Christians love to talk about strengths. Want proof? Just ask a church leader to list his or her spiritual gifts, talk about his areas of passion, or tell you her Myers-Briggs profile (any other ENTJ's out there?). You're sure to get an enthusiastic response. But ask that same leader to tell you about his areas of weakness, and he might be slightly less excited to engage with you.
Don't get me wrong, most of us are happy to talk about weakness, write about weakness, and even encourage others to be open about their weakness. But something about our pride makes it harder for us to be honest about our own shortcomings. After all, what would people think if they learned that we are light years away from having it all figured out?
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul reminds us that the Spirit distributes gifts (or strengths) as he determines. None of us has all of the gifts; therefore, we need to rely on each other. Paul goes on to use the analogy of the human body to explain that without our willingness to rely on the strengths of others to complement our areas of weakness, the church (Christ's body) cannot—and will not—function as Christ intended.
The hard part can be identifying our weaknesses in the first place. I've learned two questions to ask to help discern areas of weakness. If you're unsure where you may need help, ask yourself: Which types of tasks tend to suck energy out of me, as opposed to give me energy? Are there duties that seem painful to me, but effortless (even enjoyable) to others? Identifying those energy-sucking or painful tasks often indicate our areas of weakness.
After you've identified those areas, the next step is figuring out how to enlist help to overcome them. I've found that there are always people eager to volunteer their time and energy if a compelling need is presented. So go ahead and ask! But be honest with them—explain why you need their presence, help, and gifts to complement yours.
And finally, step back and prepare to be amazed at how excited, motivated, and energized people are as they have the opportunity to put their gifts to use, not to mention how much more you can accomplish and how encouraged you feel to know you don't have to go it alone!
Sara Bentley has worked as a hospital chaplain and held positions as Pastor of Spiritual Formation, Young Adult Pastor, and College Director at various churches in California.
Adapted from "Embracing Weakness," by Sara Bentley, GiftedforLeadership.com. Click here to read the original article in its entirety and for reprint information.