As a young child, I can remember sitting for hours and watching music videos with my grandfather. We’d watch music videos starring all the greats: Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, George Strait, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, Shania Twain, and all the rest. My grandfather especially loved to listen to Martina McBride, and he always referenced her “God-given talent.” As a young child, I remember wishing that God had given me the talents he’d so graciously bestowed upon the beautiful Martina McBride. And while my love for music continues to grow well into adulthood, that musical talent I desired so much never fully panned out for me.
A few years ago, I completed a self-assessment for a college course in which I was enrolled. The self-assessment focused on finding and growing each person’s unique strengths. I was shocked to find that some of my strengths were utterly foreign to me, while others were personality traits that I always felt needed to be ‘toned down’ to reach the personal and professional growth I aspired to obtain.
As I reflected on the self-assessment findings, I quickly realized that I’d been so focused on identifying and refining my weaknesses that I’d completely overlooked my strengths. In fact, I’d focused solely on my weaknesses for so long that I’d actually mistaken my strengths for personality defects instead of seeing them as my own God-given talents.
The bible states that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
But how can we reach our greatest potential when we form to society’s expectation of identifying and overcoming strengths above identifying and growing strengths into talents?
For example, when your child brings home his/her report card, which indicates a 98 in math, 85s in social studies, science, and reading, and a 77 in writing, what do you truly see? In which subject do you then provide the most focus and discussion with your child? At one point, I would have answered that the C in writing now requires the most attention, but the truth is, the A in math is the area to focus. Clearly, math is a strength that needs to be nurtured and developed so that it may become a talent to one day serve God’s work.
This isn’t to say that the child should not still try to improve upon his/her writing abilities, but the main focus should be on the area in which the child is naturally talented. I’ll ask again, how can we reach our greatest potential when we form to society’s expectation of identifying and overcoming strengths above identifying and growing strengths into talents?
Since uncovering this truth, I have shifted my focus and energy to developing my strengths into talents. I still work toward building my capacity upon my areas of weakness, but my true focus is on continuously building my strengths into expert talents. I may not have the voice of Martina McBride, but God has provided me with the strengths I need to do the work that He intends to accomplish through me.
Today, I challenge you to take a moment and reflect upon the strengths you bring to the world. If you find that it is easier for you to list your weaknesses than your strengths, then it’s time to refocus on discovering the strengths God bestowed upon you. Your potential waits to be unlocked so that you might better serve the Kingdom of God.