Level Up

blog Jun 06, 2024

By Chris Pace

“You’re full of potential!”

I’m sure you’ve heard these words spoken over you before. Perhaps it was from a parent, a teacher or a coach. These words are encouraging when you’re young and starting off, but they hit differently after a few trips around the sun. What began as a compliment can easily become a painful critique, an ever-present reminder that you’re not where you could be—or, if we’re honest, where you should be.

That was me in my early 30s. I had just migrated from Australia to America and was beginning a new life in “the land of the brave,” … although I wasn’t feeling very brave at the time. Back home, I had a lot going for me that had taken years to build—established relationships, a well-paying job, and a local church where my ministry dreams were coming true. Leaving Australia meant leaving all this behind.

This move also meant paving a new path. But how? I felt like others were moving forward with purpose while my life remained at a standstill. I sensed I was made for more but didn’t know how to attain it. Honestly, I was afraid. I often felt like a lost little boy looking for his parents in the midst of a crowd.

During this time, however, God began to stir within my heart a compelling desire to write. Over the years, I had sensed I was called to write, but I didn’t know how to begin. But once I started to get serious about writing, things changed. I began by writing a blog every week. As much as I wanted to impact others, I knew the blog wasn’t for anything else other than the development of my gift—because, looking back, I wasn’t very good. I even wrestled with thoughts such as, What am I even doing? Who do I think I am? Who will ever read what I write?

Despite my hesitations, though, I trusted that I had heard from God, and I desired to be obedient. Every week, I diligently recorded my thoughts and revelations—sensing that what I was doing was much bigger than just writing a blog. As I continued down this path, my capacity to receive revelation and to write grew. Looking back, I was being faithful with the little I had, and I began to make significant progress with this craft, changing the trajectory of my future. 

After about a year of doing this, the Lord put it on my heart to write a book. By that time, I had a core theme and an outline, and the urge to write was stronger than the resistance not to. I moved from writing a blog per week to writing a chapter every other week. And I completed the initial manuscript in approximately four months. Although nothing resulted from this book, so much awakened within me—I had tapped into an area of gifting that was dormant for far too long.

About a year later, I began to write another book. Again, I had a core theme and inspiration to do so. This time, however, I self-published the book as an ebook on Amazon. This was a pivotal moment for me, and even though the book didn’t sell well, opportunities to do writing projects at Messenger International (the ministry I work for) began to open. They started small, but more was entrusted to me as I continued to give my best effort to these assignments.

My gift made room for me to step into a full-time position as content developer (and now, content director) to write and develop content on behalf of John and Lisa Bevere. I’ve lost count of all the discipleship resources I’ve developed—ebooks, online courses, podcasts and now, a book of my own. 

I’m so thankful I yielded to those promptings to write years ago. It’s not enough to be full of potential unless it’s being realized. By no means have I “arrived”—but progress is being made. I’ve learned that realizing your potential is a process of becoming that is accomplished on levels.

I’ve also discovered that your gift will make room for you to advance to new levels of destiny. When you remain faithful and diligent in developing your gift, you’ll find yourself rising and being promoted—shifting from where you have potential to where you are potent, coming alive with purpose, passion and power.

What desires have you suppressed? What promptings have you ignored? What ideas have you shelved? Perhaps it’s time to revisit them and move in that direction.


Paul warned Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift which is in you (1 Timothy 4:14a, AMPC, emphasis mine). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines neglect as “to give little attention or respect to” and “to leave undone or unattended to, especially through carelessness.” When we neglect our gifts, they remain dormant, and our growth is stunted, holding us back from realizing our potential.

Our gifts can be neglected for many reasons, but the most common is that we often covet someone else’s gift, despising our own. But we must develop the gifts we have, not the gifts we want. This doesn’t mean we can’t acquire new skills; just don’t do that at the expense of our greatest strengths.

The more I gave attention to my writing gift, the more competent I became at it. And God knows how incompetent I was at first. I had to push through the early discomfort. We grow into our potential on levels, just like in physical growth. But our growth in our gifting isn’t so much subjected to time as it is to our quality of practice.

After Paul warned Timothy to keep his gift dusted off and active, he then coached him on how to develop it: “Practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties; throw yourself wholly into them [as your ministry], so that your progress may be evident to everybody” (1 Timothy 4:15 AMPC).

Leveling up is all about making progress, which, according to Paul, will become evident to everybody when we develop our gifts through practice, coaching, and reflection—giving ourselves completely to what God has called and gifted us to do.

Let’s briefly look at each of these things.

Practice. Our private practice will shape our public performance. Whether in the gym, the office, at home or in a cubicle—it’s easy to lose sight of the days, months and years of hard work invested to perform at such a high level.

Practice involves being professionally engaged in the development of our giftings and craft. That’s what I was doing all those years, writing in private while nothing came of it except personal growth—which was more valuable than anything!

In 2015, Under Armour launched its global marketing campaign, “Rule Yourself,” which centered on the phrase, “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.” The campaign showcased several Under Armour athletes, including American swimmer Michael Phelps.

One of the commercials (which went viral) captured him diligently preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games, giving us a glimpse into his private preparation that had earned him his Olympic stardom. Could the popularity of this ad be because it revealed Phelps’s humanity—striking a chord deep within our hearts that inspires us to believe that we, too, can achieve high performance if we put in the work?

Private practice is paying the price that produces great rewards. Will you pay the price?

Coaching. Practice is practical while cultivating is educational. When you consider the word “cultivate,” think coaching. Anyone who has excelled in their gifting has had coaching along the way. I’m so thankful for those who’ve invested in me as a speaker and writer. They made a big difference in my life, accelerating my growth and development. Coaches provide critical feedback and insights that cannot be attained on your own. They also see your potential and are committed to drawing it out of you.

Reflection. At its core, to meditate means to reflect. Certain growth can only occur when we take the time to stop and reflect on the lessons we are learning. This allows us to evaluate our progress and make necessary adjustments.


Everything we’ve discussed is contingent upon giving ourselves completely to what God has called and gifted us to do. As we do, our progress will become obvious, and we’ll continue to rise to new levels of growth and achievement. We have one shot at this life to give it everything we have.

Could it be that many are not progressing in their callings due to undeveloped gifts? Could the degree to which our gifts are developed determine the extent to which we can be promoted?

One of the greatest tragedies in life is unfulfilled potential—all that could’ve been but wasn’t. Sobering, isn’t it? It’s time to shift from where we have potential to where we are potent. Remember: it’s not enough to be full of potential unless it’s being realized. It’s time to level up.

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