I don’t believe in accidents.
Well, let me be a bit more specific. I don’t believe people are the result of accidents.
Have you ever considered how unique each of us is? We can be identified by our fingerprints, our facial structure, and even how we walk. Scientists now believe our tongue prints can be used in biometric identification. Imagine—no one else has the same patterns on their tongue as you do. And we’re supposed to believe all of this is a matter of happenstance?
A few years ago, I went back to school to study organizational leadership. In my first class, we read about studies that set out to uncover what makes a person a great leader. What these studies determined is that great leaders are not the result of possessing certain leadership traits, rather, they understand and use their unique arrangements of natural giftings1.
In fact, one research group has identified 34 strengths common to humans. They posit that there are no two people on earth with the same ranking of those strengths2. I find this to be further proof of what God has said all along—that we are created with purpose3. Indeed, there are no accidental people here.
Romans 12:4-8 (CSB) puts it like this:
Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
You and I have each been created with a unique set of strengths for specific purposes. I like to refer to our strengths as our superpowers—they are how God has gifted us to advance his Kingdom4.
Even so, it’s quite easy to get caught up in living for all the wrong purposes and meanings. When we don’t use our strengths to live our purposes, we find ourselves discouraged, aimless, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. Life can feel pointless; we can feel trivial5.
But when we recognize both our giftings and their worth, research shows we are six times more likely to be engaged with whatever we’re pursuing, and three times more likely to feel great purpose in life. Not only that, scripture tells us we—with all our natural talents—are the light of the world, and that our good works bring glory to God6.
When we use our strengths, we have higher levels of PERMA—an acronym psychologists used to refer to the five components that make up our well-being7.
- P = Positive emotions—feeling good
- E = Engagement—becoming so engaged in an activity we come to perform it with ease and may even lose track of time
- R = Relationships—building strong connections with others
- M = Meaning—finding purpose
- A = Achievement—having satisfaction in that purpose
My primary strengths include strategy, communication, input, ideation, and belief. This means my brain is especially good at finding patterns amidst chaos, and communicating the results in clear and concise ways. I love thinking about ideas, especially when they can be used to encourage others. And I’m fascinated with words—their meaning, power, and expression.
This is why I write.
When I live my strengths, I feel better. I’m more engaged in what I’m doing. My relationships are stronger. I have more fun! I find deep satisfaction and meaning in serving God. And I’m much more hopeful for the future.
Writing isn’t something I can do, or even want to do… so much as it is something I just do. It’s a natural part of how I was created and purposed. As a result, and according to the grace given to me, I write to see Jesus glorified and people drawn to him.
(1) Successful Leadership: Understands Your Greatest Strengths
(2) Your Best Day at Work (and How to Have More Like It)
(3) Genesis 1, Psalm 139, Ephesians 2:10
(4) Ephesians 2:10
(5) The Search for Purpose in Life: An Exploration of Purpose, the Search Process, and Purpose Anxiety
(6) Matthew 5:14-16
(7) Seligman, Martin E. P.. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. India, Atria Books, 2012.
This post was written as part of my participation in one of GCD’s writer’s cohorts, in April 2021.