I'm at my best when God gives me strength.

This week's devotional is from Matt Bleckley.

ENCOUNTER: Read Isaiah 40:28-31

I have gone through an awful realization over the past year.  My dream has always been to be a well liked and relationally connected person who was a great friend, a mentor, an encourager, with a personality that gathered and excited people.  But, what I have come to realize is those things have only slightly come naturally to me.  I see their value and I have even watched people live out those values and I have recognized a profound and disturbing thing.  Those people are not me.  I have lived my life focused on things that were never me.

Over the past year I have had to endure extensive personality testing for ordination.  In all that I have learned, I have come to understanding something that wrecked my life for months as I came to grips with what felt like a new reality. I discovered that I like things to have meaning and purpose.  I want the world around me to be organized in a sensible and intentional structure that takes me from point A to B with a purpose.  What has been made most clear is that everything I do on a regular basis is centered around creating strategies and patterns that set healthy rhythms and practices that help me to be a productive member of society. But, my wife and kids don't always want to do things my way. 

When I came face to face with my strengths I was truly a bit disappointed because they do not fit what a pastor is usually expected to be. But, the best God has for me is not to keep trying to be somebody else.  When I encounter God he invites me to value and identify what he sees as important and to create and shape things that come out of my planning and intentional nature.

Being and identifying our strengths becomes a spiritual journey of action toward the best for us. The invitation of God into relationship does not have a requirement of you doing all the things. You are not all alone. Thriving and being at our best is located at the bisection of faithfulness to the ways God has made us and actively allowing God to give us the strength to do those things.

BE REFLECTIVE:

What are your strengths and gifts. Make a list of things you are good at. What patterns and skills are unique that you do better than most others? If you have no idea what kinds of things you might have been made for try out some of these tests to discover more about yourself (all these tests are good, but the full versions with the help of professionals have been even more helpful in my life).

Enneagram - Meyers-Briggs - Strengths Finder - Spiritual Gifts Inventory 

BE A BLESSING:

How is your strength, your very self, beings used for God’s Kingdom?

In your journey to follow or discover who Christ has made you to be, what practical ways are you regularly using your strengths? Finding a regular way to invest and serve is an incredible way to not only invest in others, but to live into what God has made you to do. The best thriving in ourselves comes when we find ways to invest and we step out of our own strength and let God work through us. 

This week find a place to bless others with your gifts and strengths even if it feel like it is out of your comfort zone. (Middle School Ministry is probably outside of your comfort zone if you really want to be challenged to use your strengths = shameless plug)

BE TOGETHER:

The best way to find strength is in community. At our weakest moments it is the friendships and relationships with others that build us back up and encourage us.  It is the community of a small group, best friends, and ministry partners who see you and value you.  If you are not in community talking about what is bringing you strength we have tons of ways to get connected

It is only in the context of the singular body of Christ where we all bring our gifts and strengths where we can do the manifold works of God to transform the world.