Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Last week, a blog friend asked me to share something from the Women of Faith Conference I attended earlier this month.

I already entertained you with the story of "my fall" - ("I've Fallen - But I Will Get Up" dated Monday, September 20th - in case you want to go over there and get a chuckle or two - it's OK, I laugh at it now, too!)

The second speaker on Friday morning was Marcus Buckingham. Marcus has several books out (check him out on Amazon - I've got a gadget over there on the sidebar!). Marcus spent nearly two decades as a senior researcher at the Gallup Organization. He is THE consultant for people and companies who want to leverage their strengths.

He was an awesome speaker. He was witty, informative, and challenging...and a wonderful Christian man.

He started his "talk" with a very interesting question -

How do you understand God's will?

Then he posed a second, related question -

Which do you think will make your life better?

Building on your strengths or fixing your weaknesses?

Hmmm...interesting, huh?!

Marcus proceeded to share with us (an arena of about 9,000 women) several polls responding to that second question.

In country after country, across the board, male and female, young and old - it seems that people thought their lives would be better if they could fix their weaknesses!

Then Marcus asked this - WHY aren't we playing to our strengths?!

He used this verse from Scripture to illustrate his point: "God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect." (Psalm 18:32)

Ponder this, he challenged...What's YOUR perfect way?

We are each born with strengths, desires, talents, and abilities that are UNIQUE!

It is God's WILL that we use our uniqueness, our strengths, to honor and serve Him.

Why don't we?

Marcus pointed out that we tend to take our strengths for granted. We also tend to fear our weaknesses more than we honor our strengths. And somehow, uniquely for the Christian, we somehow don't think it's RIGHT to "play to our strengths."

WHY do we believe that?

Scripture makes a different perspective clear in 1 Corinthians 12:

"A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other...It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have."

The problem comes when we think these strengths, these abilities, these talents and gifts, are of OUR OWN DOING.

That's when PRIDE rears its ugly head!

And we all know, PRIDE is the big “no-no” sin – it was the reason for Satan’s rebellion, it was the reason for humanity’s “FALL.”

But is it just possible that the “enemy” is perpetuating another subtle lie?

Does he not want to render us weak, defeated, discouraged…ineffective?

So, what does God’s Word have to say about it?

“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 6:14)

“As the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
(2 Corinthians 10:17)

AMEN to that…

So, what’s a proper way to look at our strengths, abilities, talents, and gifts?

1) They are gifts from God
2) They should be developed and used, not hidden
3) They should be surrendered to the Lord, to be used for His purposes
4) We must have the attitude of servants
5) We should not be proud – but neither should we deny the power of the
Holy Spirit to work THROUGH us
6) Satan is actively working to keep our spiritual strengths ineffective
7) God wants us to take ourselves seriously and to play to the strengths
HE has given us

God made YOU uniquely YOU…and He has a purpose, and a mission, just for YOU!

Be strong in His power – “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Do you play to your weaknesses or strengths?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Greetings Sharon -

    I know that without Him, I can do nothing. For it is in Him that I live, and move and have my being. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.

    John 5:30 (KJV)
    The Acts 17:28 (KJV)
    Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

    Our Father is the Creator, the Master Builder, The Architect, the Engineer, and the Designer.
    If we do according to His plans, all shall be added to us as is stated in Matthew 6:33 (KJV).

    Also, we are instructed to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10 - KJV)

    May GOD help us all...

  2. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for sharing this insightful post, it gave me lots of good things to ponder. I think we're conditioned to focus on our weaknesses because society honors perfection. And even though this is unrealistic, we are led to believe that we can achieve it; if we pursue it. Beautiful skin, hair, eyes, lips, figure, clothes, car, and home are just a few of the objects used in the constant message that get us striving for what eludes; our self image.

    Perhaps the reason some athletes excel while others do not is their ability to focus on their strengths.

    Yes, I too declare, The joy of the Lord is my strength.

    Blessings and peace.


  3. Sharon, I enjoyed the insights you shared from your conference. Too often I'm focused on my weakness and why I can't do a thing. Love the verse he uses to illustrate the fact that if I have a strength it's only through God. And, if my strength is coming through Him why not focus on God. I think he's discovered another subtle trick the enemy has been using to render us ineffective in kingdom building. Thanks for sharing, you've given me so much food for thought.

