I lie about who I am almost everyday … not in the blatant, immoral sort of way. But I lie to myself by trying to be someone that I am not.
I tell myself that I’m fine when I’m not. I tell myself that I can handle the stress of taking on one more thing when I can’t. Or I tell myself I’m good at something when I really need someone’s help.
If you have high expectations for yourself… if you tend to be a perfectionist…. if you are constantly trying to be stronger… to be better – you are not alone.
We need to start telling ourselves the truth.
Our culture gives us this unfortunate idea that we have to perfect ourselves. To truly be successful you need to eliminate all of your weaknesses. You need to hold your own. You need to keep it together. You need to be a completely well rounded person.
But how boring, really.
Being well-rounded is boring
Well rounded? To be well-rounded you need A’s in every subject. You need to be passionate about the arts but also the sciences, involved in music and sports. But what happens is that you become so well rounded that you’ve dulled down all the sharp interesting edges of who you are.
Growing up, I have my parents to thank for encouraging me to focus on my strengths, not my weaknesses. Rather than trying to be good at everything, I spent my time honing the skills that I had so I would be the best at what I did.
Math wasn’t my favorite subject, so my parent’s didn’t waste time trying to enter me into a scholastic decathlon. Instead, they encouraged me to write poetry and explore my love for history.
As a child, coordination did not come easily. So rather than laboriously bruising myself in countless sports, I stuck with music and played piano. It’s a talent that follows me to this day.
God didn’t make you well rounded. He made you different. Special. Unique. And just as our lives are to reflect God’s glory, our talents and skills can be used for His glory.
He chose us to participate in His glory
In Exodus 35, when God gave instructions for His tabernacle, He specifically required ornate detail and hand-crafted beauty. It took skilled hands to create this ornate place of beauty that housed God’s glory. And how incredible to think that God used His people to create His glorious space!
“All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded (Exodus 35:10).”
God is creator of all. He made this earth. He made the air that we breath, the dust we came from and the dust to which we will return. But rather than speaking the tabernacle into existence, He loved us so much that He used His people to create His glorious space and participate in His glory.
He used men in the trades of building and construction to build the frames, crossbars, posts, and bases. He needed seamstresses to sew the curtain to shield the ark as well as woven garments for ministering and sacred garments for priests. Blacksmiths must have pounded the lamp stand and bronze basin among the other items listed.
“See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts (Exodus 25:30).”
God actually filled this man, Bezalel, with His spirit as he crafted with his human hands, using his human skills to fulfill the Lord’s will.
Our talent is not our own. Our talent is for the glory of God. And He still chooses to use us today… you and I… with our unique differences and talents.
So what skills has God given you to harness, to share, and to use for His glory? Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on the ways God has gifted you and how you can share those talents with others.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10).”
By knowing where your area of expertise is, you can focus on those areas rather than spreading yourself too thin in a million directions. It keeps you from being overcommitted and drained. Rather than doing a half-job, you can do my best in the areas you are gifted and use your God-given talents for the glory of the Lord.
We need to work together as team
If you focus on your talents, if you develop only your strengths doesn’t that mean you’ll have weaknesses?!
Yes. That means you are not perfect at everything. You are going to fail sometimes. You have weaknesses. But that’s okay. You are not good at everything because not everything is your job.
Rewind to Exodus 25. It took more than one man to build the tabernacle (Exodus 25:29). Every Israelite who was moved participated in its construction. Some brought oils and spices. Some brought bronze to melt down. Some women spun with their scarlet yarn and fine linen. They worked together.
God didn’t intend for every person on their own to be superman. He created us to be in community… to be a team. And our weaknesses actually help us depend on one another, leaning on each of our unique gifts and talents as members of the Body of Christ.
Just as the tabernacle wasn’t built by one man, the church isn’t built by one believer. Our personal limitations remind us that our talents are not about us. We have gifts, but we also have limits. We need others. And we need Him.
When we work together, we realize we don’t have to be perfect at everything. Understanding our weaknesses actually makes us stronger. When we recognize our limitations, we find our God-given talents waiting within our boundaries and we find the power of working together as the Body of Christ.
“Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself? Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).”