by Niki Turner
Our Friday self-help posts are about various ways to improve our lives. When we're looking for "self-help" we're usually in search of ways to plump up our weak spots, whether it's being a messy housekeeper, the daily "what's for dinner?" crisis, or ways to improve our time management skills. For the most part, we seek help because we're painfully aware of our weaknesses.
What if, for a moment - or a day - or a week - or a year, we focused on our strengths and worked to make them even stronger?
That's the idea behind The Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. According to Rath, when we are engaged in using and applying our strengths at work, at home, or even in our hobbies, we're happier, more satisfied, and more productive. Yet, whenever we are confronted with an area of weakness, we focus our time and energy toward trying to bring it up to par. But if you're weak in a particular area, bringing that area up to average requires tremendous effort. And we all know average is, well, average.
So what are your strengths?
Eh... um... well.
Yeah. That's a problem for most of us.
Personality tests, words of affirmation from friends and family, and your own innate awareness of your "strength zones" will clue you in. Don't shy away from genuine compliments, honest critiques, or reviews that highlight your strengths. Stop taking judges' comments from contest entries and committing the negative ones to memory. Instead, start paying attention to the good comments, the ones that highlight your strengths.
|Xurble via Flickr|
It's a different way to think. It's also a godly way to think.
In fact, focusing on our weaknesses might just give our adversary, the devil, access to our lives.
Consider this: What did the serpent in the garden of Eden say to Eve to deceive her?
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Gen 3:4-5 NIVThe truth was that Adam and Eve were already created in the image and likeness of God. They were already like God in every way that mattered. The deception was that they were lacking something they needed to succeed, to be happy, to have a better life. Instead of trusting God, trusting that His creation was as good and perfect as He had said, Eve considered the serpent's words and chowed down on that forbidden fruit.
Abraham, in contrast, didn't consider his weaknesses.
He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb.The apostle Paul wrote that he delighted in weaknesses in 2 Corinthians 12, because he knew God had him covered. Where he was weak, God was strong.
No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God,
Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. Rom 4:19-21 AMP
God made you, designed you, knit you together in your mother's womb. You have God-given gifts and graces that are individual and original, and which are sufficient for your success in whatever you are called to do. Do you believe it?
Here's your assignment: Make a list of your strengths. Anything from being a great speller to always having your checkbook balanced. Include those intangible characteristics like loyalty, honesty, and teamwork. If you're a great listener, that's a strength. Are you a wealth of information? That's a strength. When your brain goes on a blitz, ask trusted friends and family members.
Now take that list and think of all the places where you can put those strengths to greater use in your life, whether for better quality of life or just for personal pleasure. The more time you spend in your strength zone, the happier and more satisfied you'll be. Why? Because God made you that way!