Tag Archive: strength weakness


Well actually just ‘Jane Lee’ but I panic’d and called her ‘Jean’ once and now i’m so confused that i call her Jean-Jane just to cover all the bases. But she is one of my newest friends and a lot of fun [and a worthy adversary at Boggle which is saying a lot!] and is the worship leader at Re:Generation church where i just got involved in youth leadering and she agreed to share this lovely post with us to take it away J… Miss Lee:

janejaneDuring my time as a Sunday School teacher, our pastor encouraged us to take the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test developed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton to be able to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other, and learn how to work together better as a team. After an assessment of over 150 questions, the test revealed that one of my biggest strengths is what the book referred to as “Context – people strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.” 

While I had never thought of “Context” as being a strength this did not come as much of a surprise as someone who was a history major in college doing research that focused on collecting oral histories of under-represented Korean diasporic communities. I am a firm believer in the power of history in shaping our present, and the importance of understanding how people, places, concepts, and ideas came to be. Everyone has a story it’s just a matter of unearthing it. It enables me to see the fuller picture, not just fragments of what’s on the surface. This has also come into play in my social activism, taking lessons from the past to identify strategies to create a more just future. 

It definitely had never occurred to me that the value I placed on context and history could be a weakness, but the more I reflected on it, the more I recognized the ways that this had impacted my attitudes toward others, myself, and God. 

Until about four years ago when I encountered God in a tent in Albion (a story for another time), I don’t think I was able to truly receive and accept God’s grace because I was holding on to so many sins of my past, mistakes I’ve made, hurts I’ve experienced/inflicted, getting mired in countless regrets, what if’s, if only’s… This manifested in my tendency to dwell on past relationships, soul ties I had developed in my pursuit of love in the wrong places, and feelings of shame and guilt I had buried deep for all the ways I had disobeyed God in this area.

It’s still a struggle at times, but I’ve since made it a daily practice to let go of my past – to learn from it but not dwell on it. Through Christ Jesus I am a new creation, no longer bound to sin. His mercies are new every morning. He keeps no record of my wrongs. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am free – free from my past, free to move forward.

There is an old Sunday School song that I sometimes hum to myself as a reminder of who I am in Christ Jesus. The words are simple but it is a powerful declaration of God’s redeeming grace:

I am a new creation

No more in condemnation

Here in the grace of God I stand

My heart is overflowing

My life just keeps on going

Here in the grace of God I stand

[To head back to the start of this series and hear a whole lot more Strength Weakness testimonies, click here]

howardMy strength / weakness
– by Howard James Fyvie, the 1st, son of Andrew, son of Raymond

It took me a while in thinking about this topic because I was struggling to actually identify any significant weakness in my life. I mean, obviously I’ve got struggles and battles that I fight on a daily / weekly and sometimes yearly basis – that humans around the world all face. But when it comes to a specific Achilles heal – I was struck without an answer. And I think in that lies my answer: my confidence.

God has given me heaps of confidence.I truly believe that I could do mostly anything.  I think most people can do anything. I believe in the impossible. And I plan on achieving it. If someone challenges me to something, I’d happily go along with that, believing that I’m gonna give my best, and it’s going to work. Whether it’s making a film, leading people, writing music, climbing a mountain, entertaining masses or making a meal: generally, I believe that I can do it. And I jump in with both feet and claim my inevitable victory.

The spin off to this is that sometimes I hit my head hard when I fail. Sometimes I think I can do something, when in actual fact – I’m a long way off. And so this God-given strength of confidence can also be a weakness when I commit to something with all my heart, and then find that I’m actually not going to win. I then crash to the ground in glorious flames.

This has happened on a number of occasions, but probably the most notable was my last relationship. I saw a girl. I had never had a serious girlfriend before because – in my opinion – I was waiting for the right one, and once I saw her, I would make her mine. Duh. That’s how it works. Needless to say – I pursued the girl, at first she said she wasn’t interested, but soon my sheer confidence (and good-looks, obviously) wooed her over, and after no time we were dating. I was sold.

