In the past, I’ve taken lots of pride in being a highly independent person. As any wise person knows, pride goes before a fall, both literally & metaphorically. So when I’ve thought that being independent was a strength, I’m growing to appreciate that it can also be a weakness. I’m learning that independence becomes a weakness when I separate myself from people, when I don’t ask for help, when I don’t allow others to contribute in teamwork and improvements. Unfortunately, I’ve had to fall down, fail and face inadequacy to accept the reality that my independence isn’t a strength as much as it can be a weakness for me.
I’m being vulnerable with this lesson because there’s a good chance that you might have a few things that you consider to be strengths. It’s possible that these perceived strengths could be weaknesses for you, maybe. Consider some examples:
Is external beauty a strength at the expense of cultivating interior beauty? Of course these don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but it’s a good question to consider in both ways of interior & exterior beauty.
Is dependence a strength when cultivating one’s internal fortitude is dismissed?
Is discipline a strength when it accentuates achievement at the expense of intimacy or people connection?
Is Bible knowledge or proper theology a strength without God’s love to soften our words, actions and attitudes?
Sometimes we can lean on our strengths so much that they can become weaknesses without realizing it! Let’s keep Paul’s words about boasting in weakness from 2 Corinthians 11:30 as a central theme in our daily living! “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”
I was reading over the weekend about how Jesus healed a guy who was born blind. Before Jesus healed the guy, His disciples asked about why the guy was blind and Jesus replied that the man’s blindness was to give an opportunity for God’s glory to be seen and magnified. This is an interesting perspective: that the weaknesses we have can serve the purpose of letting God be glorified. With this mindset, it seems like we should let our weaknesses be more obvious & less obscure so that God can get the most leverage and glory from such weak areas. With this in mind, I’m starting to rethink the value of my strengths and talents, particularly as they relate for the opportunities for God to be more glorified 🙂
We all have various strengths, talents & giftings. I have friends who are really good at organizing, details, fashion, etc. One of the things that I think I’m good at is listening. I like to listen, ask questions, learn & hear about other people’s lives. While this can be a great talent, it can also be a great weakness for me, in that I find that I can often listen better than speak when it comes to one on one relationships. If I do not share & sincerely express myself then a relationship can be one-sided & unbalanced. What has been a foundational strength can also turn into a crippling weakness, particularly when I ignore the Holy Spirit’s confrontations.
So my challenge to you has a few things for you to consider:
#1 – what are you good at? What are your strengths?
#2 – in what ways might these strengths become weakspots?
#3 – how can you listen to the Holy Spirit to help you live in truth & not deception with your strengths?
Let your strengths be ongoing strengths & not twisted into weaknesses 🙂
I have several friends who are really business-smart & I thank God that they’re my friends because presently, I don’t consider myself business-smart (although I’m getting better). One of the exercises that many businesses commonly run through, from time to time, is the swot analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats. After having gone through this exercise in various organizations, it’s been really helpful to kind of do a personal swot analysis & to consider some outcomes:
Something that I consider to be one of my strengths is my indepdence. I can do alot of things by myself & generally, that’s something that I like about me. Lately however, I’m seeing that more & more, my independence isn’t so much a strength, but rather is a weakness because I see that I can easily isolate myself & thereby minimize my effectiveness. Furthermore, I’m learning that teamwork isn’t only about the accomplishment, but maybe even moreso about the personal development & growth that teamwork cultivates. I’m writing all of this to encourage us to be mindful that whatever strengths we have, that we appreciate that they can also be weaknesses. Maybe this is some of what Paul was talking about in 2 Cor 12:9-10, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness .” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, . . . ” 🙂