Not only knowing where we fall short, but facing those flaws sets us free of the shame that can come with them. Yet there is so much more than being unhindered by our shortcomings! To have a life of whole health, loving what we get to do each day, begins with us taking ownership of our strengths as well.
I find it an interesting dynamic of our culture that we are simultaneously sending conflicting messages. “You can be anything you wish to be.” When we do, then we can hear: “Don’t get too greedy or dream too big because that robs from others.” Okay, maybe the messages are not that blatant, but think about it. We love the underdog, and often vilify the victors. But once the underdog wins isn’t he the victor? How confusing and fickle that approach is. No wonder our idea of confidence today has produced many people with a mindset of entitlement or unhealthy views of self.
I want that to be very clear as we discuss what it means to love and steward the strengths we have been given. You see the healthy expression of this isn’t actually focused inward, but on how those strengths we have been given can positively impact and influence those around us. Self care is at its core caring and tending to ourselves so we can proper steward what we have been given. What we are gifted in is precisely what we need to fulfill the passions we have in our hearts.
Once we discover what these gifts are, we can begin the process of digging in and developing them further. We are constantly growing, and what strengths we have can always expand, improve and increase as we focus and apply them in new arenas. I think to be truly comfortable with yourself it is the tension of both knowing your limitations and negative bents as well as continuing to press and push forward to see more come out of you. If our purpose was fulfilled on this side of heaven then breath would leave us. If you’re living and breathing, there is still purpose and value to the life you’re living.
To simplify, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves means we acknowledge we all have unique strengths and gifts. How we steward our own gifts helps us set an example and give others permission to step into their own strengths with reckless abandon. It isn’t that our journeys look the same, but that we encourage each other on to not settle in the traps of comfort and complacency.
The healthiest people I know in my life are always pressing toward a bigger vision and pushing themselves to grow to be a person big enough to help steward that vision. They see the need for others to make a vision happen and partner instead of isolate to get a job done. Our strengths are not just for us, though we do reap a reward for them. They are the key tools we have been given that no one else has that help unlock the puzzle in front of our community and sphere of influence to go into the greater days ahead.
Your strengths should be celebrated! They should set your heart at ease to the point you aren’t intimidated or threatened by the strengths of someone to your right or left, but encourage you that God made us to be one body. The strengths of another don’t diminish us, but lift us to new levels.
You are built on purpose and been given a very unique assignment. If that doesn’t make you feel loved, confident and encouraged there are some layers of healing still required. But don’t worry, healing comes in the framework of relationship and love.
You are worthy. You are loved… now use that to set you free to help others experience the same freedom.