Strengths and Weaknesses: Where’s Our Focus?


I ran across a description of the ostrich recently while reading my Bible (Job 39:13-18), and that poor monster of a bird seems to have more weaknesses  than strengths.  In the span of six verses of scripture, at least five negatives are highlighted, compared to only one, maybe two, positives.

The ostrich’s weaknesses include: her wings flap joyfully but can’t compare to the pinions and feathers of the stork (v.13), she lays her eggs on the ground where they might be stepped on and crushed by man or beast (v. 14-15), she treats her young harshly—as if they are not even hers (v. 16), God did not bestow wisdom upon her (v. 17), nor did God give her an ounce of common sense (v. 18). Nothing like having our shortcomings laid out there for the whole world to see, huh?

But in spite of these weaknesses listed one after the other, the passage about the ostrich ends by highlighting her great strength. Verse 18 says, “Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.” In other words, the girl can run. In spite of her many faults, her strength shines above all. Yes, God has given her a special talent, a special ability.

I don’t know about you, but like the ostrich, I have a lot of weaknesses, too—lots of things I’m not very good at doing, areas where I have very little talent at all. Some of the weaknesses are even character flaws or problems with sinful attitudes or reactions. I could make a list of my weaknesses here to rival and go beyond the length of the ostrich’s, but I’ll spare you the gory details.

That’s not the end of my story, though. Just like the ostrich, God has given me a few special talents and abilities. I don’t have to be mired down in my weaknesses and inabilities. I can choose to focus on my strengths and use them for God’s glory. Like the ostrich, I can run with what God’s given me.

Will you join me in focusing on the strengths God has blessed us with? As we do so, we will surely flourish the way he intends. Let’s not highlight our weaknesses. Let’s shine for him!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 KJV

 *What strengths and abilities has the Lord given you?

*Flickr photo by flowcomm, Creative Commons License

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!


  1. Great thoughts!! I’ve never examined the ostrich mentioned in Job before…the ants of Proverbs yes…and the sloth…but ever the bird I think of as “putting her head in the sand.” I love your perspective much better. Showing the truth of how we focus on the negatives rather than accentuate the positive of our lives. ~ Lately, I have felt surrounded by many more negatives than positives – not directed at me – but drowning my positives. Thank you & God bless

  2. What a wonderful lesson, Cheryl. Focusing on our strengths rather than our weaknesses is so important in our daily lives. Keep running as God wishes you to do.

  3. Zambian Lady says

    Just what I needed today – a reminder that God has blessed me with some talents in spite of all the weaknesses I see in myself.

    • Zambian Lady, I’m so glad this post was just what you needed today. Thanks for letting me know — it’s always such a blessing to hear things like this. Thanks for visiting. Hope you’ll come again!

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