My Greatest Strength, My Biggest Downfall

I took the StrengthsFinder test this year and discovered my top strength was achiever. Suddenly my entire life was summed up and explained to me in this one word. Achiever. My entire life has been driven by the need to make things happen, to create, to build, to run at life with a passion that often exhausted me. It also explained my frustrations in life, how I became agitated at immobility, at being stagnant, at feeling held back in achieving my dreams and goals. When I finally saw this about myself, it helped me to recognize my biggest asset and strength in life, as well as my biggest downfall and weakness.

As I see it, I have two choices in the matter. I can use my strength for good and learn to manage the downsides, or I can let it cripple me and hold me back or make me feel like I am completely useless.

I still haven’t figured out quite how to do this, but I believe that God gave us each different strengths for a reason and that we are meant to use those gifts in the world. The more we can understand about ourselves and the person God created us to be, the more we are able to find the path that God calls us towards.

Throughout my life, God speaks to me through my determination at working hard, starting on a new project, and the joy at seeing the fruits of my labor. This is how God communicates to me, this is where God leads me.

 

Here’s to walking our own path.

 

Yours truly,
a girl who dreams

 

Esther’s Prayer

A few weeks ago, one of the daily readings was about the story of Esther. I was so excited to see that because Esther is probably one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament. Her story has always stuck with me because I felt that she was a strong woman who was strong in her faith. I’ve always admired her relationship with God and even once tried to imitate her by taking three days for prayer before making a big life decision.

However, reading the story for the first time in awhile, I saw it in a new light:

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”
(Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25)

I could see just how much anguish she was in and how fervently she prayed. That last line, “turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness,“ really got to me. Instead of just praying for happiness, she also prayed for wholeness. Without wholeness, happiness becomes fleeting. Wholeness is what we really want. Wholeness makes us complete.

During Mass this morning I thought about this. I thought about the craziness my life had been lately. I thought about the ups and the downs. Sometimes it seemed like a lot of downs. I knew that I needed to pray for wholeness a lot more than happiness.

“Lord, make me whole,” I prayed. “Make me whole.”