However, things soon began to unravel. Both in my confidence, and in the relationship. After a few months of heart-ache, back and forths, long phone calls and lots of counsel, the relationship ended. I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t work. It had to work. Because of my blatant confidence, I was certain we would tie the knot, and had invested my whole heart and mind into the relationship. Today, she’s happily married to her husband, and I learned that not everything in life works out according to my plan. 😉

These days I tend to look at things a bit more realistically. I get some very realistic friends to give me counsel, and I try to listen – now through older and more sensitive ears.

Has my heart changed? No. I still believe in achieving the impossible. I’m still gonna jump in with both feet. I’m still gonna change the world. But I think i’ll just make sure my back-up chute has been double-checked before I jump out the plane.See you in the sky.

Howard James Fyvie,
son of Andrew,
son of Raymond.

[For the next post featuring Jane Lee and her Strength Weakness of Context, click here]

a year or so ago, i asked a bunch of my friends to write a piece on the topic of ‘My Strength Weakness’ – sharing a little about something in their lives that is viewed as a strength, but which in some cases can also turn about to be a weakness. And these great posts were the result. It was so helpful that i figured it was time to do it again, with a whole different bunch of people, and so here is ‘My Strength Weakness continued’ and we start off with my friend Tim Tucker:

tim tucker

I’m a multi-tasker.

I don’t mean the kind of multi-tasker that can watch TV, have a cup of tea and hold a conversation at the same time. I mean that I thrive on juggling multiple projects simultaneously and love to test how far my capacity can reach.

Often it feels like spinning numerous plates… and having to judge which plates are wobbling and need a bit of attention… and which have enough momentum just to keep on spinning. Maybe this sounds stressful – but I love the challenge.

This becomes a massive weakness though when I accept projects that God has not assigned me to do. On one occasion I received a phone call. I’d said no a few times to a particular position that I was being asked to fill. But an influential person called me and said, “Tim – you are the only person who has the capacity to do this.” They played to my ego with that flattery… and I said “yes”.

You see – multi-taskers can feel invincible and often have a superman complex. The problem is, when there are too many plates starting to wobble… and some start to teeter on the edge – then fall and smash, it can be a pretty spectacular disaster.

Unfortunately this happened as a result of me saying yes on this occasion… And who suffers when this happens… me, my family – my relationship with God… the organisation I worked for… etc. etc. So there are tonnes of lessons I’ve learned through this. God has had to deal with my superman complex and I’ve had to learn to trust him with the things that seem good ideas – but are not the things He’s asked me to do. I’ve had to learn where the edge of my capacity is… and be careful to not step over that – in fact – build in some breathing space… “mind the gap” as they say on the London tube. And most importantly, I’ve had to learn to listen to those around me who see the warning signs. To be accountable.

And to learn the power and freedom of the word “no”.

[Tim Tucker is a family man with 3 kids… committed to working out his faith within the African context as part of The Message. Tim has developed ‘The Leaders’ Table’ as a way of resourcing and connecting with emerging leaders in Africa… to check it out, click here]

[To read the story of Howard Fyvie and his Strength Weakness which is confidence, click here]

Martin Luther King Jr. penned the following words from the Birmingham jail, “I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

I recently turned 42 and have been following my savior and mentor, Jesus, for more than half of my life. This relationship started out with things pretty black and white. However, the more I get to know this Jesus, the more I honestly believe that he is into paradox. I am not sure how I missed his quote, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” for so long! However, this quote and my friend Brett’s idea behind a strength having the potential for being a weakness both fall into paradox which creates the tension that MLK Jr. so aptly described from his jail cell. The list of things I see as black and white these days is dwindling rapidly as I am embracing the narrative of tension.

