Potentially Possible Promise

I love the old Gaither song, “I am a promise. I am a possibility. I am a promise, with a capital ‘P.’ I am a great big bundle of potentiality….” I’ll never forget belting out this song in church with a handful of other kids singing beside me. It’s taken me years to grasp its true meaning.

As a young kid inside a broken and hurting family, this song meant that I could be somebody someday, even if all the strikes were against me. I held on to the hope of this promise by being the best I could be at everything. I worked for straight “A”s in my academics. In high school, I was literally in all of these programs in the same year: choir, show choir, theatre, football cheerleading, basketball cheerleading, marching band, concert band, school newspaper, track & field, cross country, student council, ALPHA (group speaking to peers about drugs and alcohol), youth group, AND I held a job at the local pizza place. I did all of this while making the honor roll, maintaining friendships and almost always having a boyfriend on my arm.

I’m tired, (and a bit embarrassed) looking back at this. All of those activities and relationships gave me such great satisfaction at the time–I can’t even describe it…I thrived on them. What is so strange is that even with all of those accomplishments, I still never felt like I was reaching my full potential at any of them. Somebody always had it more together than me or sang more beautifully, or aced more tests than I. The boyfriends were easily ripped off my arm, and I got to the point where student council gave me ulcers from all the conflict. Where was all that promise and possibility now?

It truly existed the whole time, but I misunderstood how I was to achieve it. If I’m not careful, those old habits can sleepwalk their way back into my thinking. The Lord has shown me that I only have capital “P” potential when Christ is behind and IN what I’m doing. HE is my capital “P” Promise. When I lose myself in Him, when I give up my own hopes of being somebody important–that is when my life has capital “P” possibility. Here’s the truth of the matter:

“I can do everything THROUGH CHRIST who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” John 15:5
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2
“For IN HIM we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28a
(all verses from the NIV, emphasis mine)

As believers, where do we find our identity? What trophies would we like to have on our shelves and how many? What fulfillment are we chasing outside of Christ? Our motives and our objects of trust really do matter. Longing for earthly success or gain of any kind will never lead to true fulfillment. Whether it’s being a good parent, writing the best story, juggling and multi-tasking at the amazement of everyone else, leading the pack spiritually, maintaining a great career, staying physically fit, having more money or status or friends…all of it—apart from Christ having His way with it—is rubbish.

So, let’s press ahead together, with Christ as our Promise, remembering that confidence is misplaced if it is found in our own abilities. It is in losing ourselves in Him—His kingdom and His righteousness–that we understand our amazing potential to do what the end of the song says: “And I am learning to hear God’s voice, and I am learning to make the right choices. I am a promise to be anything GOD WANTS ME TO BE.”

For His glory alone,

LauraLee Shaw

Daughter of the Almighty, wife of 22 years, Mama bear & taxi driver to 3 stinkers, mentor, sister, friend, writer & speaker. I long to be authentic & share the Word of Truth in person and online. I like to mix my life experiences--the big, the small, the great & the ugly--along with a bit of dramatic humor, in order to show how the Lord has been up close & personal each step of the way. My testimony can be found here: A Patch from My Past. Also Join me on Facebook, or Twitter, or my personal blog.

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  1. Be blessed sweet friend, love you.

  2. LauraLee I really appreciated this post – oh, and you and I could have been twins in high school! I was uber involved, just as you were, and, like you said, those accolades then really don’t mean much now. Sure they are great for your resume and instilled some great talents and discipline in you, but ultimatly, they mean nothing compared to who we are in Christ. It took me a LONG time to realize that. When I first came to Christ and then shortly after began dating my now husband, I was always trying so hard to impress him and his family that I came across as fake and superficial. Now that God has fully revealed who I am to HIM, I am free from the bondage of being a “trophy kid” and am happily content just being who I am in Him. Thanks for sharing this awesome post 🙂

    In Christ
    – Allison @ SimpleChristianLiving

  3. Thank you for posting that! We’re not promised fame or fortune or an easy life. We’re promised that, if we let him, God will use us the way He intends to.

  4. What a wonderful post. I am so thankful that we can do all we need to do and be all we need to be through Christ who strengthens us.


  5. LauraLee,
    Wow, God must be working on both of us regarding activities and our identity in Christ–I wrote about this same thing today! I absolutely can relate to your activity list and have the same convictions. God is less concerned with what I DO, and infinitely more concerned with who I am in Him. You wrote a beautiful post!

  6. OK… I’ll be singing that song all day now too! 🙂

    I had the album & can remember my mom letting me play it on Saturday morning’s while she cleaned… I would belt out ALL those Gaither songs… ahh – memories

  7. Laura,
    After having a few phone calls with you, I can hear you telling me these truths, urging me in towards the prize that God has set before me.

    I am just enough older than you that I remember LEADING this song when Les & I were new to the ministry. Our first assignment was Children’s pastors over 150+ kids 4th-6th grade.

    As I sing the song in my mind even now, I hear “I can go anywhere that He wants me to go, I can be anything that He wants me to be, I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea….’CAUSE I’M A GREAT BIG PROMISE …YOU SEE!”

    Thanks for the reminder. SOme days I just need to hear a friend whisper to me that I can do anything He calls me to.
    Love you LaLee!

  8. Awesome post!! You have now placed that Gaither song in my head…. LOL! Thanks for the awesome reminder that our true identity is in Him.

    Be blessed!

  9. Great words…perfect timing. Apart from Him, all is rubbish indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thank you all so much. May we all continue to seek the One true Promise. 😉 All glory to Him!


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