Monday, September 5, 2011

Strengths and Weaknesses

For anyone who is expecting a college interview in the near future, this is almost certainly a question that will be asked- "In light of your own characteristics and achievements, what do you think are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?" If I was asked that out of the blue, I know I wouldn't always have an answer ready. In some aspects it would be easy to answer. I have strengths in playing soccer and tennis, weaknesses in swimming and floor hockey. I do well in English class but not French. But what if the topic turned to life outside of classes and sports?

Romans 12:6 got me thinking about the strengths and weaknesses God gave me as a person. "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us," the verse says. God gave me the talent and skill to be a soccer player, not a swimmer. He gave me gift of writing and expressing my thoughts in English, but also the opportunity to struggle in French. But what about the strengths and weaknesses He gave me as a Christian?

God gave us all different gifts. It is possible I have not found mine yet. But by looking at the social circles I'm a part of and the different activities and organizations I participate in, I have a feeling one of the gifts that God gave me is the way I can relate to a lot of different people. I can talk with other people and understand them when they talk about their lives. I share common interests with a lot of people and always try to be friends with whoever I meet. Maybe the reason God intended that was so I could try to share his message better with other people. People listen to others they associate with themselves better than they would listen to a complete stranger, after all. And the fact that I've gained the trust and respect of a certain group makes it easier for me to talk to them about other things, including God.

But that being said, I also have weaknesses that I have to deal with. If I'm a light for Jesus, then I am a candle that flickers constantly in the wind. I find that I try to please others too much, instead of focusing on just pleasing God. Sure, I can relate to others well, but sometimes it comes with the sacrifice of my morals or beliefs. I preoccupy myself with seeking people's approval and sometimes change myself in order to "fit in." There are a couple of verses in the Bible that talk about the importance of pleasing God, not man.

So it's kind of ironic that my strength and weakness are so closely related. Perhaps there is a reason for that as I go on with my life, making me doubly cautious with how I act. I think it's good to know your own strengths and weaknesses, in whatever you do. This is especially true in sports and academics as you are always striving to get better. To get that weak foot up to par, or to keep in mind your academic strengths and weaknesses so that you can choose an ideal career path. But it is also true with relationships and daily life. So let me turn around and ask you: what are the strengths and weaknesses that you think God gave you?

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