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We all fantasize at some point about finding our “niche” in life—that one thing that we can do better than almost anyone around us because it just “comes naturally.” Unfortunately, most of us discover when we’re young that we aren’t as prodigiously talented as we had hoped. We don’t have an extraordinary pitching arm or a voice that will sell platinum albums. We haven’t the genius to create a cure for cancer, and our “works of art” won’t be selling for thousands of dollars any time soon. We are—the dreaded word—average.
Our pastors tell us that God has a plan and specific purpose for each of us. He knows us. We can’t deny it. We have unquestionable proof in Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 139:16. And yet . . . and yet . . . while we know to be thankful to God as our Creator, we tend to be thankful in the very generic, broad sense—“of course, I’m thankful! I wouldn’t BE here if He hadn’t created me!” But when was the last time we recognized His personal, individual creation of the unique person that we see in the mirror every morning?
We know to thank God for the abilities we do have; we can’t take any credit for our innate talents and spiritual gifts. But do we equally recognize that we can and should thank Him for the things He has chosen not to give us? Do we thank Him when that familiar pang of insecurity hits us because our dessert didn’t turn out as nicely as the others at the church potluck? Do we thank Him when we have to fight through our own learning disability day after day so that we can teach our children? Do we thank Him when our best efforts just aren’t good enough and we are late or unprepared yet again? Do we thank Him that we aren’t naturally athletic, artistic, organized, or outgoing?
We are weak and prone to failure. It’s the stinging, undeniable truth. They can be a cage—these weaknesses of ours—or they can be our door to freedom.
Every time we mess up and have to face the painful consequences yet again, we have a choice. We can pass the blame, make excuses, downplay or ignore the results, or we can acknowledge our weakness and use it as an opportunity for praising God. But proper praise requires proper focus—the acknowledgement that we and our works are on this planet simply for His glory. Did God not know when He created us that we were going to fail Him and others every day? Think about it though—we can make parenting mistakes, disappoint our spouses, upset friends or family, but we can never let God down. He will never be disillusioned, discouraged or disappointed by our actions because He already knows what they will be—and He chose to love us in spite of them. Over 2,000 years ago He gave His only Son in death and resurrection to indisputably prove that love.
And where is that love when we fall short in some area again? Simply put, it is His love that purposefully created each of us with our specific blend of strengths and weaknesses. God wants us to see our times of failure as occasions to glorify Him and to see Him work in our lives personally. They are the special opportunities God gives us to praise Him uniquely while learning to trust Him for the strength to do what we cannot.
Weakness is our door to freedom when it causes us to depend on His limitless strength and provision rather than our own finite means. And we find our niche—the one thing that we can do better than anyone else—when we recognize what God has given us: a totally unique combination of personality, talents, strengths and shortcomings that allows us to offer Him an equally unique blend of praise, love, and devotion.
So next time you’re busy thanking God for all the blessings He has woven into your life, don’t forget to praise Him for creating you just as you are with your strengths and weaknesses. After all, He created you for that very purpose—so no one else is better qualified.