All the time you are growing up you hear about how you can do anything you want and how the world is yours for the taking. The truth, however, is that life rarely feels that way. It’s far easier for us to see the obstacles that stand in our way and to focus on our shortcomings rather than on our strengths. By the time you complete high school, it’s easy to become jaded about your abilities and potential. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a faith often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) actually do believe that we have limitless potential, and that potential isn’t just for your career or education—Mormons believe that you have limitless spiritual and eternal potential as well.
What Is My Potential?
You may be wondering what your potential is, or even what it’s for. Mormons believe that all of us have the potential to not only live with our Heavenly Father again, but also to become like Him. Now that’s potential for greatness! You came to this earth at a crucial time in its history; right now Satan is working harder than he’s ever worked before to destroy the work of God. We have the potential to fight him and successfully stand for good.
We also have the potential to create and raise families centered on Jesus Christ. Families are a critical component in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have the power to make families a force for good in a world that is continually devaluing them.
But I Don’t Feel Like I Have Potential
The key to unlocking your potential lies in discovering who you really are: a child of a divine Father, of God. Once you come to understand this fundamental truth, you will feel your potential open up and enfold you. You will begin to see yourself as God sees you—and that’s a big deal.
Saying that you’re a child of God and really feeling it are two different things. If you are seeking for that knowledge and confirmation, you can do a few things to help along the process.
- Pray. And pray and pray and pray. Prayer is direct communication with God. Through prayer we can confess our doubts, insecurities, worries, and sins. We can ask Him questions about who we are and why we are here, and He will answer us. Our prayers are always answered.
- Read the word of God. God has given us scriptures to help bring us closer to Him. Through diligently reading scripture we come to know better the nature of Jesus Christ and better understand how He teaches. Often answers to prayers are found through scripture. Become familiar with the word of God, and work hard to understand and apply it. Mormons not only believe that the Bible is scripture, but they also believe that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. Mormons also have other books of more modern scripture (like the Doctrine and Covenants) and even have a semiannual conference where prophets and apostles speak to us. All of those resources count as scripture and can help us better understand who we are.
- Talk to others. Find someone who is confident in who they are and who has a strong relationship with Heavenly Father. This could be a parent or close friend, or even the Mormon missionaries. Not everyone has people in their lives who can help them understand their potential, and if you need someone to talk to, find the missionaries. They will not only help you in your quest to understand who you are, but they will pray for you and teach you the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Know Your Enemy: Satan
As you come to understand your worth as a child of God and your potential as His heir, Satan will work tirelessly against your efforts. He is the most miserable of any being and wants everyone to be like him. He doesn’t want anyone to feel loved or valued, and when he sees someone like you working to understand your divine nature and individual worth, he will try to derail your efforts.
Combating Satan’s attacks, though, is easier once you understand your potential. Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, says, “When you really understand who you are, it is not difficult to resist Satan’s temptations. Then he can’t thwart the development of your true potential” (“Realize Your Full Potential”). Fighting against Satan takes hard work, but it’s made so much easier when you have Jesus Christ on your side. The good news is that Christ will always win in the end.
Continually Look Forward
Even after you’ve found that spiritual confirmation of your divine heritage, sometimes you slip up and make a mistake. Sometimes it’s a small mistake, and sometimes it’s a bigger one. Don’t let these derail your progression and potential. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that our potential isn’t diminished by our mistakes; when we take advantage of the Savior’s grace, we can always start over and move forward. Jesus Christ is always and forever cheering us on and picking us up. He sees our potential better than we ever will in this life. We need to trust Him and allow Him to make us glorious.