Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.
– Frances De Sales
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you will acknowledge your strengths and downplay your weaknesses, you will discover a clear image of yourself and how you act, react, and interact with others. By concentrating on your strengths they will increase and grow stronger.
- Give you the gifts that you can share with others.
- Give you options.
- Make you the great woman you are.
The goal is to identify, accept, and highlight your strengths. According to the authors of Now Discover Your Strengths, “You need to become an expert at finding and describing and applying and practicing and refining your strengths. Suspend whatever interest you may have in weakness and instead explore the intricate detail of your strengths.”
Scripture instructs us to build their strengths. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2, NIV). When you identify your personal strengths, you will learn how to build on them and enjoy the freedom God wants for you.
Janet Davis in The Feminine Soul says, “In Christian circles, we sometimes hesitate to speak confidently about the wisdom of God within, wrongly equating self-doubt with humility. Could it be that Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 31) is inviting us to a new, bold awareness?”
Some single moms consider difficulties as if life has been cruel to them and something has gone terribly wrong. They think of themselves as victims. Others manage to see difficulties as a challenge to be overcome. It is important to accept that life is a series of events that are often troublesome and hard to cope with. It isn’t easy. Easy, however, never propelled anyone into a growth pattern. Easy does not encourage effort and certainly does not demand diligence. In The Adversity Advantage, Paul G. Stoltz says “Adversity happens. It doesn’t play favorites, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Pain, fear, discomfort, and injustice are far more powerful motivators than their opposites.”
When I found myself divorced with three young children, I was terrified. I yearned for simple answers to help me make decisions. During the years following my divorce my strengths were forced into action. They were stretched, exercised, and developed. I was fully aware of my weaknesses. They glared me in the face, but it was my strengths that kept me going. I was able to take on challenges, meet new experiences head-on, and enjoy life.
Eric Weihenmayer, the world’s leading blind athlete and the only blind person in history to scale the Seven Summits, says:
Let adversity be the flame in which your strengths are forged. . . . Use adversity to help you grow entirely new strengths and sharpen existing ones. . . . Just as you can develop strengths through adversity, you’ve also got to be able to use them best when adversity hurts the most. . . . Confront the brutal truth about what you currently are and are not good at in the face of your highest aspirations, as well as what strengths you …need to build in order to get where you want to go.
I was stronger than I realized and could do more than I’d ever dreamed.
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S’more to Consider
– Identify your three most serious adversities and list according to importance.
– Next to each one write the steps you have taken to address solving it.
– Identify your three most significant strengths.
– Write ways you can use your strengths to deal with the adversities.
© Gail Cawley Showalter