3 Keys to Reaching Your Full Potential
BY: KELLY JOY FJESTAD
When God created you, He deposited within you many gifts and talents. Those gifts could be summarized in one word: potential. God has given you the potential to do great things, to serve Him fully, and to change the world for His glory.
God did not give us fully developed gifts. Instead, He deposited seeds within us, and it is our job to care for those seeds, so they grow and mature, reaching their full potential. Many people get discouraged along the way. Their gifts do not develop as quickly as they would like. They do not reach their goals as soon as they had expected to. Often people end up settling for less, instead of continuing to push forward and reaching their full potential.
I don’t want that to happen to you! Today, I want to encourage you to keep pressing on. I want to share with you three keys to reaching your full potential.
1. Seek Jesus first
Now, perhaps you have grown up in church, and you have heard this 1000 times. It can be tempting to not really hear it. To just go, “Yeah, yeah, I know. Seek Jesus first.” And then move on with our lives as if we had never been told the key to success.
Instead, write that truth upon your heart. Seek Jesus first. Always. You will encounter many things in your life. Some great, some tragic. Let Jesus truly be your foundation. Run to him when things are scary. Cry to him when life breaks your heart. Rejoice in him when good things happen.
If you do not have a daily devotional time with Jesus, start today. Your life will not get less busy. There will not be a better time to start. Commit to reading your Bible for at least 5-10 minutes a day. Pray while you are driving. Pray in the shower. Pray when you are waiting. Create moments to pray.
Your true potential can only be found in the One who created you. He designed you for a purpose. There is nothing good in your life outside of God’s plan for you. But you will only discover that plan as you spend time with Him.
Many people spend their whole lives seeking and searching for their purpose. They run from this job to that job, this idea to that idea, always looking and searching for something that will make their life feel complete. But they forget to ask God what He created them to do.
Ask God what His plans are for your life. He wants to tell you! He longs for you to uncover the hidden potential He placed in your heart.
Only God knows the conditions that will cause your potential to blossom. Just like a plant, your gift needs the right conditions to develop. Some plants need lots of sun and just a little bit of water. But other plants need lots of water and just a little bit of sun. The same is true of you. You might need a lot of encouragement and just a little bit of correction. Or perhaps you thrive in a situation with high expectations and little encouragement. Maybe you will thrive in an environment with a lot of personal interaction and just a little bit of alone time. However, someone else might need a lot of alone time and only a little bit of interaction.
The only way to know what conditions you need in order to develop your gift and reach your full potential is to ask the Master Gardener. God designed you to need a certain environment to fulfill your purpose. As you seek Him first, He will lead you to the right conditions, the right circumstances, and the right positions to develop your character and your giftings and allow you to reach your full potential.
“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
2. Keep learning
For the recent graduates out there… It can be tempting after you finish school to check off this time in your life as complete. You completed your classes. You met all the requirements for graduation. You learned what your teachers asked you to learn. But graduation is not an end, it is a beginning. You did not learn everything there is to learn. You learned a lot. Yes! But most importantly, you learned HOW to learn. You developed the skills necessary to retain information, to study, to take information and apply it to your life. You learned so much more than just book knowledge.
Did you know that 33% of high school graduates never read another book their entire lives? Or that 42% of college graduates never read another book after they graduate from college. Those are heartbreaking statistics. Learning is a gift. The ability to read and understand and increase in knowledge and wisdom is a gift from God. We see in the gospels that even Jesus grew in wisdom.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
Don’t waste this precious gift. Read. Attend conferences. Seek wisdom from those who have walked this path before you. Keep learning.
In this process, you need to be humble. You might feel like you know it all, but you don’t. You can learn from anyone. In fact, the person who is holding the key to your dreams being fulfilled is likely the person you least expect. Don’t burn bridges. Respect everyone. Look at every situation as an opportunity to learn.
Your life will be filled with many successes and many failures. Learn from both. Sometimes we learn more from failure than we do from success. Use every experience as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to re-evaluate where you are at and take steps to move forward.
“Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life.” Proverbs 4:10
Instruction is your life. Don’t ever stop learning. But then you must guard closely the things you have learned. For they are your life.
3. Dream big, but plan for a journey
You are in a unique stage of life that you will never have again. No matter where you are in life, you will never have this stage, these opportunities again. Don’t waste them! Dream big. Expect God to do great things in you and through you. Even if your passion has been hidden by the harshness of the world, push through and keep dreaming. Avoid the temptation to allow your dreams to become littered and silenced with failure and disappointments. Instead, let your passion drive you. Go after the dreams God has placed in your heart. Run after them with all of your might.
But let me warn you, dreams often take longer to fulfill than we expect. You will likely spend much of your life waiting for your dreams to happen. Life is a journey. It is short, and you must take advantage of every moment. But it is also long, and you will often feel qualified for your dreams long before the door to your dream opens.
Don’t get discouraged in the waiting. There is purpose in the waiting. There is more to learn. How we handle the times of waiting determine how much of our potential we will reach. Will you get tired of waiting for God to move and forge ahead making your own path? Will you grow restless and give up on your dream, instead settling for a mediocre life? Or will you choose faith — believing God is faithful to finish what He starts?
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Don’t give up on your dreams! Learn from failure. Humble yourself in success. Believe that even when you don’t see God working in your life, He is. He has not forgotten about you. He longs to see you reach your full potential — and I believe you will!
Just keep seeking God. Keep learning. Keep dreaming. In doing so, I believe you will be unstoppable.
“I ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” Colossians 1:9-10
Kelly is a wife and mother of five children living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is an ordained minister and author of PAUSED: Protecting Your Faith When God Says "Wait" and Pursuit: The Cross. For more info visit: kellyjoy.org