“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged, for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV
What if I told you, you have everything you need to be or become __________, (fill in the blank) if you would only unblock the power of potential within yourself?
Everything has a starting point. Contrary to what some may believe within my household, we were not all born with experience. That was a playful poke towards someone who will remain anonymous. A specific someone who once told our children when asked how he learned how to do such & such, he responded boldly and full of confidence “I was born with experience!” Go ahead and laugh, because the kids and I do 😂 Without even meaning to, this darling human being provided a one liner gift that just keeps on giving and probably will through years to come. If I was a betting person, I would put $100 down on that story being told to our grandchildren.
ABILITIES & CAPABILITIES
The abilities each of us possess today have not always been within our grasp; but the potential has. Here is where the separation occurs, knowingly or unknowingly we press the block button within ourselves and shut down the source of power to our personal potential. We all have this button. This powerful controller located deep within the recesses of our mind and heart is a place where many a personal battles are won and lost. It is that area where “I can or I can’t” sounds the battle cry and wages a fight upon your very soul. That secret place which we all have, where a war of inner spoken words become the difference between venturing out or playing it safe. For some this battle is short lived, but for others, including myself; the warfare between what I want to do and what I think I can do rages on a daily basis.
We were all born with capabilities, but in order to see those capabilities come to fruition, there is an amount of effort that must be applied. That effort must then be coupled with time and dedication before those capabilities developed into abilities. This is true in every single area of our lives. Mentally, emotionally, physically and yes, even spiritually.
Being capable of something and actually following through with it is as different as heads or tails, sunrise or sunset, good morning or goodnight. Two entirely different ends of the spectrum, but each equally important. You cannot have one without the other. In order to be capable I need to recognize my ability and in order to have ability I need to believe I am capable.
So, what do you do if you are someone who struggles with tapping into the power of your potential? What if you possess a strong desire to discover your abilities, but you feel unable to tap into your capabilities? What if you feel capable, but have no earthly idea what your abilities are?
I know of no other way to tell you than to share my personal experience.
Each of us holds a life story and what good is a story if we are unwilling to share it with others? You will never know the power of the potential of your story until you welcome your capability to help others by using your ability to share your experiences with others. God wants to use each of us to relate and connect with others through the life story He has so meticulously written across our hearts.
For me my discovery of the power of my potential all started with a personal unblocking journey that began about nine months ago. I had no idea then where God was about to take me, but boy let me tell you it has been one memorable ride.
In August of 2018, things around our home were changing drastically. I was going from being a mom of two active children, to two children who were coming into their own young adulthood. Our daughter had recently graduated from her nursing program and had started her first full time job, all the while looking to venture out by finding her own place to live. Our son had returned home from his summer church camp job to begin the second portion of his sophomore semester of college. Both were preparing for the next phases of their lives and they were now to the point of asking for advice instead of Robert and I being involved in all decisions made. Don’t get me wrong. This is the normal flow of raising children, as we knew we were always living on borrowed time with them. God had entrusted them into our care for a season and the time had come for them to take all we had taught them and spread their wings and fly. For me, this was not a sad time, but rather an exciting time as our role as parents had down shifted. Both children were cruising into their new stages of life with as much ease and comfort as they possibly could.
In the months leading up to this time I had experienced some health issues that had caused me to begin dreading my mid-forties. I had gained weight, my energy level had dropped tremendously. I experienced daily bouts of fatigue and soon I had an extended stay in the hospital due to another kidney stone combined with the E Coli virus. After all of that I was fed up. I was tired of being tired. I remember thinking if this is what forty-five looks like, I dread seeing what the next five years have to bring.
Thankfully, through a wonderful PA and a new, all natural hormone replacement program; I began to regain my energy and started a light workout routine. Now, listen very carefully. This was HUGE for me. I use to joke that exercise was highly overrated and that all these people carrying around water bottles had to be drinking something else:). I mean seriously, who drinks that much water?
I was not knocking them, I just did not have a desire to join them. I was like “more power to ya” to all those who talked about going to the gym and bench pressing their PB (personal best for those of us who are lacking in athletics jargon), or those who were sharing their Zumba class stories with great big smiles on their faces. And then there were the runners.
