“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
These words from the writer of Hebrews can provide much needed perspective for everyone. We can hide behind that thick skin of ours all we want, but when someone is critical of us, that feeling of sorrow slowly creeps in. But what if we took those areas of our life that not too many people know about, where we need discipline, and shine a light on them? Think of the fruit we could gain from not running from much needed correction! So, let’s take a look at how we can discover our weaknesses and more importantly why we should!
Sampson: The First Superhero?
We all have strengths and weaknesses! Areas where we kick butt and others where we get our butts kicked. Probably the greatest example of this in the Bible is Samson. It always made me curious why God gave Samson incredible power that, if used correctly, could save his people and yet he had some pretty big weaknesses too.
God had given Samson a purpose: While Israel was under the rule of the Philistines, Samson would regularly use the incredible strength that God had given him and serve up some quick and intense justice on the Philistines and there was nothing they could do about it. But he had an incredible weakness, too. He was a Nazarene and if he ever let his hair get cut by a razor, his power would be gone. ( If you ask me, I also think he had a problem with the ladies, but that is a story for another day.) When Samson’s secret got out, it led to the ultimate punishment of his enemies but also his own downfall.
The amazing thing about that story is that, in the end, God used both Samson’s strength and his weakness to play a pivotal role in purpose for his life. If we change our attitude about our weaknesses and see that they too play a role in our story: Think of the things God could accomplish in our life! Hopefully, we can bypass the tragedy of the Sampson example as we move forward.
Discipline the Weak Spots
Back to “all discipline for the moment seeming sorrowful.” None of us like our flaws pointed out. Depending on who is pointing them out to us, and how it is delivered, it can almost seem invasive and even painful in some cases. Yet, if we let it, that discipline could be instrumental to our personal development. The “peaceful fruit of righteousness” sounds pretty sweet, so how do we get there? Imagine if we gave our weaknesses the same amount of attention we did our strengths!
A Father In The Faith once told me that to discover your gift, have a few people close to you write out five of your strengths and five of your weaknesses and then discuss them. Of course, I just had to give this a try! And as it turned out, I learned just as much from the five weaknesses portion of the exercise as I did from the more-fun-and-uplifting “strengths” portion of the questionnaire!
And although it was not easy, it has helped me so much. Would you consider doing something like this? You could learn so much about yourself and discover your gifts, develop them and deploy them. And maybe even more importantly, you will become familiar with your weakness so you can work on areas where you need to grow.
A Full Body Workout
Remember, no one loves “legs day” at the gym (well, except for a few anomalies). But no one wants to be that person in the gym with the upper body that is on point but has Pink Panther legs. Keep growing in areas where you are strong, but in the process, don’t forget to discover and attack your weaknesses head-on.
Let’s not forget, no negative feedback feels good at first, but to those who have been trained by it, it just may be the thing that changes your life in the best possible way.