treasureBy Dennis J. Trittin

When you look at yourself in the mirror, whom do you see? Is the image clear or blurry? Do you like what you see or wish you could have a makeover? Are you a kitten who sees a lion, or a lion who sees a kitten?

Unfortunately, we lack a true understanding of ourselves because can’t see ourselves the way our Creator does. Our perception is distorted through our own biased lens. Each one of us is filled with valuable treasure (Psalm 139:14-18), but much of it lies buried beneath the surface, waiting to be revealed.

This issue is arguably most prominent with adolescents. At this time of life, they’re trying to answer fundamental questions like:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I have to offer?
  3. What are my opportunities?

They’re making life-changing decisions, often without truly understanding themselves and how God has equipped them. Rachel Scott, like most teens, struggled with this in I’m Not Ashamed. I admire the film’s authenticity in dealing with issues of identity and an uncertain future—so intense in the high school years.  

God considers us His treasure and fills us with assets, qualities, skills, experiences, and passions to fulfill His purposes and impact our world. Through prayer for discernment and a commitment to self-discovery, we can better understand our uniqueness and value. Then, we can make more informed decisions and align our lives accordingly. That’s huge! But how?

Here’s one way to “mine your treasure.” It’s a special assignment we call the Personal Balance Sheet that you can access here. It not only helps you assess your own unique assets/strengths, but it also captures the invaluable perspectives of others who know you well and have your best interests at heart! As you complete this project, you’ll have a much more complete and accurate perspective of … You! It’s a wonderful project for the entire family and especially valuable for your teens.

Here’s a flavor of your personal asset categories:

Foundational Assets

  • Physical: strength, speed, agility, dexterity
  • Mental: intelligence, reasoning, creativity, subject specific
  • Behavioral: personality, attitude, emotional intelligence
  • Spiritual: faith, values, inspirational experiences

Relational Assets

  • Support System: companionship, security, love from others
  • Network: pool of personal and professional ambassadors

Aspirational Assets

  • Experiential: credentials, life skills, service, leadership
  • Interests: knowledge pursuits, recreation, leisure
  • Passions and Dreams: desires, causes, purpose, goals

The power of affirmation from others cannot be overstated. They will reveal assets you never realized or fully appreciated. Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when the Wizard honored the Scarecrow with a degree, the Tin Man with a heart, and the Cowardly Lion with a badge of courage? They each had smarts, kindness, and courage, but it took someone else to call it out for them to believe it! And, so it is with real life.

Great leaders are self aware and lead from their strengths. How has God uniquely designed and equipped you? Your family?

Dennis J. Trittin is the President and CEO of LifeSmart Publishing, LLC and the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead; and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Learn more at