I believe that the millennial generation struggles deeply with this idea of reaching your potential. As I millennial myself, I wrestle with the notion that God has this one calling for our lives that we must achieve against all odds.
For a long time I believed that I existed on this earth to reach my full potential. I was created for this one thing that I must search out for the entirety of my life until I reach it.
Having this idea of God’s calling for my life, however, has left me feeling rather empty.
I have wrapped my identity around the things that I believed were my calling and when I felt like I wasn’t reaching the level of influence or advancement that I believed I should be, I felt like I had misheard God somehow.
Why wasn’t I living to my fullest potential? Had I missed the mark?
I am walking out what God had called me to do. I am a pastor, minister and preacher. I’m reaching the people God called me to minister to. I’m fulfilling my purpose, it just doesn’t look the way that I expected it to.
Here is the definition of the word potential according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
Potential: existing in possibility; capable of development into actuality.
Potential is all about leaving your life’s purpose up to chance. Do you really believe that God is going to allow the purpose of your life to ride on the existence of a possibility? Absolutely not!
Potential says you could be someday while purpose says step into it right now. We should seek to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives! Check it out the definition of purpose:
Purpose: : something set up as an object or end to be attained.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
The purpose of a thing or person is set from the moment of it’s creation. God designed our lives with a specific purpose in mind. We are not imparted potential within our talents to stay stagnant full of dreams. There is more to your life than potential!
If we obsess about the idea of potential, we might just miss our purpose.
I remember when my pastor asked me to help one of our ailing campus churches. The church needed a young assistant pastor to help the church revitalize itself.
I knew in my heart that I was meant to lead and God was calling me to a season of growth and change. I tentatively accepted my pastor’s commission, believing that God was calling me to walk into my full potential.
That particular season of stepping into the pastorate on my own was extremely difficult. I was crushed, beaten and stepped on in ways I never imagined.
I knew I had the potential to be a great leader and preacher. However, this was not what I believed God would use. This was not what I believed would catapult me from potential to purpose.
If I had looked at this season of going back into obscurity and anonymity as a roadblock to fulfilling my potential, I would have never found my true purpose.
In the place that I am today in ministry, I see the process of laying down my “maybe” and “could be” for purpose as my biggest blessing. There is great satisfaction in knowing that my potential is fulfilled within God’s calling and perfect will.
God wants you to step into obedience, not self-promotion.
Over the years I have been made offers I could hardly resist. I’ve had my ego puffed up by the slick words of those that refuse to submit to any type of leadership themselves and end up walking only in their potential.
There have also been seasons that I have been under leadership I did not agree with. The temptation lied in whether I submitted or I got out from under covering.
I felt that my purpose was being stifled simply because I believed I wasn’t being used to my fullest potential by my leadership. However, I submitted to the process.
God desires my radical obedience above all else. In an age of self-promotion, where everyone can be an instant influencer by simply uploading content to their social media, it can be easy to fall prey to pride.
We start replacing our commitment to submit to God’s voice and our local body of leaders with promoting our own agenda. If it seems that our leaders are trying to block us from reaching our potential, we simply bypass the process of discipleship and start creating our own platform.
This is a scary place to be. Just look at the recent headlines in Christendom. Leaders are falling prey to the trap set by the devil himself: “You don’t need God or the church, you can do this on your own!”
Listen y’all, God wants you to be successful and walk out a life you love. Not because it looks the way you want it to, but because it has the eternal weight of God’s purpose.
God doesn’t care if you’re Instagram is littered with impressive content depicting you reaching what you believe is your full potential. He wants you to live radically obedient to his instructions!
God’s purpose for you life will always glorify him more than you!
Have you ever received a “word from the Lord” in which someone told you that you have incredible potential? I have!
At first hearing that I had potential was exhilarating. I have potential? Yay!
However, the weight of those words began burdening my heart. I wanted there to be more to me than just potential to do something. I wanted to be actually doing something.
More than having the possibility of walking out what I believed to be God’s one “calling” for my life, I wanted to make sure that I was walking in purpose.
What did it matter to be fulfilling some possibility of what God wanted for my life but it all was just be about me? Why would I want to pursue endless possibilities and yet step outside of God’s perfect will?
I want to leave a mark on this world that transcends my name, influence or status. I want people to remember what God did through me, not what I did through God!
I don’t want to use the name of Jesus as a covering for my Christian self-gratifying campaign. To walk out God’s purpose for your life means setting aside what you believe is your potential and humbly following the Lord’s instructions for you.
This means not everyone will know your name but everyone will know who sent you. I am reminded of this verse in the Bible:
15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.Exodus 3: 15
When people speak of me, I want them to say that it was my God who sent me!
Move over from potential into PURPOSE!
Lastly, I understand that all of us want to feel like we are not wasting opportunities or missing open doors. There is nothing worse than living an entire lifetime to get to our deathbed full of regrets.
But please understand that when God calls us to a thing, oftentimes it will not look as glamorous as we thought it would. The sacrifice of forsaking potential for purpose is immeasurable. It feels like we missed God’s true calling!
However, because potential is a “maybe” and God’s purpose is a “yes and amen,” you can trust God’s words. You are not missing the mark, you are standing right on target!
Despite what you obeying God looks like right now, I promise you it gets better. At first, I thought accepting a pastoral position was a huge miss because of how hard it was. However, I am so grateful for the woman God has processed me to become through my radical obedience.
You are meant to fulfill a purpose and not remain in the realm of your potential. You may have the potential to be a worship leader, entrepreneur, speaker, pastor or leader, but what is God calling you to be right now?
Trust the process and surrender your potential to God’s eternal and immovable purpose for you life!
Always praying for you!
About the Authors
Our names are Carla and Paola. And yes…we are identical twins! We are pastors, ministers and young women who are absolutely in love with Christ. Our passion is to empower other young women through the message of Jesus Christ to fulfill their live’s purpose.
Although we are young (24 years old if you’re wondering) we have been preaching, teaching and serving in ministry for almost ten years. We hope that through our writing you may be encouraged and empowered to step into the calling that God has over YOUR life.
Thanks for reading!
Always praying for you,