Before we get too deep into this post, yes I know, the biblical text says faith without works is dead. Okay, we have that out of the way, let’s proceed. I was having dinner with friends. During the discussion, a young lady talked about falling in love with the potential of a person instead of who the person is at the time. She then quoted the best words of the night, “Potential without works is dead.” She too acknowledged that this was a spin of the biblical text but it stayed on my mind. What is potential and how do we keep ourselves from getting caught up in the “potential” of a person only to be let down when they do not meet our expectations of who we THOUGHT they would become?
Newlyweds are the best when it comes to setting expectations of how they hope their partner to be AFTER they become married as if the person they’ve been dating for the past two years will suddenly morph into some superhuman.
We all have expectations of people, whether small or large, we hold people to a standard in our mind. For example, my expectation when patronizing Starbucks or Chick-fil-a is that I’m going to get an “if your drink isn’t perfect let me know” or “my pleasure”. Seriously, if these expectations were not met, it would shake my world ever so slightly! We do the same thing with people that enter into our lives with the potential of being long-term partners. It could be because their talk game is impeccable or you see that their family is supportive, but that does not translate to their own internal drive and motivation. We set these expectations of others in our minds and expect them to meet the expectations, and mostly without communicating what we’re expecting! We are setting ourselves up to be disappointed!
The Google definition for potential is “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future”. Focus on the words showing the capacity and in the future. Two things, 1) capacity means nothing if you aren’t filling it 2) the future depends heavily on what they are currently doing. If you ordered a 20 oz coke and the clerk only gave you 12 oz, you would have a problem. Why? because they did not fill your cup up to capacity. Let’s take it a little bit further. If your cup has not been filled to capacity now, it will have a negative effect on your thirst later, i.e. the future. Stay with me, I’m going to bless you. If we observe person putting in half the effort to reach their goals WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY are you stuck on what they COULD be doing (their potential) if they aren’t thinking enough of themselves to do all they can do now?! We are setting ourselves up to be disappointed.
James 2:14-26 gives us the biblical reference for faith without works. James uses an example of faith and no works by appealing to our need to reach out to help others (the work). In verse 17 he states, “17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” He goes on to argue people claiming to have faith because they believe in God; he then points out that that’s no big deal because even the demons believe AND tremble, “19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[a] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” This is the person that talks to you about all of the accolades, name drops, tell you what and how you should be doing things…but cannot show you how they have been able to apply the same concepts in their own life! ALL faith and NO works! They are just living on potential.
How do we keep each other from falling into this trap, take it for what it is RIGHT NOW! If your potential boo has potential in his life to be xyz but is not WORKING…LET. IT. GO. That includes the way the person treats you and how they work towards their personal goals. Everyone has 20 oz potential, but some are content with receiving 12 oz in that 20 oz cup. We have to be willing to accept that fact and keep it pushing. It is not fair for you to push your agenda onto a person. A rule of therapy is that we do not work harder than our clients do to reach their goals. Same thing goes for day to day life. Do not work harder on someone else’s goals if they are not willing to work hard for themselves.
P.S. Per the usual the scripture comes from the New Living Translation. You can click on the verse within the post to read it on Biblegateway.com. Remember if you like what you read repost, retweet, and like!