You know, those people who get up before a sliver of sunshine has even had time to peek it’s magnificent hues above the horizon. Those people who pull on their skin tight leggings, slide their arms through that favorite moisture wicking shirt and carefully double tie their reflector shoelaces. Those people who grab their headphones and tap into that runners playlist made especially for that day. Those highly energetic people who after all of that, finally head happily out the door ready to pound the pavement. You know…those people. Come on, we all know at least one!!
That was my thought process until I pushed the unblock button on one of the areas of potential I had no idea I possessed. It all started one morning with going for a walk. Yes, just a simple walk. Walking a quarter of a mile down my driveway. On that day I realized I had not thought this little adventure completely through, because once I hit the end of the driveway, it dawned on me the only way back to the comfort of my cool, air conditioned home was to turn around and walk back!
So I did and guess what? I survived. By the end of that week I was feeling pretty accomplished so I added some light weights into this rigorous program:) When I say light, we are talking two pound hand weights…woohoo, right? Right! That was all I had in me to do; but we all start somewhere. Remember me saying earlier we all have a starting point? Well that was my potential discovery starting point on August 24, 2018. Half a mile and two 2lb weights, three days a week.
By the end of September, I was walking one mile 3-4 times a week and lifting ten pounds on a weight machine three days a week. By October, I was walking up to four miles at the park in forty-five minutes 3-4 days a week and feeling better than I had in a long time. I begin to schedule my workouts around my responsibilities of each day. Without planning to do so, I had developed an exercise routine that fit me, simply by pushing the unblock button in my heart and in my mind.
It is amazing how one simple change can and will effect the course of your life. I went from someone who had gladly partaken of the forbidden fruit of “I don’t think that’s for me” exercise taboo attitude; to someone who got up one day and simply went for a walk. That is how everything starts. One day you make the decision, today I am pushing the unblock button and I am going to try ________(you fill in the blank). TRY. Three letters that make up one little bitty word, but oh the beautiful power of potential that word presents in each of our lives.
ME? A RUNNER? NO WAY!
Come December of 2018, I thought to myself in the middle of one of my park walks, “self, (yelp I talk to myself on a regular basis) you’ve done pretty good with this walking bit and you are feeling great, why not speed up your step and try a slight jog?” Notice I said “slight jog”. I didn’t want to venture too far out there just in case I fell flat on my face right in the middle of Wintersmith Park, in front of an audience of fellow walkers/runners, geese and squirrels. So, I did. I put one foot in front of the other and I jogged. Granted it was only for about twenty yards and I was sucking wind, biggly; but I jogged. I walked a little and jogged a little more until I had made it around the “short” trail of the park. Although afterwards I was in much need of an oxygen tank and mask, I remember falling into my Jeep thinking “I seriously just ran for the first time in…”, well I didn’t know in how long. But on that day I pressed another unblock button and I ran.
Along the way I experienced body aches and pains I had never known before. I was so excited to be feeling so good, I ended up over doing it. I found myself in an orthopedic office receiving shots in both knees and in my right hip. Note to self: listen to your body. Pain is a red flashing warning signal. We would all be wise to heed these warnings before our bodies finally show us exactly who is boss. My stubbornness said “push through the pain” and my body said “I will make it where you can’t.” By taking some time off and incorporating rest days, I was able to continue with my exercise routine and experienced even more remarkable breakthroughs.
LIFE ALTERING EVENT
I was feeling great and woke up each morning ready to face the day. Unknown to me at the time, pushing that unblock button was escorting me directly towards a major illness. I was embarking on the greatest physical, mental and emotional battle I had ever faced up to that point in my life; and to top it all off, I had no clue what was about to rock my world.
On December 24, 2018 our family enjoyed a nice meal together and decided to open Christmas gifts. Our home was filled with laughter and excitement as our daughter’s boyfriend had just asked for our blessing to propose to her. We would soon be preparing to add another member to our crazy crew and we could not have been happier! After saying our good nights, I retired to bed with visions of joyful faces dancing in my head. With a prayerful and grateful heart, I peacefully drifted off to sleep expressing my thankfulness for my many blessings and for Jesus Christ who came into this world as a babe only to leave this world as a Risen Savior.
