Tag Archive: strength weakness


People.

I love people. That is how I am wired. I want to be with people. I want to love people. I desire to be deeply immersed in living life with others in way that hands get dirty and hearts get broken.

I don’t always get it right but do feel that God has enabled me to do these things: to love unconditionally, to embrace without judgement, to listen, to discern ways out or ways in and to walk in the mud and mire with others, holding their hands, taking them to the Rock.

This love for people, though, can so easily become an addiction. My desire to love, embrace, listen, discern, walk in mud, hold hands and point people to Jesus can so easily turn into a popularity drive with me in the lead vehicle.

You see, I want to please you. I want you to like me. More than anything, I want your approval. I want you to see me. I want to be your saviour. Yes, you read correctly. It’s that bad. See how easily that strength can become a twisted, self-seeking monster that does not bring glory to Jesus?

These days, it’s less of a battle than it used to be. For more than 20 years now, I have engaged this colossus, eye to eye and sword to sword. I have learned to find my worth in Jesus and to listen only to the safe people who love me enough to encourage AND admonish me. I have learnt to run from false humility, saying thank you for valid and sincere compliments. I have learnt to love myself and I have learnt that your opinion doesn’t really matter. While you might be a great person, all humanity is fickle. There is only one constant and that is Jesus. He loves me: completely; unconditionally; sufficiently.

This realisation frees me up, once again, to love, embrace, listen, discern, walk in mud, hold hands and point people to Jesus.

catch more of this blogmaestro at his main blogging spot here or his father and daughters one here. [They are both worth the weight of a really heavy thing, in gold]

to read about my friend Lara and her Strength Weakness of SENSITIVITY go here

Ambition: the dark side, the light side

Dalene Reyburn

I suffer from various Double-Edged Personality-Strength disorders. If you’re human you probably do too. ‘Cause your greatest strength is always what most quickly becomes your greatest weakness. For now, I’ll just ‘fess up to one.

I have Ambition, which has led to a secondary infection known as Competitiveness.

There are a number of different strains of the Ambition Virus, so it’s important that I clarify. I’m not Lady Macbeth. I’m also not the girl who wants to sleep her way into the boardroom. Or earn more than her husband. In terms of my Competitive condition, I won’t sulk if our volleyball team doesn’t beat yours at church camp, and I don’t immediately accelerate if someone passes me on the highway.

Doctors sometimes struggle to identify my strain of Ambition, because it hides in healthy-looking cells and the symptoms can even manifest as bursts of startling wellbeing. This is because Ambition is essentially good, if managed. Left unchecked it goes, well, viral.

My Ambition is what drives me to keep on becoming everything God made me to be. Even when I was very little, I was aware of this Thing in me always pressing me – calling me – to be more. As I grew up so did my understanding. I committed to living as fully as I knew how. For as long as I’ve known my sort-of grownup self, I’ve had an overriding-undergirding desire to live out – out loud, outside of myself – all the best bits of me that God has stuffed into my DNA. I’ve tried to develop the gifts and hack out the lousy sinful bits.

Sounds good, right? Pretty damn spiritual.

But:

The virus becomes dangerous when two things happen.

  1. My ego, feeding on the outworkings of God-given strengths, becomes more important than God’s glory.
  2. Things don’t happen as quickly as I’d like them to, in the direction of my dreams.

So lately, I’ve been self-medicating on Scripture and other sort-it-out suppositories.

My treatment is still in the experimental, non-FDA-approved phase because I’m not completely cured. I suspect that this side of eternity I can only hope for some kind of long-term semi-permanent remission with daily antiretrovirals.

Still, if I were to write out a course of treatment for other Ambition sufferers, it might look something like this:

Take two capsules of Reality Check. It’s not about you. Whatever your strain of Ambition, channel it into Kingdom purposes. You are nothing more than dust-to-dust transience. Any enduring impact you hope to have can only be in reflecting God’s glory and making him famous.

Inject yourself daily with Now. Enjoy the present. Don’t only crave future possible (or impossible) successes. Love the work (today) not the result (hopefully tomorrow). Celebrate the process.

With the Now, take a double dose of Trust. God knows what he wants to do with your talents. He gave them to you. It’s in his interests to position you perfectly for his Kingdom purposes. Leave it to him. ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honour.’ (1 Peter 5:6)

Cut out all forms of Worry. Don’t let it get to you when people are dismissive or condescending – when they won’t admit that you have what it takes. ‘The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.’ (Exodus 14:14) Don’t stress out about proving or defending yourself. If and when the time is right God will blow your trumpet. Loudly, for his glory.

Rest. Don’t keep checking the progress of strangers or friends. There will always be people behind and ahead of you. Your journey is your journey.

Swallow all the Right Thinking you can. ‘Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.’ (Romans 12:3) So don’t be arrogant. But back yourself. Fail forwards. Risk.

