Motherhood / Parenting

Did I Waste My Potential?

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I’ve always thought I was weird.  Different.  Oddly one of a kind. That feeling didn’t end when my teen years did; it’s one I often battle today.
And if you know me, you’re quite possible nodding your head right now and thinking, “She really is…different.” That’s okay; I’ve come to accept it. Embrace it, even. I’m trusting God to direct my steps. 
But sometimes I still ask myself: Did I waste my potential?
graceful abandon going with the homeschooling flow relationship discipleship mentoring prayer keeping focused what really matters parenting first things first priorities
Proverbs 16:9

It Wasn’t Always That Way

I used to want to be like ‘everybody else. I used to wonder why my hidden dreams were so far removed from what they were “supposed” to be. Obviously, I was some kind of a freak.
You see, I was a straight-A student.  I had potential.  I could be anything I wanted to be, go anywhere I wanted to go, open any door I wanted to open.
I was raised to conquer every challenge, overcome any obstacle, and to always be the best. My biggest struggle growing up was perfectionism, but I often came very close to perfect if I tried hard enough. Family members, teachers, and friends used to tell me all the time that they knew I’d be “somebody.”
So why is it that many of these same people look at me and wonder what happened?
Why is it that when I talk with them I feel like I’ve somehow let them down?
Why do I struggle with whether or not I’ve done enough? Why is it that I still wonder, “Did I waste my potential?”
Because we have been slowly but surely exposed to and indoctrinated with a lie in our culture today.

The Lies We Are Being Told About Our Potential

We have been told that “somebodies” make something of themselves.  They go to college, have a successful career, and make good money.  They provide for their families.  They have it “all.”
They juggle work, soccer practice, dinner, and a love life.  They balance work at church with volunteering in the community.
They bake for every fundraiser, go to book clubs or belong to the Junior League.  They have date nights, ladies nights out, and tuck their kids in most of the time.  They have a great babysitter, a supportive family, and a degree on the wall.
They don’t sacrifice one thing to have another.  The world is their oyster and life is a pearl; they really do have it all.
Every gift, every talent, every scrap of potential my Creator instilled in me is being used in a precious and valuable way. It's not being wasted, even if it doesn't mirror society's best. After all, my home is my oyster and my family is a pearl of great worth! ~Graceful Abandon, Did I Waste My Potential?
Photo credit: Pixabay, by NeuPaddy

What is the Truth?

I don’t believe anyone “can have it all” pursuing society’s brand of success.

There’s not a woman alive who can live up to Christian culture’s standards and not feel run down at the end of the day. Who can really give their best to all those things?  And who wants to give less than their best to anything that really matters?

Did I waste my potential? Did I waste what others poured into me? That’s just poppycock!

Why do I feel guilty because I’ve walked away from that legalism and those pressures?  Where is the grace-soaked Gospel in that line of thought?

No more.  No more condemnation.  No more lies telling me that I am just a wife and a mom.  There’s nothing just about it.  It’s who I am, it’s what I do, it’s the life I lead … and it’s the fulfillment of a calling far greater than any I could have ever dreamed up for myself during my idealistic youth.

God’s intended purpose for His children is His best.  Not the world’s best.  Not their imagined best for themselves.  His best.

And we know that God’s ways are not our ways, nor does His ideal picture often look like our own.  The world is no longer a perfect reflection of its Creator because it has been marred by sin.

However, God is restoring in the hearts His Beloved -the hearts of those who listen, those who seek, those who respond, those who crave, those who are desperate– God is restoring in them a true understanding of what His best is.

Did I Waste My Potential?

As a married woman with many beautiful children, His best for my life focuses on my relationship first with Him, then with my husband, and after that with our kids.  Once I give them my total best, then everything else can be fit in.

Did I Waste My Potential When I Became a Mom? NO. I am not "just" a mom. I am walking in the fulfillment of a beautiful purpose.
Photo Credit: Dawid Sobolewski on Unsplash

For me, that means staying at home and lavishing our home and all who dwell within it with love, with grace, with peace, and with joy.

It means spending time on the “little things” that make big differences.  It means giving my all to these important relationships.  Not with a feeling of wasting potential, but rather with a pervading sense of purpose, fulfillment, rightness.

Today I get to love my husband.  I am honored to keep our home a place of peace and refuge to which he is happy to return after a hard day’s work.  I get to make a wonderful dinner for our family.  I get to do laundry.  I get to snuggle with our children as we homeschool.  This is where I am called to give my best.

Every gift, every talent, every scrap of potential my Creator instilled in me is being used in a precious and valuable way.  It’s not being wasted, even if it doesn’t mirror society’s best.

After all, my home is my oyster and my family is a pearl of great worth!


If you are interested in creating a family mission & vision statement, download the free workbook from Graceful Abandon!

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