So what is my strength that is also my weakness — or what is one of my strengths that is also one of my weaknesses? I almost actually typed out knowledge as my strength — but that would be very far from the truth! However, I do have a deep drive for obtaining knowledge. I want to know a lot about a lot so that I can make a deep impact for Christ. I believe that the more I learn about a problem the better equipped I will be able to solve it. There is certainly biblical backing for this. Mark 12: 30 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

However, if I am not careful with this strength it can so easily distract me from the relational aspect of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I can very easily bury myself in books and neglect just about every relationship I have. Moreover, it leads to dependence on me rather than God—if I know enough about this issue, I can resolve it and completely leave God out of the equation which in turn will lead to pride. Finally, knowing this is one of my strengths makes me want to focus on it because it is easy for me. And this takes me away from the areas of conflict in my life, which involves me stepping out of my introverted cocoon and entering the “nonviolent tension which is necessary” for me to grow. Jesus was most often about building relationships, and while I believe that having knowledge is important I believe it is paramount to be in relationship and community!

to see a different strength weakness where Bruce Collins talks about PEOPLE

There is a prompting in all our hearts to live a life of adventure this side of eternity. A most satisfying opportunity exists for those who can direct their personal call, gifts and strengths to reflect and respond to the glory of our Creator.

A consequence of the Fall is that most people are not aware of what their true giftedness is and have only a vague awareness of what their real contribution can be in the world they live. Further those who do become aware of their strengths face the challenge to steward them in a broken world where everything leans towards ‘self’ rather than the Community or Kingdom of God.

Anyone ever taken that Strength Finder 2.0 test? It’s quite interesting and worth the time. “Woo” came up as my top strength? Woo… what they heck is ‘woo’!? Well turns out it relates to ones ability to meet, connect and win over new people. This means you can throw me into whatever environment and I should be able to find my way just fine. I will say though this strength of mine has not yet been tested in the presence of terrorists or around people who like country music.

There are several challenged with the gift of ‘Woo’. Sometimes in my quest to win people over I gravitate toward the more influential or established in the room while overlooking the ‘least of these’. It makes us feel good to be in with the cool crowd and builds our self-esteem but Jesus is so about us spending time and energy with those that get lost in the crowd.

Seems everything good has an edge to it this side of eternity. There is valid reason why we are told to take up our cross daily. The cross brings us back to dependance and humility and the surrender of not only the bad but also the good in us which can so easily become corrupted. The enemy is all about perversion. He takes a good thing and distorts it.

I’ve found it valuable to make intentional time to learn about who God has made me and then to strive towards living out of that revelation. Recognition of the perversions of my strengths and sharing those with others like I have done today keeps them in check and disarmed from doing unnecessary damage.

May we always be continuing to fall forward and upward in our quest to live lives that reflect the glory of God.

for more from this wise and deep-thinking man, check out his blog Sit On The Porch over here

to read the EMPATHY Strength Weakness story of my friend Tshego go here

Inclusivity.

This is one of my biggest strengths although, lately, I’ve seen it as a weakness.

I’m the worship pastor at my church. I love Jesus, I LOVE worshiping Him with music and I love leading people in corporate singing worship. I feel like this is one of the things I’m called to do.

In the Vineyard movement we have a saying “everyone gets to play.” John Wimber coined this phrase. I love the heart behind this saying.

Ministry is not for the elite few. Everyone gets to do God’s work and “play” in His Kingdom.

In worship I try my best to include as many people as possible in leading our congregation in worship. I’m always working to “extend the tent pegs” and make space for more people to use their gifts to serve the Body of Christ. “The more the merrier.”

The weakness aspect for me comes in when I have to organise an event. For instance, I am coordinating the worship for our upcoming National Vineyard Leaders’ Conference and have been asked to lead worship (not only coordinate it). I have to put the teams together and as always I try to get as many people involved as possible. What I end up doing though, for the sake of being inclusive, is I often am the one to give up my “leading slots” in favour of including others. Then, by my own doing, I end up not leading at all and just coordinating in the background.

