What Benefits Are There in Knowing Your Strengths and Finding the Courage to Step into them?
By Suzie Zanewich and Blossom Turner
Today we are going to share two short stories of our own life in order to convince you how important it is to know what your strengths are and encourage you to step into them. We all tend to think we need to work on our weaknesses, but we are going to spin that on its head and suggest the opposite. Concentrate on your strengths and leave your weaknesses to God. Here's why…
I worked as an office manager in an orthodontic office for 15 years. I believed I would work there until retirement. Being that this was years ago our office was not computerized, but we did have a word processor. (At that time, a word processor was a stand-alone device for storing information. Today, this process is done using a computer program i.e. Microsoft word.) I struggled and found the word processor nearly impossible to learn. Because I was so technically challenged, I truly believed I couldn't learn anymore. I thought my days of learning new things were over.
God prompted me to take the Clifton top 5 strengths assessment and I was shocked to discover that learning is one of my top 5 strengths. How could this be? The test had to be wrong. But as time went on a truth emerged…I could learn amazing things and I loved it. When I gravitated to psychology, child development, human behaviour, self-discovery, emotional healing and Christianity, I excelled. Learning was easy. God revealed that my mistake was working in a orthodontic office, grappling with technology when I was to be concentrating on learning all I can about people. He was preparing me to do what I do now…a life coach, helping others realize their goals and potential. I had been trying to learn things that weren't in alignment with who God created me to be. How amazing to learn we succeed far beyond what we give ourselves credit for when we operate within our God-given strengths.
We will answer these questions but first, here's Blossom's story…
I started grade one having never gone to kindergarten or preschool. All the other children knew their numbers, colors, and alphabet. I knew nothing. My first-grade teacher way back in 1966 placed us in rows from the most intelligent to the least intelligent. Yup, you guessed it, I was in that last spot. I started off believing I was a slow learner and because of a traumatic home situation where my self-worth was continually knocked down that narrative continued. Even in grade 12 when I had made the honor roll for all of my high-school years, I still believed I would not amount to much.
As an adult, I continued to put limitations on myself, but as I grew in the Lord and had the encouragement of my husband, I began to branch out…try new things. No matter what I wanted to do…my husband's answer was always yes, go for it. At 24, I became a mother (my most difficult and rewarding endeavour ever). At 30, I took up piano. (Never did that well but I enjoyed it. Not sure my family did though. LOL.) At 40, I learned how to ride a motorcycle. (Loved it!) At 42, I went back to school and became a person trainer. In a classroom of 20-year-olds and being the oldest by far, I was one of three out of 40 that passed the exam. I had the highest mark in the class at 96 percent. This blew me away. Still, I was surprised. At 50, I attended my first writers conference and set out on a quest to learn everything I could about writing. I had known for a long, long, time I loved to write, but never believed it possible. Today, at 60 I have six published books, and published short stories, newspaper articles, and devotionals. I will never stop learning or writing as long as God gives the strength. I love, love, love it.
I tell you all this to encourage you to jump into your strengths, the talents God has given you. Give your dreams back to God. He placed them in your heart and knows where He wants to take them. Don't limit yourself like I did for years. Ask God to remove the negativity and fill you with thoughts about yourself that line up with what He believes about you. I know this works because I had to do a lot of praying to find the courage to follow my dreams. It was so hard for me to sit in that classroom with 20-year-olds, or fly down to California for a writer's conference, not knowing a soul. But God…He gives strength. In Isaiah 40:31 He promises "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." These are powerful words of truth that I keep tucked in my pocket when I set out on a new adventure and God has fulfilled every jot and tittle of this verse time and time again. If He did that for me, He will surely do it for you.
But first, you must know what your strengths are. If you are like Suzie and not sure, then the Clifton assessment will narrow down your top 5 strengths and give you a really good place to start.
https://store.gallup.com/p/en-ca/10108/top-5-cliftonstrengths (This is the assessment for the Clifton top 5 strengths. It is well worth the cost of $ 28.00.)
If you are more like me and know what you love but don't believe in yourself, then I recommend memorizing Isaiah 40:31. Then step out of the gray into the light of day. Believe that you are uniquely and beautifully made by a Creator who loves you immensely. Then get ready for a wild adventure.
We would love to hear your story. Please leave a comment.
On October 11th my fifth book in the Shenandoah series will be launched, Jeanette's Gift. Check out the back cover copy at blossomturner.com This story is near and dear to my heart because it tells the story of a woman who did not see herself as God sees her. She believes God has forgotten her. She struggles with self-worth. A woman much like I was. She has stopped dreaming. Her journey to a place of healing and confidence is based on the truth of God's word and a message I believe many woman will be encouraged by. Jeanette needed to learn to see herself like God sees her, much like we are exploring in today's blog.
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