failing to see strengths

(It’s apparently nearly impossible to find pictures of myself. Sarah to the rescue again!)


Yesterday, a friend expressed concerns over my focus on failures. And yes, it’s part of the series, but she’s not the first person to worry this month, and she suggested I take a day to focus on strengths instead.

I don’t wanna.

It is so much more comfortable for me to tell you unflattering stories and share my struggles than it is to list off things I’m good at. I can think of some, but I don’t really want to talk about it…

So there’s another thing I’m bad at, but I’m going to take a minute to push through.

  • I love my babies. Like a lot.
  • I can care for babies pretty well.
  • I’m really good at having babies. As a brother-in-law flatteringly pointed out, we Smith women are “good birthin’ stock.”
  • I lactate like a boss. Or like a cow. (Speaking of livestock…)
  • I talk to my kids all the freaking time. Word poverty is a real thing, and my children do not suffer.
  • My sister tells me that I’m really good at distilling theology for my kids. I don’t know if this is true, but my kids have gotten darn good at verbalizing theology to me in the most succinct and profound ways, so I’m guessing she’s right.
  • I love my siblings and I’m pretty good at being their sister most of the time.
  • I am an empath. This cuts both ways, for sure, but I’m really good at feeling with people. If you hurt and you need someone to hurt with you, I’m your girl.
  • I am super good at math and English. A friend pointed out that you’re only supposed to be good at one or the other—it’s unfair that I’m good at both. She isn’t wrong.
  • I’m good at cooking. Not baking, mind you, but I can put stuff in a pan and make it dinner.
  • I can totally read. I rock at literacy. I’m at 44 books for the year, which is 20 over my annual goal. Yay, me!
  • I’m funny. Well, I think I’m hilarious, anyway.
  • I am good at being a friend. I’m not necessarily very good at making them (introvert problems), but once we’re friends, I’m in it.
  • I’ve gotten strong. Andrew and I occasionally get into tickle fights (not a euphemism) and he noted a little while ago that I’m way harder to whoop than I used to be.
  • I have gotten reasonably good at photography.
  • I can harmonize by ear. (This is good, because I cannot read music on the fly. If I have a piano handy, I can pick something out, but otherwise, I’m toast.)
  • I picked a really, really good man. I have liked him since I was 15, which, if you think about it, isn’t bad for a 15-year-old.
  • I’m a kind wife. I pay attention to my husband and am frequently good at getting him what he needs before he thinks to verbalize it, which I do, not out of some heavy-handed view of submission, but because I genuinely like the guy and want to make his life better.

These are all really good things. Some of them are just facts; I’m genuinely proud of a few. But you know what I like the most?

I’m learning. I’m not in a rut, just doing the same thing. I’m a whole different human than I was 5 years ago or 15. God is faithful to continue work in my heart and mind.

I’m getting better at self-compassion. I’ve always been really good at compassion for other people, but I’ve historically been awful at giving it to myself. I’m learning. It’s a hard thing. It’s an important thing. It’s a brave thing. I’m more aware now than I have ever been of the grace and compassion Jesus has for me, and that makes a difference in how I treat myself.

I’m learning to be brave by being awkward and saying things that sound totally derpy. Sometimes it’s okay to preface conversations with “This is really awkward, but…” and then say the thing that is true and brave.

I have learned that I can do loving confrontation, even when the outcome is terrible and the other person is manipulative or mean-spirited. I can operate in compassion and authenticity regardless of the other’s behavior.

I am learning that it’s totally okay to set the kids in front of the screen to take some minutes (hours) to do some things that make me come alive.

I’ve learned what some of those things are—a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to name any.

I have learned to thank God for the smallest things, and it’s rewired my brain.

I am learning that failure is not something to run from, but a thing to embrace. It’s not a thing I strive for (obviously), but it happens frequently and God always supplies more than enough grace.

What’s your list?

Yeah, it totally feels weird. But go ahead and try it. You can share it or not, but it’s good to take a second to focus on what we’re good at for a change.


This post is part of a 31-day series called “Grace in Failure.” Other posts from the series can be found here.

31days of grace in failure 4-3

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Author: robininalaska

Just another mom trying to follow Jesus and do a good job and enjoy it.

2 thoughts on “failing to see strengths”

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