Potential Schmential

“You’re making me nervous,” I said to my daughter Anna over the phone, “You’re going through your bucket list a little too quickly.”
She’d told me of recent accomplishments, adding,
“Oh and guess what? “I’m sky diving at the end of the month!”
“Can’t you move that to the end of your list? Like, ‘I’m gonna sky-dive, if it’s the last thing I do’?”
This conversation made me think of my own bucket list which is pretty short:
1. Take a nap.

but I have a TO DO list, and when I die, it will finally get off my back. Like a mean-spirited stock analyst, it gives running commentary on my daily worth:
“Well, bully for you. You managed to get the clothes from washer to dryer before the mildew turned to mold. Way to go!”
“Whoa…Did we not get our caffeine today? Well, at least we can’t be blamed for leaving a carbon footprint on the environment.”
To which I respond by ripping its head off and throwing it in the trash. Very Satisfying. And now I’m going to go take that nap.
Human Potential is so over-rated. Plus, it’s a big fat lie. There is no such thing as “reaching our full human potential”. If we excel in business, most likely we fail as parents. If we succeed as parents, we fail at reaching CEO status in the corporate world. If we love the Lord, serve Him, follow His commands, and DO succeed at some things, we don’t do it in our own strength, so there are no bragging rights. Truth is, we’re a dismal bunch of bumbling idiots. Running first to balance the scales on this end, then the other. A more reasonable TO DO list is:
1. Get Up.
2. Ask God to do something, and to use you to do it.
3. Do it. (Usually it’s the thing right at the end of your nose).
4. Thank Him and go to bed.
5. Repeat.
As simple as it is, fantastic adventures, wondrous feats, and Life abundant gush from the headwaters of one all-encompassing TO DO:
Which is not the same as resignation, by the way. The surrendered life is a freedom cry, a shedding of our old skin. No more trying to fit my extra-large ego into a small life. As ego shrinks, life expands. Whether His TO DO for us today is live or die, we are guaranteed a life never cut short; a life fully lived- not through human potential, but by God’s potential to make “beauty from ashes, joy from mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”, and even the screwiest events turn out for good. (Is. 61:3)

 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

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