Toxic skills are actually gifts that God has given us. However, they have been allowed to overstep their useful bounds. It will help us to consider that they are actually a means to an end. We are meant to use them as tools. For example, if you were building a bench, you would not consider the saw to be more important than the finished project, would you? Likely not. The finished bench would be the thing of beauty, not the saw. The saw is merely a tool to accomplish the task of making the bench.
Here is an example of how this worked out in my life:
I am an entrepreneurial artist, as well as an extrovert who has ever met a stranger. Unknown folks are merely friends that I don’t know yet. I have started a few businesses in my adult life. I need the skills of mathematical proficiency, investing and accounting in order to allow new churches, and other 501c3 organizations to thrive. They are tools for my broader, more strategic vocation of helping people find their voice. Accounting skills are like the saw… they are tools meant to fade into the background and support the end product.
Your toxic skill is someone else’s greatest joy and your joy is someone else’s greatest nightmare. I had a business partner who really hated talking in front of a crowd. Conversely, I come alive in front of a crowd. She loves administration, which makes me break out in hives. She was creative and fast in all things tech! I am unable to make anything on the back end of a website work right. I have another friend who is actualized, as in a spiritual experience, when she balances the books. Financial statements are her Van Gogh’s. There is someone who really loves to do what is toxic to you. Make it your opportunity to find that person. You will be happier and so will he or she.
I hope this short series on Toxic Skills has given you some ‘aha’ moments. There is more about this topic in my book Your Vocational Credo Practical Step to Discover Your Unique Purpose available through Amazon and Intervarsity Press. I would love to hear your comments and experiences with toxic skills.