We have heard it said about someone that he or she has great potential. We use that phrase when we see a glimmer of talent or giftedness in that person that is undeveloped. It is sort of like an old picture negative (if you are young, you have no idea to what I am referring!). We could hold it up to the light to get a general idea of what the picture was about, but we could not get an idea of what it was like until we had the negative developed. That is what your potential is like. Almost everyone can see its presence, but what it looks like is up to you.
What's more, potential is an open-ended concept, and by that I mean no one, not even the person with the potential, has any idea what that potential will look like when it is fully developed. That's true for a number of reasons. One of them is no one is certain of the exact circumstances into which a person with potential will be developing his or her potential. Take for example the case of Winston Churchill. He had great potential as a politician, but until his leadership was released at the time of World War II, no one could have anticipated just how great his potential was when they first saw it. His developed potential was not only due to his effort, but the convergence of his effort and history.
The other dynamic that is present when you begin to develop your potential is found in Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." When you develop your potential and rely on God's help, God is able to take your potential, breathe on it, so to speak, and multiply it, just like He did the loaves and fish in Jesus' ministry. What's more, God did not multiply the bread and fish only once but twice (that we know of), so when He increases your capacity to bear fruit, it does not diminish His ability to do it again and again for you and countless others.
So how many books are in you? You won't know until you start writing and publishing. How many orphans can you help? You won't know until you start helping some. How many languages can you learn? You won't know until you start learning them. How many businesses can you start of churches can you plant? You won't know until you start building and planting. Your potential is similar to what a pole vaulter will face in the upcoming Olympics. You won't know how high you can vault until you try, and each time you successfully clear the bar, God can raise it again and when you clear that, again, and when you clear that, again—and on and on and on.
Eventually, you will knock the bar off, but my point is that you don't know at what height the bar will be when you do, and it may be—no undoubtedly will be—a lot higher than you thought possible, especially because God can empower you to do exceedingly more than anyone, even you, imagined. The only thing that will stop you from finding your maximum height is to stop vaulting, and that would usually be due to fear—not wanting to fail or cause injury.
Are you ready to start developing your potential? If you are, then abandon what you think it will look like when its developed and get to work. Count on God's help and see how high you can jump, how far you run, or how long you can swim. Of course these are all sports metaphors, but you get the idea. Go be the best you that you can be, and don't allow any limitations to that except for what God will set. Have a blessed week!