Somewhere around midnight, I awoke freezing to death. Now I know we throw that phrase around as if we’ve all experienced the cold of the great arctic, but I literally felt I was freezing. With that feeling came uncontrollable shaking throughout my entire body. My teeth were chattering just like those old wind up play teeth you could crank, set down and watch them dance all over the table. My legs were drawing up and no matter the amount of pressure I applied to straighten them out, my leg muscles would contract right back into the fetal position. Now, I’ve experienced chills before, but not to this extent. I have had the flu before, but in my mind I thought this had to be the worst case I had ever encountered. Finally, I could not take it anymore and I reached over to wake Robert up. I know you might be thinking, if it was that severe why wasn’t he already awake? Well you see, this man can sleep right through a baby crying in the middle of the night, an alarm ringing, a weather alert blaring, our children coming or going through night shifts and yes, you have guessed it even someone being ill. It is not his intention to sleep through these incidents, well maybe the babies crying in the middle the night, it is just how deeply his body and mind sleeps.
Anyway, I woke him up and told him what was going on. One other thing I should mention. When Robert does get woke up in the middle of the night it is a startled awake experience. He springs into action, usually without completely comprehending the issue at hand. Once he got his barring’s, he dialed up my electric blanket. Still, I was shaking. He hustled to get three more blankets. Still, I was shaking. He even laid on top of all those blankets in effort to generate more body heat; still I was shaking.
He told me we were going to the ER. At first I refused, then I started throwing up. No matter what, I could not stop shaking, I could not get warm and now I could not stop throwing up. Against my earlier protest, Robert got himself ready and prepared me for a trip to the ER. At that point I did not care. My body felt like it was being slowly cranked through an old timer ringer on a washing machine with every muscle and joint aching and knotting up. From that point on I do not recall all of the events that followed, but to say the least my body was battling something beyond my comprehension.
With a 104 temperature, blood pressure dropping at an alarming rate, and my heart fluttering at a quick pace; it was discovered I was in septic shock and time was crucial. With IV’s in both arms and a rainbow of color capped blood tubes drawn, I was wheeled into a surgical room in the ER to have a main line sewn into my neck. This specific procedure was a necessary evil in order for my body to receive much needed blood pressure meds to help stabilize my body. It was at this time we were informed I had a 50/50 chance of walking out of the hospital.
The ER physician carefully talked me through the procedure as he prepared the medical tools and supplies on the silver tray to my right. He informed me for sterilization purposes there would be only three of us in the room; he, myself and one surgical RN. A protective tent was placed over my entire body and the doctor warned me it would get hot and stuffy under this extra layer. “Just tell me when you need some air and the nurse will lift the left side of the tent for a few seconds to allow some cool, fresh air in.” Alright I thought, I can do this. With careful and precise movements, the doctor began the procedure with a numbing agent; while informing me this should be the worst of it all. Unknown to him and myself, the area on the right side of my neck in which he had hoped was completely numb, turned out to have some remaining feeling present.
Each move made was calmly narrated to me by the doctor as I laid perfectly still on the operating table. I remember closing my eyes and asking God to give me the strength to make it through as I began to feel movement of the line being inserted into my neck. With my teeth clinched and my jaw in lock down position, I felt heat starting to rise throughout my entire body. I have always had a high tolerance for pain, but I was beginning to reach my ultimate limit. With the continued question, “are you doing OK?” I finally informed the nurse I needed some air. I could feel sweat slowing easing it’s way from my forehead and trickling down the left side of my neck. My hair was soaked at the base of my neck and I could feel heat from my body radiating off of the tent material creating my own personal sauna. The back of my jaw begin to tingle with that dreaded feeling of a great wave of nausea. As she lifted the tent, the cool sensation of much needed air filled my lungs and swept over my body; but all too soon she gently lowered the edge and I was completely covered once again. Is this what it feels like to be smothered to death? Was the question swirling around in my mind.
