Why Knowing Your Strengths Isn’t Enough

Finding Life Direction Requires a Kingdom Awareness

Finding your life direction requires figuring out your strengths. I shared about how I discovered my strengths in this post. But for the Christian seeking to live an authentic life, it will take more than an awareness of strengths to find God’s best for your life.

passion

It will take a Kingdom awareness.

Our strengths reside where our passions and talents unite. So if we devote the bulk of our time to doing things where those two intersect, we will be more productive and more fulfilled.

Why? Because we are doing the kinds of things God wired us to do.

You do not need to be a Christ-follower for this to be true.

But the disciples of Jesus should desire more. Jesus calls us to follow him ahead of career ambitions, the love of money, or even family ties. Our life direction priorities must align with His Kingdom priorities.

Putting the Focus Where It Matters Most

When I was leading a Christian school, I was, by my own estimation, spending about 30% of my time in my areas of strength. Now I invest closer to 90% of my time where my talents and passions connect.

I also have taken pains to ensure that I focus those efforts in ways that advance God’s Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven as much as possible.

Back in the day when I was teaching high-schoolers, I assigned to juniors the task of writing a paper in which they describe the career they were considering—and a biblical understanding of how it would move God’s purposes forward.

I challenged them to think about how their potential careers meshed with Scripture, and how that path would advance God’s work of reconciling all things to Himself.

I recall one student who had grown up in a Christian home and wanted to be an airline pilot at the time. As I described the assignment to him, he grew puzzled and asked, “How could there be a biblical worldview about being an airline pilot? I just want to make a lot of money.” Presumably, he intended to give a portion of that money to charity, and that would fulfill his Kingdom duty.

I share this not to disparage him in any way. He was a delight to have in class. His view then simply reflected what he picked up from other Christians—life direction had little to do with Kingdom priorities and much to do with making money.

Getting a job I like is not enough.

Finding a career that pays good money is not enough.

We must seek a direction in life where we can put our strengths to work in ways that meet a Kingdom need.

Identify a Kingdom Need

In her book Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Amy Sherman portrays the situation with three concentric circles that overlap in the center. Essentially, she argues that our life calling can be found where talents, passions, and Kingdom need meet.

I agree. Think of it as our FaithWalkers sweet spot. It’s what God made us to do in order to advance His mission on Earth.

We must seek the place where we will do the most good for God by leveraging the strengths He’s given us.

First, discover your strengths. Then, uncover the need.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you seek to find that place:

  1. Ask God to reveal the need to you. The mere act of praying about it will open your eyes to see possibilities you never realized were right in front of you all along. “It’s not about you” must become our mantra, ironically, as we seek to find our own life direction.
  2. Start where you have an opportunity. Don’t wait until you can solve world hunger. How can you be a help in your own family, neighborhood, and local community? What opportunities are open only to you? How can you help in ways few others can?
  3. Weigh every option as a steward of God’s grace. Your savior purchased you with His blood and called you out of darkness and into light for a reason. His grace is our most precious commodity that we can share with others. Life is too short to do something that ignores our duty to invest His grace in a needy world.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take some risks. Being a FaithWalker is all about stepping out before your know how it all turns out. Righteous living requires risk. Not foolishness, but faithfulness to the One who called you. So be prepared to be afraid, but don’t let fear stop you from following the call.
  5. Your focus can and will change throughout life. Don’t assume that what you are doing now to advance the Kingdom is what you will always be doing. David tended sheep to unwittingly prepare to be king. Things change. Be open to God’s leading you down new paths as you seek to give Him your best.

These posts may be helpful to consider at this stage:

You might find this post helpful, as well, with questions to help you identify your core beliefs.

One final note: We make a mistake if we presume that meeting a Kingdom need means going into some sort of full-time ministry.

It might. But most likely it will not mean that at all.

The “ministry of reconciliation,” as the Apostle Paul calls it, is a way of life for every Christ-follower.

God has need of workers in business, politics, entertainment, medicine, parenting, education, landscaping—you name it.

So don’t let your faith be put in a box.

Question: Do you know how your strengths align with a Kingdom need? Which point from this post resonated with you the most? Share your thoughts by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or otherwise unhelpful.

  • yvonne

    I read your blog about Your strength is not enough and would like to comment on it as follows.
    As a long time Christian, I have struggled with what my life’s calling. God has trained me, I believe at least in two areas. One natural nutrition, Secondly in a possible area of church ministry. After reading your blog with your statements such as “Jesus calls us to follow him ahead of career ambitions, the love of money, over even family ties…our life direction priorities must align with Kingdom priorities”. You also stated, “we must seek a direction in life where we can put our strengths to work in ways that meet a Kingdom need”. Based on these statements only, I am still very confused and frustrated. It seems that I can not put together what my mission is. How does one go into ministry without money? Secondly, if my call is in Nutrition; and after working in two health foods stores and looking for work, does not one door open for what I would think are my strengths and abilities? The hardest part of discovering your calling, is to recognize that we have bills to pay, and we have needs. So how does one just over look a desire to meet our own basic needs and work a job that provides an income. this is not the love of money. I do know that many many Christians I speak to also suffer with this same questions and queries. Can you please address these concerns. Thank you.

    • You read my mind, Yvonne. Next post begins to address this very thing!