Focus on Your Strengths

I like to help with everything! If I learned nothing else about being a military spouse I learned to be self-sufficient. Moving around to different places where you don’t know people and having to figure out certain things on your own will teach you a lot. Having a spouse be gone for 6, 9, 12, or 15 months at a time will definitely push you out of your comfort zone and require you to learn how to do a little bit of everything.

Because of this, my friends used to call me a jack of all trades. I can assemble furniture, fix things, rearrange a house without any assistance, fix computer issues, cut the grass, type an English paper for school, clear up a credit report-the list could go on and on. Now I can do all of these things and do a pretty good job but never really master anything. And for a while that’s how I operated. Always doing something but never really tapping into the thing that I was meant to excel at.

When I first started volunteering at church I assisted in many different areas of ministry. I volunteered in the office helping different Pastors and staff members on a weekly basis. Any event that we had I signed up to help or would just ask Pastor’s assistant what time she needed me there and would be there from set up to clean up. I helped with women’s ministry. I assisted First Lady with things she needed help with. I was the director over the nursery department. Doing all of these different things was great at a time in my life where things were not going well at all. But many of them were not what I was strongest in.

I remember one day having a conversation with my First Lady, who’s also my spiritual mother, and she said “Candle, sometimes we have to learn to stay in our lane. It’s good to help with things and to be a servant. But you can’t do everything and you shouldn’t do everything. Do what you are best at. God wants our best and if we are busy doing everything then we can’t perfect anything. So what have we accomplished? We also have to keep in mind that if we have one person doing everything then we can’t make room for other people to serve in ministry and do what God’s called them to do.”

At the time I didn’t really understand it. I’m thinking “Well I like helping. I like being involved so shouldn’t I be involved?” The answer is yes and no. Have you ever seen a person running around all the time? You see them doing all these different tasks but the tasks are never quite completed or they’re half done? The work they’ve completed doesn’t look so good and someone is having to go behind them to fix what they’ve sort of done. Then this same person is tired, burned out, irritated, frustrated and instead of motivating those around them they’re actually discouraging them unintentionally to not want to help or be involved with whatever the project is. This is why you can’t and shouldn’t do everything. This is the no part to the shouldn’t I be involved question.

On the other side of the spectrum, have you seen a person working or volunteering in one specific area or one specific department and they’re busy but they’re smiling, efficient, completing tasks, responding to others in a timely manner, whatever they are working on looks great? Watching this person inspires you and makes you want to focus on what makes you excel or feel productive. This is why you should stay in your lane and focus on your strengths. This is the yes part. It’s not that it’s wrong to occasionally want to help or be involved in something that you’re not strong in or great at. Sometimes working in different areas shows us what we don’t want to do in life, teaches us to appreciate those who do operate in that area, or helps us learn and grow as a person in general. However, trying to do everything BUT what you’re best at causes unneeded stress in your life. It also takes away from the time you could be putting into being a better artist, singer, writer, motivational speaker, assistant, business person or whatever your calling is.

Months later after having the conversation with First Lady it sunk in for me. And now I don’t have a problem helping when I can but I also don’t insert myself into areas that are not what I’m strongest in. I want to actually help not be apart of something looking like I’m helping with a team of people going behind me fixing what I “helped” with. That’s how people stop asking you to “help” lol. So find what you are great at and well, go be great at it!

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