Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Potential Trap

This is an excerpt from a great read, A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God, by Larry Osborne.

Why Being All We Can Be
Might be a Dumb Idea.

"We tend to see unfulfilled potential as a tragic shame; squandered opportunity as a sinful choice. We assume that God couldn't possibly be pleased with anyone who settles for being less than the best they can be -- in any area of life.

But it's a lie.

Potential is not a sacred responsibility.

Potential is a harsh mistress--seductive, never satisfied, prone to exaggeration, nearly impossible to figure out. Those who pursue her inevitably end up in the poisoned land of self-centered priorities and me-first decisions.

But it's a quest that's often justified with pious platitudes about following God's calling and using all the gifts we've been given.

However, God's highest calling won't be found there. It's on another path, far removed from the "me-first" orientation of the maximized potential crowd. It's found on a seldom traveled side road filled with opportunities for sacrifice, service, and self-denial...

The formula for maximized potential is strangely similar to the recipe for a nervous breakdown or a broken home...

To a culture enamored with the allure of self-actualization and fully realized potential, love is fine--as long as it doesn't get in the way.

But let it threaten to become a major distraction, an impassable roadblock, or a heavy burden, and it'll be quickly left behind, jettisoned in favor of the far more alluring goal of reaching our fullest potential.

Which is why I am so leery of this thing I call the Potential Trap. And why I believe trying to become all we can be is often the worst thing we could ever do."

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