In the last blog post, we learned that life is designed by God to be lived as a “team sport.” If it is a team sport, it only makes sense that you should focus the majority of your time doing what you do best. God wants you to maximize your personal gifts and abilities for the good of the team.
Every believer has special and unique gifts he or she can contribute in service of others. None of us is meant to be a “do it all” generalist. Rather, each one of us has special functions that are designed to complement one another. Great lives are not built by improving weaknesses, but by maximizing strengths.
You might be thinking, I’m not really sure what my gifts and passions are.
In summary, here’s how you can discover your area of giftedness:
- Walk with God in humility
- Serve faithfully
- Pray and ask for direction
- Study and evaluate your gifts and passions
- Evaluate—how has God used me so far?
- Adjust by focusing on your strengths and letting go of your weaknesses
Over time, another problem often arises: as we use our area of giftedness, we become involved in more and more activities to the point that we’re back in overload mode again. We return to being overloaded, overworked, and overwhelmed. How can we keep that from happening?
Above is a diagram you might find helpful as you determine your priorities. I use this in my “How to Lead and Still Have a Life” seminar to help people figure out what they should and should not be doing.
Every person has unique gifts, unique passions, and unique experiences. They make you who you are and enrich your ability to serve. The zone where these three gifts overlap is your zone of “optimum capability.” It is where your time is invested with the greatest return and you provide optimum value.
You want to serve as much as possible in the zone where the three circles overlap.
When you live with focus, serving others from your strengths, enhanced by your unique passions and experiences, life gets exciting. Your impact goes up and your sense of busyness goes down. You accomplish more on less. You stop spreading yourself too thin, and experience a sense of real accomplishment. You are now making a difference, having an impact.
The difference between a river and a swamp is focus. The river has a narrow, deep channel that focuses the force of the stream and carries things forward. It gets you to your destination. It brings life and makes a difference.
A swamp has just as much water as the river, but lacks a well-defined channel. It becomes a shallow body of water going nowhere, covering a lot of ground, as it stagnates and stinks. It breeds disease and death.
Which do you want to be?