I am an achiever. I like to accomplish things and get frustrated if my list is not complete, or if a goal gets interrupted. I have lists of lists to check off so each day I can see what I have completed. Achieving is actually a strength, and I’ve been studying the personality strengths.
An ironic thing is that every strength needs a balance. Sometimes the very strength that attracted us to someone becomes an irritation when we experience it 24/7 or when it is not in balance. Over-achieving or more likely over-committing would be an example that could be a danger for me – and not the best way of utilizing a natural God-given strength.
Thinking about my strengths being a gift from God, and a ‘natural’ strength which I can build up, ignore, over-use, or under-nourish, gives me a perspective, and also a reminder that something that a natural strength is something I enjoy. That is a gift in itself. Discovering teaching and ways I can ‘work-out’ those strength muscles and develop my gifts to better communicate the gospel is always exciting to me. There is always temptation for an achiever to feel like I missed the mark if my view of completion does not occur. The realization that my achievements are MEANT to be incomplete – is another gift.
This prose by Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero from Sydney, Australia says it so well:
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day may grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
… It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
1Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
It reminds me that my efforts are supposed to be incomplete, but a part of the bigger picture eternally. This is an awesome pressure reliever.