A sweet seven year old blondie sat stunned in her desk chair of the second grade classroom. With a huge bow in her hair perfectly color coordinated to the cute little outfit her mother handmade just for her, she couldn't understand why her teacher snapped at her so. All she did was ask a simple question. All she did was speak her mind. A heart full of curiosity and joy almost...almost...crushed.

This sweet seven year old was me. Though I was a good student and tried my best to please my teachers what often got me in trouble was my mouth. I am a talker. Always have been. Always will be.

As years passed on, God showed me how to use my mouth, my thoughts, my encouragement to speak to others (whether in groups or individually) by sharing my heart and God's Word. But this gift of gab, a personality strength of mine, can also be a weakness. I'm often quick to speak and slow to listen as I miss out on crucial details and points of concern that might help me better understand or communicate with others. I'm also often quick to accidentally stick my foot in my mouth as I say things before I think them through. These weakness keep me up at night when I agonize over why this mouth of mine often gets me in a bit of trouble.

I love how, as individuals, God crafted us with unique personality traits and strengths. Some of us are natural leaders. Some of us are adept at organization and can keep track of fine details. Some of us are connectors who love networking. Some of us are nurturers who look toward helping others.

Often times these strengths can be the very things that get us in trouble, though. They can be our greatest weakness. But I don't think this is by accident. I don't think God crafted our strengths and just happened to notice our weaknesses long after. Ever fiber or our body, ever tweak of our character, every trait of our personality (for good and for well...not so good) is by the grace of our Creator. Today, I'm choosing to embrace this weakness as an opportunity to give God the open door  to use my strength for His glory for His plan and for His purpose. The weak side of my personality trait helps to keep my pride in check if I ever allow myself to believe I have it all down pat. This weak side keeps me humble when I think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread after saying or writing something really "profound."

As the Apostle Paul confesses about his own weakness –– what he calls a "thorn in his flesh," we are encouraged to embrace our God-given strengths even if they are weaknesses.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. {2 Corinthians 12:8-10}

For me, as I use my mouth, my voice, to share God's Word and encourage others, this very strength/weakness is ever more effective when I step away from my own words and look to God to show me what to speak or how to say it. For you, in your strength/weakness, this is an opportunity to enrich your personality  in order to live out your life and your faith with more impact pointing to the One who endows us with beautiful traits and qualities.

 

I am so grateful that the sweet little second grader didn't allow the sharp words of one person to quell her passion for words. Though it is not easy to face the weakness, it is important to recognize it in order to give room for God to do His work through me. May we not allow our weaknesses to discourage our strengths. Take time today to seek God asking how we might allow Him to take that strength and weakness to further His Kingdom. It is through our beautifully crafted, God-given traits and qualities that we relate to others, serve others, love others.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment, let's chat...