I was having lunch with one of my dearest friends, Cindy, who lives in Kansas City. We were enjoying some wonderful barbeque and I was talking about my recent job loss and what had happened. She said, “Dale, your strength is your weakness.” I asked her to elaborate. She went on to say that in life we all have strengths, things we do well. We might think our strengths will always help us in life and especially in a work setting, but sometimes they don’t. In fact, our strengths can work against us and become our weakness.

Those strengths may even have impacted why you don’t have your job now.

As an example, you might be very good at always meeting your goals; you are an achiever. Does that make you the favorite person in your department? Probably not. Those who don’t produce as well will feel inferior or be intimidated. So your strength might be a weakness in your relationships with peers.

You might be very good at holding people accountable for their work performance and their responsibilities. If you do, I doubt that those you hold accountable appreciate that quality. Don’t be surprised if they spread rumors that you didn’t “treat them well” because that deflects attention from their productivity. Your strength in holding people accountable can become a weakness for you.

This also happens with the devil, who is always around us. Remember what is said about the devil in 1 Peter 5: 8-11?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

The devil is always looking to mess with us, to take us “down a notch.” He picks at our strengths, weaknesses, and fears. When I was out of work, he came at me. How about you? Do you sense he’s around coming to get you?

One of my personal traits is “perfection” in my work. While I know it was never perfect, I worked hard to do it the best I could. Doing it “okay” wasn’t good enough. I took pride in the results. But it’s a weakness now that I’m unemployed because the devil says I don’t have any value because I don’t have any work to do. And at times, I believe him. Then I stop and remember that God controls everything—not me—and God loves me. In those tough times I need to say “be gone Satan” and trust God.

When you’re tempted to believe the devil’s lies, stand firm in your faith and tell him to “take a hike!”

This week’s blog is an excerpt from How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them , By author Dale Kreienkamp.

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