I’ve answered the question many times in the last 8 years. You sit down for an interview for a new job or internship and one of the questions you always get asked is, “What is your greatest weakness?” The first time I was asked that question, I hadn’t been prepared at all and if I remember correctly, my cheeks turned a lovely shade of red as I tripped over my lack of words. After all, I’m perfect and have no weaknesses and it was embarrassing to me that they didn’t see that.
Hahaha…NO. Absolutely not true. What IS true is that I have a harder time coming up with my strengths than I do my weaknesses. Who really wants to tell the person they want to hire them about their shortcomings though? In an interview you want to sell yourself to the person thinking about hiring you; you want to show them why you’re better than the person who left right before you and you want to convince them they shouldn’t even bother with the person right after you.
I remember going home after that first interview wondering how you could possibly answer that question right. The world told me there was nothing right about my weaknesses and it still does. It tells us that the areas we struggle in are our failures or limitations and those areas make us mediocre, unsuitable and little. So I got home and did what I always do when I have a question, I turned to Google. I immediately sat down and began searching for the right answer to that miserable question. Instantly, articles started popping up about turning a negative into a positive.
-I’m too much of a perfectionist.
-I work too hard sometimes.
-I care too much about my work.
-I’m a people pleaser.
Then there is the one I chose to go with after reading all of these articles that recommended the same thing, “I’m not good at saying no so I sometimes overwhelm myself with work.” And for the last 8 years, I stuck with that answer because it’s true (a friend of mine bought me a book for Christmas called “The Best Yes” because of the accuracy of that statement actually) but also because I thought it made me look like a hard worker. A negative turned positive.
A few weeks ago now I had an interview for an internship and there was that dreaded question again. The one I love to hate; the one that makes me squirm in my chair and fiddle with the rings on my fingers. Just as I’ve done for the last 8 years, I told the person interviewing me about my tendencies to overwhelm myself with work and the many other things I say yes to.
Something wasn’t right though. There was something about my usual answer that didn’t settle right with me like it used to and it continued to bother me for a couple of weeks before I finally realized why.
I hope you’re ready for this…
We should never feel the need to hide our weaknesses because they’re an opportunity for God to reveal His strengths.
What makes that really cool is that when God uses our weaknesses, and there are MANY examples of this in the Bible, all the glory goes to Him.
God knows each and everyone of us. He knows our strengths, struggles, insecurities, gifts, feelings, weaknesses, and every other thing you could possibly think of.
When I took speech last year to fulfill a school credit, I told myself I would fail before each one of the speeches I had to make because I knew then and still know now that I’m no good in front of crowds. I’m comfortable where I’m sitting right now, behind my computer without all eyes on me. When David went up against Goliath in 1 Samuel, I’m betting He didn’t do so because he had complete confidence in himself and his own size and strength. David trusted God to deliver Him from his battle with Goliath and he understood that it didn’t matter how small or weak he was, God was bigger than both of them.
Situations where we don’t feel like our skills are enough are the perfect opportunity to really lean into and trust God and they are a great reminder of how great our God is!
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
His grace is sufficient for each one of us, for each of our weaknesses. I love that He uses what the world sees as our failures and I love even more that all glory goes to Him because we aren’t enough without Him.
Now when I think about it, I’m thankful for that question in interviews and it was really humbling when I started to truly think about it. The reality is, I’m no better than anyone else who applies for any job or internship because God has the ability to use each one of us equally. Yes, He has equipped each of us with special gifts and passions, but that doesn’t keep Him from being able to use someone else who isn’t as strong in the same areas for the same purpose. I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty cool!
So here it is; a list of my weaknesses:
-A pen and paper
-A great movie soundtra…
Oops. That’s awkward…. Sorry guys, wrong weaknesses.
-I’m impatient. Realllly impatient.
-Procrastination. I have a paper due Friday for one of my classes that I have had plenty of opportunities to start on and it will get done Thursday night, possibly early Friday morning. (In my defense, I only procrastinate on things that involve Science. So pretty much every part of my major right now…whoops.) I could be writing that paper right now in fact but instead I’m writing this. This I enjoy.
-In all seriousness, I really do say yes too often. I want to be able to do it all and help everyone I can but what actually happens is that I get sick or wear myself down to the point of not being able to help anyone or do anything.
-When I’m going on a trip and I’m in the driver seat, if a car is in the far left lane going slower than everyone else, I yell at him or her. One power I wish I had is the ability to pick them up and put them back down in another lane.
-I struggle with loving everyone like Christ does. I like to blame my life experiences on that one but there is no excuse. A lot of it boils down to forgiveness. TRUE forgiveness.
-I’m horrible at speaking in front of crowds. Give me a sheet of paper and a pen and I could write all day but as soon as you ask me to talk to a lot of people in person, I find my nothing box. Also known as my panic box where there are no words. The words that were there on the page disappear to be nothing more than red stains on my cheeks and sweaty palms.
-I’m awkward. You would think that working in restaurants for years now and moving quite a few times would turn me into an awesome people person but the reality is the opposite. I’m definitely not as timid as I used to be but boy am I awkward in conversations. Don’t take it personally. It’s me, not you.
-Definitely a people pleaser. While some people don’t consider this one a weakness, I do because I tend to put people’s approval of me above God’s and that’s not okay. Ever.
…That’s more like it. Some of those things are more personal struggles I’m working on rather than weaknesses, but the things that are weaknesses are things God can absolutely use. And trust me when I say that list could continue for quite some time. Those of you still reading, thank you for stickin’ it out! I do hope that if anything, reading this helped you realize there is nothing weak about our God and as a result of Him, we should never be ashamed of our own weaknesses. Think of them as opportunities for God to use you to bring glory to Him!
When I am weak, then I am strong.
May you struggle well!