Striding out from behind the thick curtain, you’re faced with thousands of fans cheering for you. Many cling to posters with your name surrounded by hearts. Can you feel the energy? It’s electric. Fog billows, stage lights zero in, confetti settles, and the crowds hush. They’re holding their breath, ready for you to do your thing.
What do you rock? (Or what could you rock if you owned it without shame or fear?) Today is about the strengths God has given you. Let’s break that down a bit.
Strengths. These are natural talents you’ve used and developed, whether you recognized you were doing so or not. Don’t get weird about it or overcomplicate it—strengths are just the things you do best.
God. You didn’t pick what you’d be good at, and it certainly wasn’t left to chance. The all-knowing, all-powerful Creator chose, and He never acts without purpose. God hand-picked the ways you’d be empowered for His kingdom. According to James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Has given. Your strengths are gifts to you, to those around you, and to the world. Just as you might teach your kids to take care of their belongings, you’re expected to honor the talents the Lord has blessed you with. Because you didn’t choose how you were wired, you can humbly accept God’s design and fully inhabit it.
You. These aren’t your mama’s strengths or your pastor’s strengths or your favorite author’s strengths. They’re yours. It’s okay to be great at something; it’s even healthy, as long as what you’re great at doesn’t dominate your soul. This is a gift, not a master. Own it, but don’t let it own you.
The concept of personal strengths has been distorted in two ways. In one direction, you have voices championing self-esteem, urging us to let our strengths define who we are. At the other end of the spectrum, there are voices crying out against pride so much that they expect you to leave your talents at the altar. Neither of these provides a biblical mindset. We are not the sum of our strengths—we’re children of God. We are not mediocre worms—we’re children of God. A healthy dose of gifting is part of our inheritance.
There are two free versions of how to objectively figure out your main talents: ask the people who know you well what they would consider your top three strengths, or take this test. (If you’d like the more popular evaluation, wait til Sunday: I’ll be including a book and a $20 online assessment as further resources.)
When you can crystallize the beauty in the way God has shaped you, you begin to get inklings of His hopes for you in this mission. But hiding your gifts under a rock for fear of looking proud or confusing your identity with your strengths won’t make a dent in this present darkness. Ain’t nobody got time for that! There’s much work to do, and we’ve been issued an invitation to use our talents for the glory of God.
One thing we’ll find as we travel this road to becoming ourselves: we are not our own. We belong to our Maker, and we belong to one another. My strengths, my story, my pain, my weaknesses—they’re for your benefit just as much as for mine. We really are fellow travelers, lending Jesus to one another and offering encouragement along the way. So let’s go rock this thing… together.