I don’t really like to focus on my weaknesses. I want to be aware of them, and I want to give them enough attention so that I don’t drive people crazy, but I don't want to spend a great deal of time and energy improving those things that I'm not naturally good at.
I really want to pour my time, energy, and growth opportunities into my strengths and the tasks that I do naturally well. Doing these things will help get the most out of my limited resources and maximize my efforts for the Kingdom of God. It will also help me be a good steward of what God has given me. I imagine that you feel the same way, and I have some great advice to help you maximize your unique giftings.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:10-11, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.” This scripture highlights my first point and describes the most important thing you must do to maximize your giftings.
1. Keep a God-centered mindset.
If we're focused on selfish things in ministry or work such as money, position, or power, we greatly limit what we can accomplish for God. When we don’t have a God-centered mindset, we limit what God is willing to do through us supernaturally. Though we may see our natural and even spiritual gifts manifested to some degree, we will not reach our full potential.
It’s important we understand that everything we do is for the glory of God. If you find yourself gravitating toward selfish ambition, which is so easy for any of us to do, you must find a place of prayer and even consider fasting to get your flesh under subjection and recapture the right frame of mind. If we align our natural giftings with the Lord, He will add the super to our natural.
Great things happen when we are motivated to work for the benefit of others. We can comfortably pursue excellence and even maximize our giftings when we use our gifts to help those around us. This is actually considered good spiritual stewardship.
2. Discover what your top gifts are NOT.
Part of maximizing your strengths is understanding your weaknesses. What are you doing that you’re not good at? I believe that most people would admit that they don’t need to pursue things they aren’t good at. It’s important that we delegate the tasks we struggle with to those who are better equipped to handle them. What about the things that you do decently, though, but don’t excel at? Many times, these are the things that can drain your energy. You may have enough skill to get the job done but not enough talent that the work comes easily for you.
Let me give you an example. I’m an introvert; therefore, being the center of attention does not naturally energize me. I don’t enjoy it, and it drains energy from me. However, because of the nature of my calling, I have to be the center of attention occasionally. I’m fine with that; I can handle it, but I try to spend most of my time and energy behind the scenes of the organization I work for, working with people one-on-one or doing work alone in my office.
I know that tasks that make me the center of attention are not aligned with my top gifts, so I don’t seek out those extroverted opportunities. I simply do those things when I need to. Thankfully, I have a ministry that allows me to maintain a good balance between the opportunities I excel at and situations I’m a little less comfortable with, but it’s important that I don’t seek to do things that I’m not especially gifted at doing. There are other tasks that I struggle with, and in those situations, I need to say “no” to those things as much as I possibly can.
3. Work hard to improve your gifts.
Let me start this point off by saying I do not recommend you work so intensely that you negatively impact your family or your health. I always recommend you consider your health and family in whatever you are doing.
When it comes to developing our gifts, it’s important that you put time and effort into your work. If you work hard, persist, study, practice, and receive coaching and mentoring, you can develop your natural gifts and even excel above those who have the same natural talents.
For example, I have high leadership energy as well as a highly competitive nature. I love to take charge and get things done, and I can easily envision a future and work toward it. I love working in this area, and I love leadership. It’s one of my gifts. Because of this, I’ve studied leadership since I was fifteen years old. I’ve read hundreds of leadership books. I’ve gone to school and studied leadership. I’ve hired an executive coach to extract the best qualities from me. I’ve submitted myself to great leaders in my life, and I’ve learned from their leadership. I could list many other things I’ve done to develop my natural gifts. I believe these things have made a tremendous difference in my leadership life. I’m not perfect by any means; I’m far from it. I don’t do everything right, but I will say that my desire to develop my gifting has absolutely paid off and given me the ability to do what I do.
Learn from your experiences, listen to correction from experienced people, and never stop learning and improving your natural gifts. Think about the tasks you are really good at. What can people around you confirm that you’re really good at? Find those things and work hard to develop them. Keep a God-centered mindset, avoid those things that you are not good at as much as possible, and work hard to develop your best gifts. Doing these three things will maximize your giftings.
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