(yes, this is a totally awkward photo from the past. Feel better about yourself yet? Also, Luke was such a "well-fed" baby)
A few months before Josh and I moved to College Station, TX for him to attend A&M, I had a job interview for an assistant bilingual teacher position at a local public elementary school.
I was pretty nervous because they told me at the beginning of the interview that they were going to conduct part of the interview in Spanish. Even though my Spanish wasn't bad, I was a little rusty after a couple years of inconsistent use and felt pretty anxious about actually having to speak Spanish in front of a group of interviewers.
And then the question came. I heard it in Spanish and the panic rose.
What are your strengths?
Um. One strength is definitely not answering this question in Spanish. I can hardly find an answer for this one in English.
I have absolutely no idea what I said. But I do remember that my Spanish was so horrible that I felt like sinking into the floor. I knew that I had the ability to do the job, but I definitely should have taken some time to refresh and use my Spanish skills before entering that interview.
Even if someone asks me that question in English, I feel like my response is often awkward and unsure. I feel timid and weird about the question. I think that the reason it makes me feel uncomfortable is because it's like pointing a giant, "HEY GUYS, NICOLE IS GOOD AT X, Y, Z" sign at myself.
But, lately, I've been realizing that there is no harm in acknowledging and accepting my strengths. In fact, I think that it's good. Not acknowledging and learning about my strengths is like saying to my Creator, "Hey Lord! It's nice and all that you gave me gifts in these areas, but I really don't care to use them."
No. He created one Nicole. And He gave me a set of strengths for a reason--they weren't a flippant, "well, I'll sprinkle a little determination into Nicole-- that will spice things up!"
Every strength that I have is a gift from Him--to use or to hide, to grow or to squander.
So, I'm going to name a few of my strengths--not out of pride and "hey look at me" but as "Hey, look at the cool gifts God so generously gave to me."
Here I go.
- I am good at connecting people to others, products, organizations, etc. I absolutely love to connect people to organizations that I think they'd love, products that made me think of them, or people I think they'd enjoy knowing.
- I am determined. Although this can manifest in negative ways sometimes, I consider it a strength. My determination has often been what sees me through from point A to point B and drives me to move forward.
- I am calm. I see this as a strength because it's often what's needed in the middle of a crisis or when everyone else is flapping around like crazy birds. It's kinda hard to ruffle my feathers unless you pick a few choice topics/ideas ;)
- I am faithful. If you give me a task or group that is important to me, I will be a part of it until the end. Sometimes this strength has hurt me (such as when I was faithful to someone/something and they were not to me), but I am thankful for it.
- I am good at generating ideas. I love, love, love to think up ideas. Doing them--not so much. Of course, I'm not good at finding ideas for everything, but in general, this is something that I enjoy and am good at doing.
- I am good at anticipating and thinking ahead. I like to plan and think ahead at what it is the future and make adjustments to the present to anticipate changes, problems, etc.
- I don't take myself too seriously. Can't you tell from the above picture?
- I am a peacemaker. I absolutely hate conflict and often see both sides of the same issue. So, don't expect me to ever be in debate club (gives me shivers just thinking about it!)
- I am creative and imaginative. Not in all things (of course!), but I love exercising the creative and imaginative part of my brain.
Those are just a few of my gazillion strengths (kidding, kidding). I believe that for me to really, really believe that who I am is beautiful, I have to be willing to accept and enjoy my strengths. Beyond accepting and enjoying them, I want to use them--not only as a blessing to those in my life but as worship towards my Creator who gave them to me.
Questions of the day:
What are your strengths? Do you feel like you use them or hide them? Are you unsure about what strengths you do have? Is there anyone you can ask who would know you well enough to give you some feedback? What strengths do you want to use more in your life?