Yesterday, we learned about the importance of focusing on our strengths. Today, we will learn about focusing on the strengths of others.
I’m an art teacher. I have pretty much loved everything art-related my entire life. I love to draw, paint, look at art, learn about art, and especially make pottery. My 5-year-old son, on the other hand, has about zero interest in anything art-related. When he “paints,” he wants to make the water as dirty as he can without actually painting anything on the paper. When he “draws,” the markers or crayons usually end up as zombies or ninjas instead of actually coloring anything on the paper. When we have tried to create art together in the past, we often both ended up frustrated!
Although he doesn’t like art very much, he loves science! As a result, I have learned A LOT about volcanoes, bones, vampire bats, and outer space. I recently made slime with him and helped him create a volcano out of plaster. It is extremely rewarding as a parent to see him so excited and engaged in something, even if it’s not something that I’m excited about!
In Romans 12, we learn about honoring and encouraging the strengths in others.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
There are four words for love in Greek. The word used in verse 9 for love is “agape.” Agape love is often used to describe God’s love for people. This type of love has no hidden agenda. It is love that seeks the best for the beloved.
As a leader, parent, or friend, it’s sometimes tempting to focus on and nitpick what others need to do better. I know that as a teacher and a parent, oftentimes I focus on the skills that I think my students and children need improvement on instead of first building on what they are already good at or interested in.
When I focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses, it honors them and the way that God has made them. And as they develop their strengths, they will be more equipped to offer their strengths back to me and to their other relationships.
This weekend, Eric asked us to finish this statement: “What I need from you is …”. By finishing that statement, it helps identify what areas we need help in. When taking that statement and applying it to a specific person in our life, it helps identify the strengths in others. As we allow others to help us through their strengths, we honor them. As Eric pointed out, when I offer the best in me (and you offer the best in you), we create a better WE!
Do you find it easy to encourage others?
How could focusing on someone’s strengths benefit them? How could it benefit you?
This week, at home and/or at work, encourage others by playing up their strengths. Compliment your family and coworkers sincerely on things at which they excel. Acknowledge their need for approval and then make their day by giving them some positive feedback.
God, thank you for creating us as unique individuals. Thank you for showing us unselfish, agape love. Please help me to show this same love to others in my life: my family, my coworkers, and my friends. Please help me be an encouragement to others. Amen.
This post was written by Meghan Yarnell. Meghan is an art teacher and artist. She is married and has a son and daughter.
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