A number of years ago I took the Strengths Finder and was told that my top five strengths are:
- Responsibility – People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
- Harmony – People strong in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.
- Communication – People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
- Consistency – People strong in the Consistency theme (also called Fairness in the first StrengthsFinder assessment) are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world fairly by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.
- Focus – People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
These strengths are pretty spot-on (and everyone that knows me would likely agree).
So what happens when you are sick for a few weeks and your head is so full of mucus that you can’t think and you can’t focus on anything when you can usually buckle down and focus fairly easily?
Nothing. Nothing happens. Because you can’t focus long enough to make something happen.
The house doesn’t get cleaned. Only the work that absolutely has to be done gets done. There’s no planning or forward thinking. There’s no follow-through on personal goals. Nothing.
And then you know what happens?
Even in the midst of being sick, and knowing that there is an underlying reason for my lack of focus, I start beating myself up for the lack of follow-through, the lack of focus.
Here is an example from the last week.
I was scheduled to preach on Sunday. I have known it for weeks and have been thinking and praying about what the Lord would have me share, but nothing was coming, partly because of my lack of focus, i surmised. When I finally had an idea, and started working on it, it wasn’t necessarily flowing. To add to the lack of focus and lack of flow, my sickness seemed to take another turn for the worse. Ugh! I attempted to work off and on for a few days and by Friday evening I had some things typed up but there wasn’t enough. I didn’t have the ideas that tied things together or the ending. In my fog I wrote down some more ideas early Saturday morning while sitting at my daughter’s tumbling lesson and after another day full of football and cheerleading, I opened the laptop at 9:00 Saturday night to try to work the ideas I wrote down into what I had typed up. When I finished and read through what I had, it was ok. It was not my best work, but it was something.
I cried out to the Lord. I always need His help, His guidance, and the work of His Spirit when I am working on a sermon and preaching, but I really felt like I needed Him more than ever on this one. I even felt like the sermon itself showed just how much focus I was lacking.
As I woke Sunday morning and read through it again, I was still not sure.
Even as we were singing leading up to the sermon, I was struggling with my focus in the moment.
And then God took over. I preached the sermon and it felt like it actually flowed, like the pieces connected together.
And the people responded. They heard the Lord’s words, not mine.
And I was reminded again, that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Even when my weakness is normally one of my strengths.
Thank You, Lord!
I would love to hear your stories of a time when you felt particularly unfit for a task but the Lord brought you through.