When you were young, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a fireman, and then an astronaut, and then I wanted to fly F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets.
All of those things were possibilities in my mind.
They say you can be whatever you want... And to a certain degree that's true. But only US fighter pilots get to be astronauts, and only US citizens get to become US fighter pilots. So, no, I couldn't be whatever I wanted.
BUT, I did have a whole stack of potential.
Your life as a child is very wide and very shallow. You can have any number of possible selves, but none of them will be very developed.
As you grow older, your range of available possible selves becomes more and more narrow, but more and more deep.
Who you are becomes more evident.
Who you will have relationships with becomes more real.
Where you travel in the world deepens.
The books you read, and adventures you take, and education you undergo... These all narrow your possible selves "set".
And this can sometimes be depressing.
To realise I wouldn't become an astronaut was a little upsetting.
And often we can get caught up in all the possibilities that are no longer possible.
And when we get caught up like that, we miss the beauty of the depth that is being formed.
So by all means, "keep your options open", but in so doing, PLEASE don't let your potential only ever remain as potential.
Because there is no more sad tale, in my humble opinion, than a life lived in pursuit of possibility that forever remains unrealised.
Pick something, pick someone, pick somewhere, and fully invest, fully commit. Do whatever it takes.
Sometimes we don't commit because we fear reaching a dead end. "but what if I pick the wrong path, the wrong job, the wrong partner, the wrong instrument".
I've come to see, that in Jesus Christ, there are no dead ends.
You see, all things are being made new. And that includes you.
When Jesus said "I have come that you may live life in all it's fullness", he really wasn't kidding. The only way that your potential will truly be realised, is when you commit to live as Jesus did.
His life was the ultimate "hero" story, the ultimate example of a "good life".
When he said "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He wasn't kidding. To live a life of truth and grace, is to fully realise your humanity. And to fully realise your potential.
Then he goes and says something like "and all these things I've done, you will do even greater".
I am reminded of Michael Jordan, who was speaking to all the kids that during the phase wanted to "be like Mike", and he said "don't be like Mike, be better than Mike."
I'm not sure that it would be possible to be better than Jesus, but he's told us we should do "even greater".
So, all that potential, don't let it die as potential, let it become realised, and in so doing, you will do the "even greater". That's what you were born for. That's why you were made so masterfully.
Go get it.