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When your strengths hold you back

30 Nov

“Your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness if pushed to an extreme.”

I heard that statement many years ago and have repeated it many times over. I am now dealing with it daily as I recover from my broken hip.

Over the years, I have gained insight from many different personality and strengths assessment tools. I have taken the DISC profile (originally called the Performax Profile), the TJTA, the Meyers-Briggs, the Pearson Golden Personality Profile, the IOS (Individual Operating Style), and the Clifton Strengths Finder. Each one has given me greater insight into who I am and how God wired me.

In the Meyers-Briggs profile, I am an ISTJ, characterized by integrity, practical logic, and tireless dedication to duty. We get things done. In the Pearson Golden Personality Profile (an offshoot of the Meyers-Briggs), I learned I am an Introvert who is Socially Bold. While I am energized by solitude, I am also friendly and outgoing; initiates conversations; comfortable leading; likes public speaking. In terms of my IOS, I am a (1) People-Oriented, Motivating, Communicating, LEADER/Teacher; (2) Committed Long-Term GOAL ACHIEVER; and a (3) Tangible Project Completer/ACCOMPLISHER. In the Clifton Strengths Finder, my top five themes are Learner, Maximizer, Arranger, Responsibility, and Belief.

When you add these different profiles together, you see two common themes. (1) I am a doer who gets things done. I take ownership of my responsibilities and I see them through to completion. (2) I am a communicator, and the way I lead is through teaching and preaching.

While those are tremendous strengths, they are also tremendous weaknesses during this season of my life. I feel responsible for the church. I feel like I have let people down by sitting on the sidelines. I am not leading because I am not preaching and teaching. Because of my sense of responsibility, I want to rush through my rehab and recovery and get back to work. My internal makeup says I am not fulfilling my purpose because I am not doing.

Several people have counselled me not to be in a hurry and rush back. Several have said to take my time and not come back too soon. A few have specifically given me permission to take my time and heal.

My biggest challenge is giving myself permission to heal. As a doer, the hardest part of being on the DL is not doing. I am not accustomed to being idle and sitting on the sidelines. The hardest part of waiting is waiting. I am an impatient patient.

In the midst of all of this, I have to trust that God knows what he is doing. I need to take advantage of my enforced sabbatical to read, rest, and grow spiritually. I need to be diligent in praying for those who have taken up my baton. I must find ways to minister, mentor, and coach from the sidelines. I need to take the opportunity to grow and deepen spiritually while my leg/hip is healing. Rather than chafe against what God is doing, I need to keep my focus on him and let him work in my life.

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 – 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2017 in Character, Personal growth, Scripture

 

2 responses to “When your strengths hold you back

  1. Jack Gilbert

    November 30, 2017 at 10:25 am

    You are teaching. Here are a few ways in which this plays out:

    1) You have prepared me to do what I am doing in this very time of need. You need to rest, I need to apply what you have taught me. I would like the circumstances to be different, but here we are. God is good.

    2) People are watching and see how your time of trial is being guided by your faith. You are seeking to care for your church even in your time of need. You are seeking God in prayer. Your message of unity and working as a community is being applied in your time of need. This is from the Lord. God is good.

    3) You are publically sharing your internal struggle, while at the same time setting loose those you have led, equipped, and trained to do the work of ministry. That is a large part of what it means to be a pastor, and now e see it played out.

    Thank you for leading, equipping, training, and allowing others to care for you. We look forward to your return.

     
    • wheelsms

      November 30, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Thanks, Jack. I appreciate the encouragement. I need to be reminded of these things. I also know that I am modeling how to suffer well. That is something I’d rather talk about than have to live out.

      Mark Wheeler
      “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot

       

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