“I have always been this way. My mother was the same way. There are certain things we just have to except about ourselves. Wrong!"
Envision for a moment that through some cosmic glitch, all the limitations you have learned to cope with over the years have suddenly vanished. Poof! Gone! Dysfunctional past, gone. Forty pounds of fat, gone. Lack of education, low self esteem, hurtful relationships, poverty, baldness, bulbous nose, poof,gone. What could you accomplish? Where would you be a year from today? You probably have a good idea what I am about to say. None of these obstacles has the power to stop you from reaching your full potential. It is faith in a dysfunctional past or a bald spot that imprisons us. Misplaced faith is what gives them power over our lives.
There is no doubt that we all have inherent weaknesses, genetic or conditioned, that act as roadblocks on the path of discovering our potential. They cause us to do one of two things: believe that our weaknesses determine who we are, or believe that weakness is put in our path as a way to grow stronger. The latter is what separates the men from the boys.
Many of us have a propensity toward living according to our emotions, because that’s what comes easiest and feels the most natural. For example, I am given to spontaneous, erratic emotions resulting in inconsistency of feelings and behavior. Creative people are such, and have a hard time with level-headed discipline. Then there are others who display an ingrained calm, even demeanor, methodically moving toward their goals. I sometimes envy those who, like the tortoise, plod along, step by step, until the job is done. But I do not want to lose my spontaneous personality and the emotional rush that accompanies those special moments. Tortoises may get the job, and never overeat or indulge in grandiose visions of sprinting off into the great blue, but tortoises miss an important part of life’s joyous up-and-down ride.
Here’s the rub. Our whole life is lived within the tension of growing outside our natural propensity; the tortoise loosening up, the hare slowing down and doing the job right. Maybe that is why opposites attract. We are attracted to others who effortlessly exercise what we find painful.
Whatever your propensity, we all have a God-given ability to reinvent ourselves and grow into our fullest potential. “It’s just the way I am,”—but the way you are can change, painful as change may be at first. But nothing will change until you start to believe in your God-given potential.
You can be sure that when I started jogging for the first time in eighteen years, it did not feel natural or easy. Painful, discouraging, and grueling are the words which come to mind. I would have far rather pulled back into my lazy-boy and watched the hockey game. But what got my slothful flesh up and out the door was the image of myself three months later. That goal kept me going. Now I can jog with ease, finding great pleasure in the motion of flight. “Lazy-boy” became “Jogger-guy”. What was once work becomes as unconscious as blinking and breathing. When that happens you have won a vital step—a giant step closer to your potential.
It is called the birthing of a good habit. The striving toward potential becomes less striving and more a natural path. No longer something to fear, change develops into an unpredictable and exhilarating journey. Challenging yourself to grander highs is addictive and joyous, as you step upward building momentum from yesterday’s victory, and exercise your God-given freedom with greater audacity.
Related Article: Faith Is A Decision