Strengths and weaknesses. We all have some of those. I’ve learned over the years that it’s extremely important to know them both.

On one hand, my strength may be to give all I have and am to a cause, and on the other hand my weakness may be to miss the ‘right in front of me’ information. This knowledge is so important, so crucial.

One of the reasons is that there are few persons, if any, who would give you any grace for your weaknesses. As loudly as you will be praised for your strengths, by many, you will be condemned for your weaknesses.

The second reason is this: to be complete persons of faith, we must “not consider ourselves more highly than we ought” (Romans 12:3). This means that we have a good judgement of who we are. No exaggerating, good or bad. The Lord has blessed me with such and such gift, but only by His grace can I walk in the gift in faithfulness and excellence. In this statement, I’m acknowledging the truth. It does not make me proud to acknowledge something that God has done, neither does it make me weak by acknowledging that I desperately need His help.

Can I talk about people for a moment? There’s something I have learned about people, and it’s similar to the lesson I’ve learned about myself. It’s important to love, and to keep loving others, but not to overestimate anyone’s goodness. My love for my neighbour isn’t dependent on my neighbour’s goodness. I have to acknowledge that my neighbour could and probably would hurt me very badly. Yes: my literal neighbours, my family, my friends, my housemate, my colleagues at work, and the list goes on.

I talked about people to say that we are in desperate need of grace, and besides the grace God gives us, we are in desperate need of the grace we give ourselves, having received grace from the Lord.

Girl, have mercy! Have mercy on yourself. Have mercy on yourself because few people would. You need that grace and love. You need to be having a different conversation with yourself on the inside while you’re being pummelled with your faults (for they are many) by others. You didn’t do this right. You did this wrong. You messed up. You disappointed me. I can’t believe you did this and that. And there are the subtle ones: the look of condemnation, the look of disappointment sometimes worse than the words. And they strip you of your strength in that moment. That’s why you need to give yourself grace, or should I say, rather, you need to receive the grace of God for you.

And finally, be prepared. Know your strengths and be ready to both to work on your weaknesses, and to protect yourself in those areas where you are weak, for you have a number of those. Allow God’s strength to be made perfect in your weaknesses, not by hiding them or denying them, and certainly, absolutely not by looking to others to affirm you or give you permission to flourish.

You will do many amazing things – I pray that by God’s grace you will. You will also make many mistakes (at least if you’re like me). And when you do, girl, have mercy on you!

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