It seems that one never gets too old to deal with identity issues, in fact, I believe we will continue to develop and have opportunities to become more whole in who we are and how we see ourselves as long as we live. This past weekend I was playing poker with friends, and although I kept getting what seemed like great cards in my hand, they amounted to nothing over and over again and my pile of chips went into a steady decline, no matter what tact I tried. At one point I got really frustrated at another set of cards that failed to amount to anything, and I dishearteningly proclaimed, "So much potential, but nothing ever comes of it. It's the story of my life!" And at that moment, the mantra seemed to be true for so much more than poker that I was overwhelmed by the idea that it might really BE the story of my life.
I retreated to my bedroom for a few "freak-out tears" and asked God if this was truly the case: if I in fact had failed to do much with the great potential he had deposited in me. The answer came slowly. Yes, of course, every one of us does not measure up to the incredible potential that God has put in us; in fact, this is one of the reasons we need redemption. We fall short. That is no surprise. But it does not have to continue to be the story of my life. There is Jesus, there is grace, there is always a second chance.
Every time I respond to the nudging inside my spirit to be kind to someone, to be a faithful and true friend, to be honest and embracing when I would rather not be, to speak and sing extravagant words of encouragement to those in my care, and to take the time to create and write...these are the times I feel most alive and I know I am reaching for my potential.
I have learned that success cannot be measured in terms of outward accomplishments such as wealth or fame or laudable achievements. It can only be measured in faithfulness to the challenges that come across my path. How do I deal with the people and circumstances God has placed in my life and how am I developing those abilities that he planted in my soul through all of it? If I have spent some hours this day seeking his guidance and grace in accomplishing these things and then doing the best that I can, I am content. I am truly me. And I am a success.
This is a Stella D'Ora lily still blooming at the side on my house this week - it is never too late for beautiful results.