  4. thanks with this info from your conference, Sharon. I never looked at the spiritual gifts God gave to me as my strengths; learned something new here today :) But you know when we use the gifts God gave us that's usually when we are the most "content" with our lives or at least certain areas of our lives and when we struggle, it is those things that are our weakness. So it makes perfect sense what the speaker said and what you expounded on. But you are right, must always give the honor to God for the strengths he has given us and not to let our pride get in the way.

    I bet the whole conference was very good!


  5. Wonderful lesson from the conference and one that I'm personally struggling with a great deal right now. I tend to worry about my weaknesses rather than honor my strengths. It's not only that I go about obsessing over the weakness, either. I go about apologizing for it/them. (Sometimes I do it in jest... shouldn't suprise you, right?) But what this post reminds me is that being self concious of those weaknesses is STILL "self concious".

    I also need spiritual guidance as to how to surrender the strengths and be used better through them.

    Rambling here as usual, but this post makes me think out loud. This is clearly a prayer needy topic for me.

  6. Sandra - Great, great words from His Word. Thank you for sharing them. I especially appreciated this one (from Acts 17:28): "For in HIM we live and move and exist..." He is TRULY our all in all. The One who is worth everything...GOD HELP US ALL! AMEN!

    MTJ - Very insightful. I never thought about the fact that focusing on weakness has something to do with perfectionism. Hmmm...I think you really hit on a truth there. And that "pursuit" of perfection keeps us "striving" for things IN OUR OWN POWER. I got Marcus' book - will have to read it sooner than later. Thank you, too, for the insight about successful athletes - I think they also excel because they never take their eye off their goals. Our goal is to glorify God, and to spread the word of His Good News. Like Paul, we must run that race with our eyes on Jesus, always depending on HIM for our strength.

    Wanda - Thanks for your thoughts. Marcus was really, really good. I liked what you pointed out - our strengths come from God. We should focus on opening ourselves in obedience, and letting HIM work through the gifts His Spirit has given us. This removes us from the pitfalls of pride, but also releases us from constantly focusing on our weaknesses and inabilities. (And I agree, the "enemy" is so subtle). I have more to "chew on" also...

    Betty - Yeah, Marcus really taught me a lot, too. I couldn't agree with you more - I also feel most "content" when I am doing what God has given me to do. Marcus also pointed out that our "weaknesses" are those things that drain us (even if we're good at doing them) - while our "strengths" are the things that energize us. I think that is also part of this whole issue. We need to learn what God's purpose is for us - and those will be the things that make us feel like we're "in the groove!!"

    Debbie - Oh AMEN! I am really struggling with these issues, too. I have struggled with rejection/self-esteem issues all my life, it seems. I'd like to think that I had a better "handle" on this stuff by the age of 56 - but it still plagues me. I, too, sometimes use my "self-deprecating" sense of humor to poke fun at my "weaknesses" - but it's still SELF - conscious, as you said.'s just so hard to die to self. Even when we think we're not being proud, but that we're being "humble" -
    Let's support each other in prayer on this one...I know I need God's help to have an honest evaluation of myself...
    (p.s. Marty could change your mind about dogs - he's just THAT SWEET!! And yes, Deb - I am so glad that God "scooped us up!")

    I really appreciate you guys - it's so good to "hash out" things with you. You bring such interesting and helpful insights to me.

    A verse from my one-year Bible reading today: "And I am certain that GOD, who began the GOOD work within you, will CONTINUE his work until it is FINALLY finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6)


  7. This is SO good and So timely! I definitely spend way too much time focusing on "fixing" my weaknesses. Thank you for sharing this! Such good stuff to ponder on as God continues to encourage my heart...that He made me, He gave me my personality, and He made no mistake in how He made me! BUT He also made me to be FILLED with Him! Only then will I truly live a life that brings Him glory.

    Great big hugs to you!
    K :)

  8. Sharon,
    Thanks for sharing from the conference! This was so powerful. I, too, said that life would be better if I "fixed my weaknesses." I am pondering "playing to my strengths" (bigtime)! If I've seemed "out of commission" I pretty much am! Schedule all of this week's posts, then left town. Not even answering comments--just got back from an unexpected trip to Mexico for 3 days. (I'll be posting on that soon.) I'd appreciate your prayers this week--Thanks!

  9. Wendy - No explanations necessary! Always glad to hear from you.
    I bought Marcus' book, will have to read it and perhaps do a blog or two on what else I learn! He was sure good - and his message meant a lot to me, someone who struggles with self-esteem issues!
    You sound busy!! Hang in there, and know that I'm thinking of you!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)