judgments attached, it was just a statement of what they figured I must already know because it was so obvious! I was dumbfounded. No one had ever told me that before, and I always thought the title belonged to “others out there somewhere.” I really had no response, because in an instant I realized it was true! I knew that I have a way I like things to be done, and have trouble delegating because I’m afraid it won’t be done my way. I knew that I will attempt any task put before me, but I don’t want a lot of input. I want to try it on my own. And lo and behold, everyone I told my story to was as surprised that I didn’t know as I was to find out!
My tendency to try to be in control of projects and events had worked well from my standpoint, but what did I lose in the process?
Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. (Proverbs 15:22)
- I work well alone, but working with a team brings greater value. I have missed out on many opportunities to learn and grow simply by working alongside others. They may do things differently, but if I take the time to ask the “why” questions, I might find their way to be better than mine! The reverse is also true. Having them ask me “why” questions could make me think a little more about my approach.
Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
- There is more strength, more creativity, and more ability found in numbers than I could ever muster up on my own. I have limits, but those limits can be pushed much further by including others and pooling our strengths. Where I am weak, someone else can be strong.
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
- This is the scariest of them all! My heart was full of pride in the fact that I could do just about anything I set my mind to do, and I didn’t even realize it. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” My own heart deceived me!
Back to my first question. What are your strengths? Maybe you’re not a control freak like I’ve been known to be. Maybe you have a knack for getting to the heart of a matter without getting distracted by things that are unimportant. Perhaps you keep a level head in crisis situations. It could be that you’re super strong physically, or mentally quick, or socially adept, or outwardly beautiful, or musically talented.
Whatever your strength may be, do you find your identity in it? Are you proud of it, knowing that others wish they had your ___________? Maybe it’s time for a conversation with your Creator. Yes, you are a masterpiece, but you were made for service. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You were not specially designed so that you could have a high opinion of yourself, you were created to do good things!
Ask God to show you by His Spirit any pride that might be hiding in your heart. Thank Him for the strengths, gifts and abilities He has given you. Finally, ask Him to show you the plans and purposes He has already put in place, waiting for those strengths to be put to use!