Recently, I have started playing ping pong again. Growing up, My Dad, my brother and I used to play ping pong all of the time! We would have tournaments at night before we went to bed. All three of us are pretty competitive people and none of us like to lose. Over time, we would constantly try to get better and exploit each others weaknesses. My weakness was and is my backhand shot.
I would spend hours trying to work on my backhand. I would spend so much time working on overcoming my weakness. Overtime, my backhand got a little better but has never become great.
I remember one day my Dad said to me, “Stop working so hard on your weakness and start focusing on your strengths.” Huh, it never even occurred to me to do that. My strength is my serve and forehand spike. I started to work on my serve and my forehand. What I found was this: if I could serve it really well people would be forced to hit the ball to my forehand. My serve would tee up my forehand spike! As I worked on my strengths I began to become a better ping pong player.
Why is it so easy to focus on our weaknesses and ignore our strengths? It could be because people tend to always point out our weaknesses and ignore our strengths. They tend to see that one bad grade on your report card, or that one day you got to work late, or the one time you lost your temper, or that one accident or speeding ticket on your record.
What if we decided that instead of spending all of our time trying to improve our weaknesses, we asked God to help us in the areas we were weak and we poured our effort into our strengths.
The apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 12:9, But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Did he really say that he would boast gladly about his weaknesses? That sounds like a crazy idea! What if it were true? What if we could give our weaknesses to God and rely on His power? What if we focused our effort on our strengths?
Everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses.
My good friend Les Morrison recently said, “if you look for the bad in people you will find it every time.”
What if we started focusing on our strengths and the strengths of others around us?
Let me tell you what would happen. Our self-confidence would grow! Our self-esteem would grow! Our self-image would be positive! You would be able to say “so long insecurity” and “Hey there self confidence”!
Here is the challenge:
Make a list of five of your strengths right now. List one way you can work on each one of those strengths going forward.
Remember, your life is NOT small. You have so much to offer when you focus on your strengths!
I have a confession to make and I’m thinking I’m not alone on this one. I suffer from “Acute Time Delusion Syndrome.”
What is “Acute Time Delusion Syndrome” you ask? It’s the perpetual belief that I can accomplish more than any human being should be asked to accomplish in a set amount of time. And yes, I think I just made that up. However, if this is a real syndrome, my apologies for taking all the credit.
Because of “Acute Time Delusion Syndrome” I assume it completely logical that I should be able to get 15 things crossed off my to-do list, receive and record epic revelations from Scripture as I spend time communing with God while drinking gourmet coffee, get in a great workout, have plenty of time to get dressed, put on my make-up and do my hair in an effortless 5 minutes flat like Pinterest promises me I can. And of course, this can all be accomplished before I set out on my morning commute, peacefully. Ahem.
Yesterday, I did have a great time with the Lord in the morning and got in a pretty decent workout. However, then things derailed. I got way behind schedule and ended up running 20 min late for my appointment, threw my hair in a haphazard 2nd day ponytail, and did a majority of my makeup at stoplights. If you have yet to curl your eyelashes while driving, you haven’t lived.
I say all that to say, everyone of us need those little tricks up our sleeves to make our lives simpler. Tricks to save and redeem our precious time and dollars. I have been the Queen of unrealistic expectations in the land of over-complicated juggling for far too long. And when I can toss away that crown and streamline a few things, I am all too happy to do it. And while I can’t magically add more hours to your day, what I CAN do is show you a few tricks to hopefully add a little ease to one aspect of your life: errands.
SO, today I want to offer you a couple of Smartphone Apps I discovered that have uncomplicated a few things for this household.
First, THE app for everyone’s favorite store, Target! Do you have the Cartwheel App yet? If not, go grab this Free little gem.
Whether you need face lotion, cheese or an area rug, there is probably a coupon on Cartwheel. Just click on the categories, select your coupon and it gets automatically loaded to your phone.
At checkout, let the cashier scan the bar code on your phone and YOU just saved money on stuff you needed anyway without having to cut any coupons. #Win
Next, the hub for online coupons is also an app: RetailMeNot.
RetailMeNot is pre-loaded with current available in-store AND online coupons. Everyone from Pier One to Express to Home Depot is on RetailMeNot and it couldn’t be easier. Just click on the store you’re going to, select “in-store offers” (or “online offers” if you prefer shopping in your PJ’s or on your lunch break) and see what’s available.
Once you select your offer, just show your phone to the cashier and revel in how savvy you are.
Last, but certainly not least is ShopStyle.
This one. This one is a game changer for all things Fashion, Beauty and Home. Lets say you “NEED” an orange purse in your life, but don’t have hours to go looking or “Googling” the perfect one. Say hello Shopstyle. Simply click through-Women-bags
-hmmmmm-feeling a Satchel maybe?-orange-pick your price and…
BAM you now have a narrowed selection to choose from. Please excuse me while I have a moment with this purse on clearance for $17.50! :)
You can both buy it right through the App or save it to your “favorites” list and find it in store. Either way, you just saved yourself a TON of time. I’ve shopped for everything from couches to shoes, to the perfect bridesmaids earrings on this app and it never disappoints.
So here’s to making life slightly simpler! I’d love to hear your favorite tricks, tips and apps as well!
Until next time…