How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
It's good to stress our positives. However, it's often useful to consider our negatives, “opportunities for improvement.” Understanding our weaknesses, seeking ways to improve them, and “playing to” our strengths, can help us succeed in the areas of your life, progress in your Christian walk, and align ourselves with who God wants us to be.
A weakness is an area of your life in which you lack strength. You may often procrastinate and are always late for appointments. It can also be an undesirable quality in your character. You may be inflexible in dealing with others and always sarcastic. A weakness could also be an activity you can't resist, such as watching too much TV or overeating.
Recognize Your Weaknesses
The first step is to recognize your weaknesses and understand them. None of us are perfect. We are "perfect" in the eyes of God because we are his creations. But from a practical standpoint, we are far from perfect.
A good starting point is to take a sheet of paper and list what you perceive to be your weaknesses. List what quickly comes to mind. Brainstorm yourself. Ask a friend or family member for their perspective.
Next, select what you consider to be your top three weaknesses. Take some time to understand why you think they are weaknesses. You may discover they are not really weaknesses, and you need to make another selection. Write a sentence or two about each of the final three you've selected. How do you know these are weaknesses? Have others affirmed these are your weaknesses?
Be alert to negative thinking you might have regarding each weakness. Identify automatic negative thoughts that may prevent you from dealing with the weaknesses. For example, you might think "there's no way I can stop procrastinating" or "being late for appointments is just me."
Identify Your Negative Thinking
Once you understand the three weaknesses you want to address, and the negative thinking you need to change, ask yourself three questions. Why would I be excited about improving these weaknesses? What opportunities emerge when I do? How can I change these weaknesses into strengths?
Every weakness has a corresponding strength. Embrace your strengths, and build upon them. Consider the talents, abilities and strengths you have not mentioned as positives. Look at this as a time to consider what skills you need to improve, what training you need to take. What action steps you need to take.
Don't confuse mistakes with weaknesses. You may have made a mistake in your personal or professional life by exercising your greatest strengths, but that doesn't mean your strength is necessarily a weakness in disguise.
When you've explored the three weaknesses you chose to consider, ask yourself how they manifested themselves in your Christian walk? At our core, we all have a sinful nature with inborn areas of weakness. Revisit your list and choose weaknesses based on how they affect your relationship with God.
Remember, it's easy to focus on your weaknesses, especially if you are a "glass-half-full person." A good antidote for this ailment is to accentuate areas in your life where these weaknesses do not exist. You may be late for business appointments, but always on time for family functions. Celebrate those times and small successes, especially in your Christian walk.
In God's Words
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:26)
"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
Also read: 1 Chronicles 16:11, Matthew 25:15, 2 Timothy 2:22
In the Words of Others
"The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss."
Thomas a Kempis
"God's grace is at its best in weakness, so we need never fear our weakness. In fact, these weaknesses will determine in what way we shall glorify God for all eternity." Mother Angelica
In Your Words
Have you ever identified what you consider to be one of your weaknesses and brainstormed how to turn it into a strength?
Have you ever confused mistakes you made with natural weaknesses? Recall the circumstances and your reaction at the time.
Recall any negative thinking you've had about your weaknesses and your ability to overcome them and change them?
What weaknesses have made your Christian walk more difficult? What can you do to change that?