First Third Conversations

Living Your Strengths by Nancy Lee Gauche

"Everyone has a calling. Discovering it is what life is about and that calling does not come from God's voice thundering from above; but it more often comes from whispers deep within you, from the very essence of your being. God expects nothing more from you than to live that life for which you were created!" — (Living Your Strengths)

A strengths-based journey focuses on fulfilling the calling for which you are uniquely equipped. In turn, that contributes to the fulfillment of God's calling for the church as a whole and for the sake of the other and the world.

When you come to own your strengths and learn about them, strengths become tools used for life to help you thrive and to help manage weaknesses. It is more than taking an assessment and more than a "Pollyanna" way of looking at life. Knowing and living your strengths is not the same thing as feeling good about yourself, having great self esteem or mastering the art of positive thinking.

People often live with the illusion that if you had clear strategies, program design and training, THEN you would finally get the results for which you long. A journey of discipleship where the people of God build on their God-given talents, instead of burying their talents or mimicking another's talents, develop their strengths and fulfill their calling, is where we see each person making a significant contribution to the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.

Here are some key beliefs to build up your strengths:

  • Strengths develop best in the framework of mission. This means you can identify the evidence of their existence. If you have a strength, you can see it, hear it, experience it and name it.
  • Strengths are unique and enduring. They may not be evident at all times and may not be perfect in all roles, but they are unique and enduring to each of us.
  • Strengths create energy rather than draining energy.
  • Strengths are not gained, but rather talents are gifted by God and need to be discovered and developed into strengths. Discovering and using our strengths honors God as Creator and is good stewardship of God's ongoing creative power.
  • Strengths develop best within community. How can maximizing your strengths be a community activity? What would a strengths-based congregation, or family, look like? How do the needs in your community match up with your strengths? How can you apply a strengths-based theology to the greater mission of the church? How is your personal mission connected to the larger mission to which God has called?

If you adopt this strengths perspective with your young people, then it is believed that our young people each have a group of talents already within them. You get to help them discover those strengths. So it is not about what you can give them, but what God has wired into them that you get to develop together.

So it takes us right back to the beginning, "Everyone has a calling. Discovering what it is, is what life is about. And that calling doesn't come from God's voice thundering from above but it more often comes from whispers deep within you from the very essence of your being. God expects nothing more from you than to live that life for which you were created!" (Living Your Strengths)

Trinity Lutheran in Stillwater, Minn. has been discovering strengths with their children and youth as they seek to steward the gifts that God has given. Watch their story.

For more information on Strengths Finder 2.0 go to their website.

"The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)

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