“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – William Rudolph
When I was growing up, one of my family’s favorite exhibits at the County Fair was the Bonsai Tree collection. Our community had a strong group of Bonsai Tree Lovers that met regularly to refine their craft. Each year, at the County Fair, the group would come together to display their art. The exhibit would typically feature over 100 Bonsai trees. They came in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Some were pretty to look at and some not so much, but the exhibit was always guaranteed to draw a large crowd.
Being young, I always assumed Bonsai trees were special trees that only grew really small. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned these miniature trees are no different than any other tree – left on their own they would grow into full-sized trees (much like the trees that composed the forest around our home). But rather than being allowed to reach their fullest size, Bonsai trees are planted in miniature pots, their roots are stunted, and their branches are pruned incessantly. As a result, Bonsai trees never grow to their fullest potential.
And while I completely understand and appreciate the art displayed in the meticulous work of maintaining a Bonsai tree, there is still a piece of me that senses a curious tragedy in this scenario. This tree designed for a great and powerful future has been stunted in its growth.
Yet, this tragedy pales in comparison to the similar tragedy that plays out in so many of our lives on a daily basis. We were designed to accomplish great things. Our lives are unique and perfectly prepared to become something special. We are called to make a significant difference in this world and in the lives of those around us. But far too often, our life’s full potential is stunted.
Of course, our growth is not stunted by pots, soil, or pruning. Instead, it is hindered by…
- Unhealthy habits
- Short-sighted pursuits
- Misplaced pride
- Excessive consumerism
- Unintentionally in relationships
- Crippling fear
- or Clinging too tightly to the past.
Your life… our lives… hold great potential for this world. Each in our own way, we are designed to make a significant difference. May we intentionally evaluate them. And find the strength to make the changes – both big and small – needed to realize it.