To get rid of the excruciating pangs of jealousy that sometimes beset Competitive and Ambition sufferers, find ways to celebrate others’ victories. Brag about how awesome they are.

Like, I’m bad at a lot of things (like cake decorating, and finding my way out of public toilets. Seriously. So many cubicles. So many mirrors.) But I’ve always known I can write. I’ve always known I can teach. I get jealous when other people are doing just that – so flippin’ well – in the kind of forum I would totally love. I get all feverish with Ambition and Competitiveness when I think about it. I go, ‘She has so many followers on Twitter. He has so many invitations to write and speak.’ The thing that kicks my jealousy in the teeth every time is giving these people the shout out they deserve. Spreading the love. Because, again, it’s about the Kingdom. Not me.

So I’m praying for me (and I’m praying for you):

Jesus, I find this stuff so overwhelming, because I’m terrified I don’t see it in myself. Help me to hold the gift of my strengths carefully, in open hands. I don’t want to clutch them to myself and squash them out of their intended shape. Help me remember that you have plotted out a little patch of Kingdom garden for me to tend. That I can surrender to your agenda because you hold all of time. Show me the me-shaped spaces in the world that you have prepared for me to fill. In your way. In your time.

(Dalene blogs here and here.)

[for more on Steve and his Strength Weakness of Knowledge, click here]

My Strength as a Weakness

If you were asked to define the word sympathy, you would probably say it’s the act of feeling sorry for someone. You have heard of something bad or sad happening in someone elses life and acknowledge that it is in actual fact bad or sad and you feel for the person going through that situation, and you would probably be right…

What if you were asked to define empathy? Hmmm, good one… What does empathy mean? Well I have literally spent most of my life trying to figure and live that out… Why? Well, because believe it or not, empathy happens to be one of my strengths – seriously!! Empathy can be a strength? Yes! I had no idea but I found out a couple of years ago, and although I wasn’t surprised (it was part of my personality, I had grown with it, so I knew it all along) how could it possibly be one of my strengths? Aren’t strengths supposed be cool.. Like ambition and determination and passion, you know things that make you BIG in life…? Apparently not, even the so called “softies” can be included as strengths too.

So I’m empathetic, and it’s considered to be one of my strengths (I’m a people’s person – what can I say?) but I have also recently discovered that if not well managed, this incredible strength can become a weakness (like any strength really) and I am evidence of that.

Just in case you don’t already know it, being empathetic means you can relate to a person’s situation. You not only feel sorry for them, but you actually feel what they feel; you can actually put yourself in their shoes. It’s an emotional connection and it can be very effective, especially when counseling people. Usually, you can put yourself in their situation and walk the journey to “recovery” alongside them. However, when the feelings overpower you to the point of incapacitation, you are no longer effective. You become so wrapped up in the emotions, that you are suddenly the victim
in need of counseling, on something that you are feeling through someone else.

And that is my strengths weakness, I get so caught up in the emotions, I am unable to help the person out of what they are currently facing. It can get so bad, that I have let the scenarios cause insecurities and fear and complacency. Eventually, causing me a great deal of frustration, while leaving me in a rut, one I don’t seem to get out of easily, even though the person it initially affected has moved on. Now imagine that happening with every scenario I come across, with every person I meet, every person going through a tough time., that’s enough to hold me back for a life time!

So how do you strengthen the weak side of your strength (we aren’t perfect and we certainly do not have it all together, but we can work on it)? Well, it’s all about steering that strength in the right direction. It’s about understanding it and controlling it instead of it controlling you. Take passion for instance. Some people can be so passionate, their drive, if not well managed, can cause others to feel intimated and see the as over-confident, arrogant and annoying. Someone who’s a bit of a perfectionist, can come across as bossy and self obsessed.

But when you become aware of the weak side of your strength, you can work on strengthening it. So instead of being in everyone’s face and driving them crazy about how much you love music and it’s arrangement, for instance, you could use that passion, that enthusiasm to train others, not to tell them what to do and how to do it, but helping them gain the passion and enthusiasm for their own musical journey. It means seeing the potential in others and nurturing it until they are capable of acknowledging it and striving to improve it.

And so it is with every strength. My empathetic nature overwhelmed me. Ultimately, it means, putting ourselves aside, cause that’s when a strength is successful, when we’re putting the needs of others ahead of our own, using the very traits that make us, us!

This means that you have not only understand your strengths but also the weaknesses behind them. In my case, I have to embrace the feelings I experience from different people’s situation, but I cannot let them overwhelm me. I cannot let them take over my thinking, I cannot let them rule… I need to rule them.

check out Tshego’s crazy show page [i met her when she was radio djing a show and she dangerously invited me to come vibe] for more on this crazy, passionate woman…

carry on reading for my friend Sharné’s Strength Weakness of INCLUSIVITY

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