Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
I'm a starter. When called to something, I jump on it and get the ball rolling. But I have to admit, I'm not very good at finishing. That's not to say that I don't finish, but for me, finishing what I start does not come without a fight. All I kept thinking during those last few weeks finishing my manuscript was, "I want to quit! I want to quit!! I want to quit!!!" I knew I wouldn't let myself quit, but I wanted to. I wanted to give up the fight. I wanted to take the easy road. I wanted to sit myself down in front of the TV or read a book or do just about anything other than write––all things I hadn't done for months. But I was determined to finish even though it took every bit of will I had and a strength that truly was not my own.
A while back, my Bible study group and I took a strengths assessment called Strengths Finder 2.0. It was a remarkably accurate assessment that I'd recommend to just about anyone. But here's the thing. I was convinced before receiving my results that one of my strengths would be "achiever," but it wasn't. Instead, the assessment showed that I was an "initiator," and quite honestly, that made sense. I never really thought about it that way, but I am a starter. Any "achievement" I attain seems to come with a large measure of resistance and is accomplished by prayer and a sheer determination to finish whatever I set out to do.
Finishing is not my strength, it my weakness. And I think that's okay.
You see, God gives both strengths and weaknesses to every one of us. Each of us have been given specific gifts and talents to be used to the glory of God to further the Kingdom. We are His hands and feet in this world. His vessels of grace to be poured out. And I do believe it's important for each of us to know our gifts. To claim them and begin using them as we pursue God's call on our lives. But I also believe it's important to know our weaknesses. To know where we fall short. But do you know what's amazing about our weaknesses? They have a purpose. God gave them to us, just as He gave us our strengths, and I believe they're intended not to harm, but to bless.
Weaknesses point us to our need for Jesus. They're an opportunity for God's grace to shine in and through us. Scripture tells us we are made strong on our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:10). That the power of God is made perfect in them (2 Corinthians 12:9). And so, I don't see my weaknesses as something to rid myself of, but instead, I see them as a chance to show the world that I can't do this thing called life without my God. As a chance to point every one of my achievements back to the source of my strength. Back to the One who makes it all possible.
It wasn't me who finished that manuscript a couple weeks ago. It was Jesus. I offered my hands. My fingers typed away month after month, but in all reality, it was God who achieved the desired end. And for that, I will be forever grateful.