I attended a conference recently and heard a motivational speaker talk about strengths and weaknesses, and I was surprised at what I heard:
“Strengths are not what you’re good at. Weaknesses are not what you’re bad at. We’ve all been raised to believe that our strengths are best judged by the success we achieve. If that’s the case, then a strength is the same as performance. But we instinctively know that’s not true. If you’re like most people, you have some activities or tasks you do well, but hate doing. You have the ability; you can do it. You just wish you never had to do it again because it drains you. Such activities cannot be called strengths. They are weaknesses. The simplest and best definition of a strength is ‘an activity that strengthens you.’ And the proper definition of a weakness is ‘an activity that weakens you’ — even if you’re good at it.” (Marcus Buckingham, motivational speaker)
What an unusual concept! Yet, when I think about what strengthens or weakens me in my life, I have found this concept to be true. Yes, I’m really good at filling out my weekly and monthly reports for my job, and some might consider my diligence and precision a strength, but if I never had to write another report again, I would jump for joy! It’s so draining! And, no, I’m not the best guitar player and I only know about 10 chords but I LOVE making music any way I can, even if I mess up more often when playing the guitar rather than the piano.
So, if strength is an activity that strengths me, and weakness is an activity that weakens me, what does my list look like? My strengths might include singing hymns; praising God energizes me and gets me through each day. It might also include serving others; I work at a job where I can assist older adults every day through difficult situations. What else can strengthen me? What else can feed my soul? These are easy answers: reading the Word, helping others, attending Church, praising God through trials, praying for others. The list goes on. What strengthens you?
What about my weaknesses? By definition, an activity that weakens me might be watching a movie that wasn’t a great, wholesome choice and that promoted some questionable choices or rewarded bad behavior. Perhaps it was skipping a church service so I could stay home, relax, and “recharge” when I really needed to gather with others. Perhaps it’s simply being distracted by whatever dings on my phone.
And what about those days when my weaknesses are just an overwhelming situation that drains me? Have no fear; God can provide all the strength I need. There is no weakness that God cannot turn around into a strength. God is famous for helping the weak overcome. He wants us to know what He can do. He wants us to stop trying so hard on our own and let Him help.
Strengthen your strengths! If you’re good at music, praise more! If you love to teach others, volunteer for more classes! If you have a desire to grow your talents, regardless of how “good” you think you are at them, go for it! God will multiply your efforts if you seek Him in the process.
These verses provide the extra strength we need in life, and remind us from WHERE our strength comes.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalms 18:1-2)
“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.