We Have Strengths…and Weaknesses

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“I’m right.  Of course it makes sense.  I wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t the best solution.”

Or at least that’s what I think in my mind sometimes.

And yes, I know how completely arrogant that sounds.  I wish I didn’t think like that, but sometimes I do.  My wife will be the first to tell you that my abrasive and overpowering personality has been the source of many conflicts.  I’ve tried to filter that personality more as I get older, but it still comes out in my speech at times, and I know that’s something I have to work on.

Earlier tonight, I finished reading a book by Florence Littauer entitled Personality Plus.  In the book, she walks us through the four different categories into which she groups all temperaments: Popular Sanguine, Powerful Choleric, Perfect Melancholy, and Peaceful Phlegmatic.  The book begins by having the reader take a personality test.  You receive a score in each category, with the sum total equaling 40.  The higher the score in a certain category, the more your temperament reflects those traits.  Here’s how my scores turned out (which I think are pretty spot on):

  • Powerful – 23
  • Popular – 8
  • Perfect – 7
  • Peaceful – 2

Let’s just say that my personality likes to dominate, and I don’t sit still much.  But that also means that I’m not very good at knowing how to interact with soft-spoken individuals, and patience doesn’t come easy for me.  Some of you may be thinking, “I wish I was more like that.  I could get so much more done!”  I promise there are just as many (if not a lot more) that are thinking, “Wow…I feel so sorry for your wife.”

This is not meant to be a book review (though I would recommend that you get it and read it…it really will help you understand yourself and others better).  However, there is one thing this book taught me that has a very deep, spiritual application.

No one category is better or worse than another.  They are just different.  We all tend to look at our own lives and wonder why people don’t see the world the same way we see it.  We naturally focus on our own strengths, but we conveniently overlook our shortcomings.  There are three things that each of us needs to realize in order to fully become what God designed us to be:

  1. We have strengths
  2. We have weaknesses
  3. God intended for it to be that way

God made us perfect just the way we are.  God didn’t make a mistake by making someone who is a natural leader but isn’t great at feeling someone else’s pain and heartache.  God didn’t make a mistake when he made someone who has a hard time being organized yet has a personality that could bring a smile to anyone’s face.  It’s for that reason that we need each other.  We can’t take on this world alone.  God’s genius is shown in the way he structured His church: “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body…But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body…Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” [I Corinthians 12:14-27]

May we never look at our lives and think that we don’t need anyone else.  When God made Adam, He didn’t look at him and think, “You’re absolutely perfect. You need no one.” When God saw he had need, He didn’t say, “Oh, well let me just tweak this little strand of DNA so you can stand on your own.” He gave Adam a family. We each have our strengths (even if you don’t think you do, you do).  We all have something we can contribute to the overall body of Christ.  However, never let an overinflated ego make you think you can do it alone because you can’t.  None of us can. We aren’t made that way.

We must recognize our strengths so that we can thank God for them and use them for the betterment of the kingdom.  But at the same time, we must recognize our weaknesses and accept the fact that not everyone can do everything on his own.  We all need help at times.  As the Lord’s church, let’s lean on and support each other so that we can become the most efficient and productive body of Christ that God intended for us to be.