Ellen's Picks Member Spotlight - Krista Penner

I was three years old the first time anybody clued in to the fact that I did not mind standing up in front of a crowd and taking charge. It was a Sunday school pageant and I was convinced my friend Sharon needed me to straighten out her dress, so I turned around in front of everyone and took care of things.

As a young girl, discovering my possible potential came through simple acts:

Like the times I would lock myself in the bathroom and give speeches to my reflection in the mirror while my sister banged on the door. “ Krista, what are you doing in there? Are you talking to yourself? You are so weird!”

The early signs of my hardwiring were tempered by the fact that it was 1970 and my dad was pastor of a little tiny Baptist church. In that community, a young woman’s ministry potential was defined by playing the piano and teaching Sunday school…I happily obliged on all accounts.

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But bottom line, circa 1970 within the church world, “women in leadership” was an oxymoron.

Historically, cultural norms ebb and flow and change over time, and I have come to the conclusion that I must refuse the temptation to look back and waste a tear or a sigh over “woulda coulda shoulda”.  Because ultimately, regardless of cultural norms, every circumstance and avenue of possibility that we pursue, shapes our narrative for the magnification of either ourselves or our Creator.

Pursuing our potential in Christ is an act of worship that at once acknowledges God as both giver and recipient of our possibilities, no matter where we land on the grand timeline.

You see, despite what felt like stymied possibility in my young life, God’s plan for the expression of my acts of worship superseded my environment.

And the proof of this is found in the pages of Scripture. God makes a way where none exists:

Isaiah 43

 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

If you believe that this is true of the One who formed you then it is imperative that this truth inform the lens through which you view yourself. He…

  1. Calls us by name,
  2. Declares our belonging, and
  3. Takes us on a journey through the impossible.

Over the years I have wrestled with the possibilities; the “woulda coulda shouldas” of my life …. But my mind always turns back to a moment in my life when I was 15. I had thrown a stick into the fire at camp…and not just any stick…it was a stick that, in its surrender to the flames, acknowledged that my potential belonged to Christ.

I did not have a hot clue as to what God had in store for me….I only knew one thing: Significant potential could only be reached by offering my possibilities to the One to whom I belonged.

What do I want you to know?

I want to challenge you with what I have come to discover:

Your potential is not defined by the outputs of your life.

  • Output relates to “what we do” and is measured in activity and metrics.

Rather, your potential in seen in the outcomes of your life.

  • Outcome refers to “what difference is there” and is measured in impact, transformation and purpose

God has a clear understanding of your potential…of your outcomes….

He gets you more than you get yourself.

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He sees your possibilities despite your deficiencies.

We often get stuck because we allow our circumstances, our insecurities, and our cultural indoctrination to define our potential.

But when we turn our attention back to Scripture, we see that our potential is defined by what God thinks of us and what we can accomplish with Him by our side. Your potential has everything to do with the impact you will make when you show up in other people’s lives with vulnerability, purpose, and authenticity.

Here’s the key:  God only requires that you show up.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

You see, the results are up to Him; the response is up to you.

He has the power to break through your shame, your hurt, your distrust, your insecurity, your lack of faith in Him…and your lack of faith in yourself. Despite what you have been told, despite where you have failed in the past, despite the obstacles that you are too tired to climb over, this truth remains constant…. God says to you… “Everybody wanted you, and I got you”…

Potential has nothing to do with perfection, environment or qualification; it has everything to do with reaching beyond your self-imposed limits and taking a risk…rather than settling for “woulda coulda shoulda”.

Your potential is found in surrendering your life to the One who gave it to you.

And full surrender has no regrets.

EP Member Spotlight - Krista PennerKrista Penner Krista loves to connect people to Jesus. Whether she is running errands or speaking at a church, sharing Christ matters to her. Krista works for Fellowship Pacific in Leadership Development and has the privilege of teaching board governance and leadership principles as well as Crucial Conversations in Fellowship Pacific churches across BC and Yukon.

She shares life with her husband, Jerome, in Mission, BC and is almost an empty nester! She has three children; her two oldest children are living in the US and her youngest will graduate from high school this year. Krista enjoys cooking for everyone in her life and quite often you will find her in her kitchen, wearing her apron, creating something that calls for a pound of butter!

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