Finally, it was time to close up the incision and stitch the main line into my neck. There have only been a few times in my life when I felt I was going to pass out and this was about to top the chart. I have no idea how big the “sewing” needle was, but to me at that time I was convinced it was as thick as a ball point pen. With each poke, push, pull and tug I was brought to the brink of the lights growing dim and my body going limp. Tying off the incision brought one more snug double pull and much to my relief it was over.
Soon I was passed off to the capable hands of the ICU staff. I was poked, prodded and hooked up to every noise making machine that could fit into my personal medical suite. I was confined to a hospital bed straight from the pit of hell. This was one of those high dollar self adjusting, alarm beds that is suppose to aid in the process of preventing bed sores; while also notifying the staff if you are trying to make a break for it by sounding an alert you are out of bed. It was the absolute worst excuse for a mattress I have ever tried to rest on. The nursing staff gladly informed me I could purchase one of these lovelies at a discounted price of $9,000. I told them I believed the hospital overpaid by $8,999.99.
Riding on the coattails of my prayer warriors, my body slowly began responding to the meds and the professional medical care I was given. Time is of the essence in the case of septic shock and without the quick action of my husband and the ER staff my outcome could have been completely different. In a remarkable time frame, I was discharged just 72 hours after fighting the toughest physical battle I had ever encountered. Now, the long-slow healing process was about to begin.
The post sepsis process was something I was not prepared for. I quickly found myself experiencing debilitating fatigue, hand tremors, insomnia, startled awake episodes, and several other symptoms that developed a personal level of frustration I hated. Before being discharged from the hospital I was told it could take six to twelve months for complete recovery.
I had a choice to make. I could give in to the symptoms and frustration that was quickly escorting a bout of depression to my front door, or I could unblock the potential God had placed in my life and become the survivor He had allowed me to be.
Slowly but surely, minutes turned into hours-hours into days-days into weeks and weeks into months; and during all this time all I wanted to do was run again. I could not believe it, but running had become my unblocked motivation. WOW! Did I really just admit to that?
I had what you might call a “light bulb” moment. So many times throughout my life I had pushed the block button on countless things God had been whispering He wanted me to do or just even try. Fear of messing up or embarrassing myself paralyzed me. I became perfectly satisfied with playing life safe and building a protective fortress brick by brick around my life. That was until four months ago. Four months ago I came face to face with the reality of how fragile my life actually was.
On April 28, 2019 I didn’t just push the unblock button inside of myself. I stepped outside of my self-made fortress. No, I ran; literately.
At 7:15 AM, I joined five-thousand fellow runners; including my son, and I ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 5K. I have never ran a race in my adult life and at the age of forty-six, I not only completed my first 5K, I finished in the top ten in my age category. I crossed the finish line feeling one of the greatest senses of personal accomplishments to date.
When the race started I hit the shuffle button on my “Praise Run” list and I was greeted by Reckless Love. As I made my final left turn of the route and the end came into clear view, the song that carried me across the finish line was The Great I Am. Luck of the draw? I do not believe so. There were no tears for me that day, but I can tell you I felt this tremendous amount of complete and utter joy carrying me across the threshold of that finish line.
UNBLOCKING GOD’S VICTORY
That is what the power of unblocking your potential will do. The power of your potential is God and He will take you to heights you never dreamed possible. He will carry you through life altering events. He will make a way when none seems possible if only you will push the unblock button and let Him take control of your life.
Four months and five days ago my life hung in the balance and I had a choice to make. I could continue down the heavily guarded path I had been traveling the majority of my life, or I could unblock the power of my potential and start life anew. I chose the latter. With an eternally grateful heart, I made the conscious decision to stop blocking God’s Hand and instead give Him permission to work His power through my potential.
Easy to do? No, not for me. Worth it? Absolutely!!
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
So, ask yourself this question. What is holding me back? What is something I would like to try? What is something I can do to start making little changes in my life? By making the decision to unblock the power of God in your life, He will gladly take you places you never dreamed possible and show you the power of your own potential through the greatest power source we can ever tap into, Jesus Christ!
Go on, push the unblock button and see what happens!! Malachi 3:10