I've been thinking about potential...


You know the scenario. You are cruising along in life minding your own business. The days are whizzing by and your activities are a blur. Then one morning you wake up shaken from a night of fitful sleep. As you slowly gain consciousness, it hits you. A deeply troubling question forms in your mind, "Am I living up to my potential?" It is followed closely by its evil twins: Am I missing the point? Am I wasting my life?

My observations tell me that I am stirred this way often after a particularly wonderful time of self-indulgence. Perhaps, I even feel a little bit guilty about how I eagerly absorb the gracious luxuries of life that God blesses me with from time to time.

What caused me to get off track, shaken to my core, about the course of my life? Defining terms always helps me sort out my thinking. Potential means something present and capable of becoming but not now visible or active.

For a while I added a quote from The Lion King to my e-mail signature. It goes like this, "You are more than you have become!" Yikes! This stirs me up but in what way? If it is followed with accusations like - "Holly, you are wasting your life!" - "You are lazy and ineffective!" - I am tempted to begin to take back control of my life. I think I know better and I distrust the way my Heavenly Father is handling me. This, however, takes me down a dark path.

To help bring balance to my thinking, I turn to James 1:25 in the New American Standard Bible which says, But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

The word translated "looks intently" is in contrast to a casual glance. It pictures a person stooping over to see something better. It means a careful examination because of the importance of the subject under consideration. When a truly wise person looks closely at the Word of God and acts accordingly, there is a promise of blessing that follows. This means God will favor me with things like well-being, prosperity, contentment and satisfaction. I certainly want that!

My potential is always present because God put it there to motivate me - to move me toward the things He desires to do with my life - sort of like the phrase "already but not yet!" My heart tells me that I can only know now what God allows me to know. I can only run with the vision I have and wait for new vision to come.

This brings me to my concern. I don't believe a child of God should force doors open. Impatience is the potential trap with potential! I believe when I wait on Him to open a door then I have confidence that I am following His guidance and direction and not my own. In the meantime my responsibility is to look intently into His Word and obey as best I can.

Instead of cruel accusations these are the blessed encouragements I receive when I am blessed by God. Holly, you are pleasing an audience of ONE - your Heavenly Father. You are walking in obedience moment by moment. You are open and receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. You are praying about and looking for opportunities to advance God's Kingdom. You are following a course with your life that will bring God glory. You are entrusting your needs and concerns to Jesus. You are loving the body of Christ. You are growing in your understanding of God's Word. You are honoring your parents. You are nurturing your children and grandchildren. Your life is filled with a sense of well-being. You are blessed!

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son... and those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. Romans 8:29,30