Potential–Develop It!

I believe one of the worst things anyone can do is to die with potential! I recommend you die with failures from trying before you decide to just die with potential. Potential is something to be realized. Talent to be developed. Not guarded. Or ignored. Or protected. Life comes from the inside out and whether you have one talent or multiple, it is meant for you to dig and develop. :o) There will always be setbacks. They come in all forms. Some come when you least expect it. :o)

When you dig and seek to develop, it is very unrealistic to think that you won’t experience failures, setbacks, frustrations. That is how we grow. That is how we mature. That is how we move forward. That is how we get better….and realize our potential. God has never promised an easy life. He does promise and desire for us to have an abundant life. To get to that abundant life we will experience adversity at times. It is not a matter of if, only a matter of when. In the Back 9 for sure…I can say adversity comes in all kinds of ways but it definitely comes. It is what we do when the adversity comes that matters most.

As I have lived life, I have seen a failure or a bad experience, which can be painful, take people out of their God-ordained strength zone. Too many times I have seen it cause someone to stop their potential…or stagnate it. Sometimes the failure or setback is from our own doing. But sometimes it can be from an “attack” based on someone else’s agenda or from criticism or greed. It may come from someone’s negative opinion stemming from their jealousy or their own selfish motives…to move ahead of you. It can exist in the work place, friendships, classrooms, teams, all places in life. Job’s life is a good example of the fact that bad things happen. Job 3:26 describes how we all feel at times. “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”

I have witnessed this firsthand with our children in the world of athletics. Our daughter Collins went through a coaching change in college. The coach who recruited Collins was fired after Collins’ freshman year. We never found out exactly why. Collins was asked to continue playing for the team but the new coach had a different style of coaching and values that were opposite to all Collins had ever known in competition and in life. Stepping away from golf…a passion where Collins had much potential…a talent which she had developed for years…was a setback…painful…and devastating. It has been a slow recovery…. but now, two years later, after allowing things to settle, she/we have witnessed many things and matured in certain ways. We have spent much time seeking God and allowing His timing to reveal His plan, His will, for her.

Time is often used by God to show us His plan. Time is a tool to shape us and to grow us. Strong trees don’t grow overnight. They grow and mature over time. People are just like trees. God grows us over time. :o) Adversity is training ground in God’s plan. It is a time that God uses to strengthen us, to redirect us, or to suspend us for a while to mature and complete us to reveal Himself to us, to increase our trust of Him and His plan.

For Collins, two years down the road (which at times has seemed like an eternity), answers have come. Not complete answers but some answers and lessons. The painful experience, the setback, was ultimately God’s protection, a covering of Collins’ heart. But it was also to mature her in learning how God wants us to forgive wrongs done against us.

Jesus’ life is the ultimate demonstration of betrayal. When we suffer, it allows us to grow in character. We want to be shaped in His image and that cannot be without persecution. James chapter 1 has taken on a REAL-life meaning to all of us. Her experience was a very painful and life-altering time. It has been great to see that God does make “all things work for good”. The coach that Collins chose to play for, a coach who loves Jesus, has not only recovered, but she has thrived and succeeded in a major way. She was named Coach of the Year. She had the Freshman of the Year and the Player of the Year along with her team winning the conference championship. This, among other things, in just the two years she has been at Furman. :o) Collins knew that she had selected a great coach to play for in Kelly…it never hurts to have your choices validated.

For Collins, the step away drove her to God’s arms. It allowed her to join a small group in her church, to go on a missions trip over spring break, and make new friends off the golf course. She had the opportunity to join two teams in the working world, one at Chick-fil-A and one at Pure Barr of Athens. What a blessing to have two different settings with bosses who could be trusted in what they said and did, who had integrity and didn’t call her unthinkable names. They praised her, taught her, corrected and trained her in a positive way.

Both experiences have given her a bigger picture. There are places where she can find people she can trust and believe in. It has been interesting to observe Collins’ live out loud forgiveness of the one who hurt her. Understanding and releasing someone to God, knowing that God loves and created everyone, even the ones who don’t have your greater good in mind.

It has been good for her mother too. I just thought I had been tested in the forgiveness category until she was hurt. God had major plans for me as well. In God’s timing He does reveal all things. He rewards a sincere heart and, over time, you see that He hates darkness…….and will reveal it.

I can’t help but think of Bill Cosby. For years he was able to have a very “dark and sick agenda”. His fame, his humor, his success was the covering for a very selfish, crude and evil agenda toward others. Eventually God and time are a revealer of evil. Vindication sometimes comes in this life, not always but sometimes. Never forget, God hates evil.

Proverbs 6:16-19, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Point of post: do not let someone’s evil, someone’s jealousy or evil intent, take you out of the game. Don’t let it keep you from developing your talent or make you think you don’t have potential. Don’t let it keep you from sincere and genuine forgiveness.

Failure is a part to life regardless of whether it is by your efforts or someone else’s selfish desire that sidelines you. Forgiveness is also a major part of life. In order to live abundantly do not let adversity/failure/pain keep you stuck.

It is not about falling as much as it is about getting back up. It is about opening your heart to God and allowing Him to carve, shape, show, demonstrate His love and care of you. He knows the future; we do not. He does cause all things to work for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

OUR job is to be about His purpose…not ours. Be willing to give God your potential…to risk failure and push backs. Allowing Him to shape you and keep you moving. Not falling prey to the evil one who desires to render you motionless and stuck.

Jesus reminds us that life will be hard but we can be encouraged. John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I love this quote by Pope John XXIII, “Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustration, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed but with what is still possible for you to do.”

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