Why do I do this when I know like I know like I know that I’m called to lead?

I’m desperate to be inclusive and not have the “elite few” mentality and I NEVER EVER want to be seen as the “stage hogger,” but if I don’t do what I’m called to do (and have been asked to do) then I’m disobeying God and dishonouring my leaders.

Lately this has been a big struggle for me, because I want to keep growing in and practicing using my gifts, but I can’t do it if I put them on a shelf in favour of inclusivity.

I’ve realised that I need to find a balance. I need to find the happy medium between being inclusive and allowing myself to lead when I feel I need to.

Inclusivity is an amazing gift. I never want anyone to feel like an outsider so I live my life being as welcoming and encompassing as I possibly can.

The key is to be aware of the fact that if not used well, and with awareness, any strength could easily become a weakness.

to follow the words and wisdom of this lovely lady, visit her blog

to read more about my friend Dalene’s Strength Weakness of AMBITION, click here

I am hardcore. I nearly broke my hip skateboarding. I eat burgers with my hands and not a knife and fork. Spiders don’t freak me out. I can jump-start a car. I love hardcore music too – the likes of Underoath, Blessthefall, The Devil Wears Prada, and Pierce the Veil, I could eat for breakfast. I drink beer. My electric guitar is black.

I don’t lose my cool (if I do I chuck on my aviators). I am stubborn, perseverant, persistent. I don’t give up without a fight. I work hard. I get the job done. I don’t let on how I really feel. I don’t get over emotional. I’m not easily swayed in opinion. I’m always OK no matter what insults are hurled at me.

I am strong because I am hardcore.

Hard gives me an edge – it allows me to stand when things get tough, when the ground shakes a little. Hard lets me lead and make tough calls. Hard helps me carry on when I don’t feel like I can withstand another blow; I do. Hard allows me to support others when their foundations are crumbling – mine is strong, mine will stand. I am hardcore.

Hardcore. Hard core. Hard to the core. Hard. Core.

Walls are hard – they keep people in, keep people out. Fists are hard – riots, bar fights, broken bones. Streets are hard – you lose face when you fall and scrape skin against them. Here’s a wake-up call truth: hard does not mean strong. Some of the hardest trees are the most brittle. It is the soft wood that is flexible – it folds but doesn’t snap under pressure. Hard wood burns easier, burns faster – it does a good job at shedding light but burns out better too. Soft wood may be more difficult to set alight, but it burns steadier and longer.

Being hard makes me feel safe – untouchable. It’s a true feeling: I am untouchable when I am hard because no one can approach me, no one can come close to breeching the barricade around my heart. Being hard makes me feel in control – on top of things. Nothing is further from the truth; I have no control at all, and this is why I make myself hard. It’s more convenient to shut down on all levels than to admit that I haven’t the slightest clue how to navigate this life thing.

The problem is this: when you’re dealing with people, you’re dealing with hearts – hearts that have already been so battered by a hard world that they can hardly recognise any sign of compassion or love or even flexibility. You can’t be hard without crushing people in the process. You can’t expect to be hard without propelling hurtful shards into hearts.

Soft is hard too you know. In fact, soft is probably the hardest. Soft lets people in. Soft unnerves people. Soft disarms pretences. Soft is vulnerable and honest. Soft is teachable. Soft is compassionate. Soft loves. Soft shows that we are all equal in our quest to find truth and acceptance. Soft sees how Jesus would see. Soft is really hard.

So I’ll rephrase my first statement (despite the fact that it may now be a little long-winded): I am hard-outer-but-soft-core-as-I-allow-Jesus-to-guide-me-in-the-way-of-being-steadfast-and-unwavering-yet-yielding-to-the-work-of-His-hand-and-open-to-being-broken-by-a-world-that-needs-healing.

Shae Leigh Bloem has a blog that is definitely worth spending some time in

to see my good mate Bruce’s take on PEOPLE as his Strength Weakness read on

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