In our home, Friday night is take out night. Usually when my wife asks me what I feel like for take out night, I say ‘I don’t know’. Then she say she doesn’t know either and then we enter this downward spiral of indecision that lasts until we get desperate and choose the first thing that comes to mind which can turn out to be something I didn’t want in the first place.
I have discovered that the reason that we find it hard to decide is that there are so many options available that it just seems impossible to choose one. What if I choose one that I’m not happy with and I’m faced with take out regret? It’s a tough life.
I was travelling in India speaking to an Opportunity International loan client about growing her business over a few years and working her way out of poverty. She had put her two eldest daughters through tertiary education. The youngest was about to complete high school and when she was asked what do you want to do when you finish? She said, ‘I don’t know’.
It sounds like a typical teenage response, but the real reason for that answer is profound.
Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. A young women, living in a slum in India, not only being in a position to complete her high school education, but then to be in a place with so many options available to her she had trouble picking just one. She didn’t need to think about finding the highest paying career to support her family, she could choose to do what she wanted. She could dream. Try something new. Create.
That is what empowerment looks like, to have a choice. It’s the catalyst to see people reaching their full, God given potential. It’s the catalyst that creates a better world.
How do you measure potential?
How can you take something as it is and create an educated measurement of what it could be?
It seems almost impossible and I sense that we tend to err on the side of caution when we do this. To be honest most of our thinking around what could be in the future comes from what has happened in the past.
We drastically underestimate what we are capable of.
We drastically underestimate what those around us are capable of.
Is it possible that what we can achieve, the difference we can make and the impact we can have on others is being held back by fear?
Right in the middle of Ephesians, the author Paul, implores his readers to cast aside their ideas of what they think life should be like and begin to dream about what could be through the strength of God who’s ‘mighty power is at work within us’ and is able to ‘accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think’.
So what are you capable of?
OR perhaps a more practical question – what would you would do at work, in your relationships, in any area of life right now if you weren’t afraid.
That’s the first step to glimpsing what your potential is.
What do you consider to be the worlds greatest resource. There is much debate about the value of certain items – would it be oil, gold, iron ore, lithium perhaps, what about water, air and sunshine? Ice cream? All seem to be pretty important, some more than others but which is the greatest resource available to us?
I don’t think it’s any of these. For me, it has to be people. We are told that there are now nearly 8 billion people on the planet. That is almost 8 billion resources, but more than that, individuals that carry with them such great value and incredible capacity. With 10% of the global population still living in extreme poverty then that is at least 10% that are not being able to reach their full, God given potential. When that happens, not only do the individuals miss out, but the rest of the world misses out on their creativity, ideas and ingenuity.
There is a question that haunts me.
“What if the cure to cancer was trapped in the mind of a child who hasn’t received an education yet?”
To me that talks about potential, of what is possible yet not accessible because not everyone is able to make their contribution. The sad thing is that there is so much that we can do to facilitate that and it starts with small actions. Little things that will go a long way to empowering those living in poverty.
We have some difficult issues as a world, but if we could get the most out of every person, I have no doubt we could overcome all of them.