When someone is applying for a job position or being interviewed, one of the most common questions asked is: “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” Honestly, some of us cringe when we see that question because you are literally given a brief few minutes to talk about yourself- crazy right? The spotlight is now on you and it’s time to highlight what makes you unique, qualified or special. For me, I begin racking my brain trying to figure out what I’m good at. I know myself well, obviously, so I can start listing my strengths such as: public speaking, taking care of kids, organizational skills etc. Sometimes it feels awkward to do that. For some, it’s no big deal. Why are we asked that question in the first place? Well for starters, if you are going to apply for a job, you are hopefully anticipating being able to positively contribute to an organization. They are looking for attributes in you that make it easy for the organization to trust you, and ultimately, they want to know if you should represent them. It is also a time for them to get to see who you are. It is those strengths that begin to shape you- and that is key to understanding your purpose.
Strength is interesting, because it can mean a lot of different things. It could mean the things you are good at or gifted in, it could mean how much weight you can lift or how much muscle you are able to gain, and it can also mean your ability to adapt to or overcome physical and emotional adversity. These are all good things that become important in shaping who we are, what our goals are, and our outlook on life. I have come to realize that there is an importance to knowing your strength- no matter how awkward it may be to recall all of those things that make you a candidate for success. Ultimately, our strengths are given to us by a Creator who knew we would have them before we were even conceived. He is the author of and spitting image of strength. This makes strength a topic worth talking about. A lot of the time though, we do not just wake up one day and determine what our strengths are. It is all a part of a journey- unique to each one of us. We set goals for ourselves to achieve, and day by day we overcome weaknesses that stand in our way. We climb up ladders, and each level that we place our foot on is a new step that goes up. We can lose our footing when we lose sight of our goals and our focus shifts. We get distracted, angry, annoyed, bored and literally exhausted. But that feeling when you regain your footing and keep pushing forward- that is what strength is. And this is what makes us value true strength in the first place- it makes the journey worth it.
So, the opposite of strength- weakness- tends to be one of the most despised human attributes in our society today. This is a real problem because it is believed that if one is weak in some type of way, they cannot contribute to society- thus immediate devaluation ensues as well as the “suck it up, pick yourself up and dust yourself off” mentality that discourages so many. It is true, we need to push through our struggles and embrace the fact that what we want, cannot always be handed to us. But it takes some serious work ethic to overcome issues. Realistically, everyone has some type of weakness because we are human. Believe it or not, the most “successful” people in our world may seem like they are on TOP of the world, but it took overcoming fear, competition, self-doubt, financial climbs and other barriers for them to get to the place that they are. It can be an uphill battle when it comes to finding your strength- but I believe that is exactly how God planned it to be. How else would we truly appreciate the strengths that we have if we did not have to fight to get there? It is a journey.
What is important to remember is this: to know your strength and know who it comes from, makes you strong. No matter what kind of strength you are talking about, it is given to you from the Creator of all things. And those endeavors that you undergo, they are put there in order to ensure that you grow. It may just seem like an inconvenience or unfortunate event- but it is so much more. It is common for this kind of optimistic view to be dismissed because it seems unrealistic. Life is hard- there is no getting around that. But when you have internal and external strengths that equip you to fight hard, you are able to see your problems as lessons rather than just stumbling blocks. So, it’s important to walk with confidence. If you need help, seek it. If you need to cry out to God because you just cannot handle it, do it. But don’t give up. Embrace your God-given strengths and use them. After all, they point to your personal journey that just could end up touching someone else. Be encouraged.
Isaiah 40:28-31 emphasizes comfort for God’s people:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Ultimately, our strengths are given to us by a Creator who knew we would have them before we were even conceived. He is the author of and spitting image of strength.