StrenghtsFinders and Paul

StrenghtsFinder is a popular and prolific little book. The gist is that you buy the book, take an online survey and then your results are given. The results come back in the form of your top five "strengths" that you act from when you are at your best. As we are constantly reminded how we don't 'measure up' to some standard, StrengthsFinder is a way to talk (as the authors say) "about what's right with people". 

What is interesting to me is the language of StrengthsFinder and the language of Paul in the Bible who talks about being made strong in and through our weaknesses. That is when we embrace the parts of us that are "weak" we can do more than though our "strengths". In part, because when we embrace our weaknesses we have to enlist the help of others and even God. And with this additional help we can do/be more than if we just used our strengths on our own. 

Too often however, we see weakness as something that we have to "work on" so that it is no longer a weakness. Like going to the gym. We work on our abs because they are weak in order to make them strong. When we view ourselves like some bodybuilders, then yes we can overlook our strengths because of the hyper-focus on weakness. However the call of the Christian life is not to make your weaknesses strong it is an invitation to embrace our weaknesses in order to break down the ego and pride that our strengths can over inflate. 

To spark a conversation about your weaknesses, here is a little parody site called, WeaknessFinder. My "weaknesses" came up as: confrontation, disjointed, antagonizer, antipathy and denial. 

Perhaps it is important to remember that in order to embrace one's weakness one must first have a healthy ego and sense of one's strengths. Just as unchecked strengths can over inflate the ego and pride, unchecked weaknesses can create unworthiness and shame. 

Know your strengths and embrace your weakness. 

*This is not a knock in StrengthsFinder. In fact I have taken the assessment and even encourage it as part of our leadership foundations course at the church I serve for the laity. It opens good conversation of our strengths and weaknesses. My five "strengths" are, strategic, ideation, activator, connectedness, and input.