Tag Archive: weakness


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

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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

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

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

Too Sensitive?

Is it possible to be too sensitive? For most of my growing up years, I was told that I was. It was usually after a fight with my mom, or after telling her about something a teacher or a friend said at school that mom was quick to say “are you sure you aren’t being too sensitive?” I hated it then just as much as I hate it now. It caused me a lot of pain when I was younger. Not only did I get hurt easily by my mom, friends, teachers, etc. I also thought that there was something innately wrong with how sensitive I was. I would often wish I could be more like others who were so confident and not so easily wounded. On top of that, I have dyslexia and an eye disorder that caused me to wear a patch in school. You can imagine how much fun kids had making fun of my poor reading skills and pirate costume every day!

Well, one of the things that I love about Jesus is his love for children. Remember how he said that a child would lead us?….having a daughter much like me has taught me to start seeing my sensitivity as a blessing.

My almost 13 year old daughter is wired much the same way as I am, with a very sensitive spirit. She is also dyslexic and has been getting teased a lot these past two years by peers. Recently, I caught myself telling her that she was too sensitive! I seriously felt pain in the pit of my belly as I heard those words come out of my mouth. I had to ask for forgiveness for doing to her what I had done to me. There are some things taking place in her life that are far too painful for a 13 year old to experience, and I realized that she needed to know that the way she is wired (her sensitivity), is exactly how God intended her to be. This is what I have been in the process of learning myself, as a 37 year old, so imagine if she can start believing this at such a young age! Imagine the pain that she could avoid and the strength she could carry to offer the world if she truly believed that her sensitivity is actually a gift!

I explained to my daughter how much pain our sensitivity can cause us if we aren’t anchored into the truth of God. If we base how we feel about ourselves on how others think about us, we will be tossed about in the turbulent waves of the ocean. I reminded her of when we are out fishing, we sometimes purposely don’t drop the anchor so we can drift until we start catching fish but if we aren’t careful to keep watch we may drift too far into a crab pot, another boat, or too shallow of water. But once we find fish and we drop the anchor, we will not drift away. We will stay anchored to the place we know that provides plenty of fish….. As it is with our anchoring to the Holy Spirit. When we know who we are in Christ and Christ in us, our sensitivity becomes to the things that are life giving, things that bring hope, light, love, joy, peace….

I shared with my daughter how I have found my sensitivity to be a gift. As a mom, I can see when my children hurt, as a friend I notice when there is need for a long talk and listen, as a nurse in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia, I am able to show love and compassion to women whose stories break my heart! But more than anything, my sensitivity is a God given gift to make me sensitive to God. I feel when I have distanced myself from God. I feel it when I have done something wrong that needs forgiveness. I cannot go on with life as usual if something is between me and God or between me and my family and friends. Isn’t the greatest commandment to love God and love neighbor? My sensitivity keeps me in check!

I have come to accept that I am “too” sensitive at times. I do get hurt easily, but I am much more aware of not hurting others and when I do, I am quick to make things right. My prayer is that the more that myself and Alexa are anchored into the Divine one, the more we will sense God’s love for us…the more we will love others…the more we will love each other. I am so thankful God gave me a child so much like myself. In many ways it has helped me to self-reflect and see the gift of what I once saw as a weakness. It may have taken me decades to figure out how to anchor this sensitivity thing, not that I have fully figured it out. I have learned that the scars created by my weaknesses are becoming beauty marks! By the grace of God, I know that I was made to be this way and it is a gift, not a curse!

[Lara M. Lahr RN. – head on over to Lara’s blog to read more of her wisdom and stories…]

to read the WOO factor Strength Weakness of my mate Rob Murray go here

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