If I’m being completely honest, I don’t like limitations. I have this underlying belief that the things that I want should be unlimited: unlimited data, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited battery. I want my creativity, time, and potential to be unlimited. I want to do and go and eat and enjoy what I want when I want it and I don’t want to have to accept or embrace the simple truth that there are limits on what I can do.
But there are some very real limitations to me.
A couple of weeks ago I hit my edge. I don’t know what it was about this particular week at work, but everything that I had been holding onto and trying to manage on my own, thinking I would just power through, hit me like a ton of bricks. I was exhausted and frustrated and just tired. I was demoralized and feeling like a failure. I dreaded dragging myself out of bed each morning and donning the mask I knew I needed to in order to keep portions of my world spinning. I didn’t want to raise my hand and say that I was struggling and I surely didn’t want to take a rest—I thought I could handle it.
But I couldn’t.
I realized, during that difficult week, that I am incredibly limited. I don’t have endless energy and I surely don’t have endless time. There’s a limit to my bandwidth and, while I have a large capacity, there are even limits to that. And each of these limits and the truth of my very real humanness is by design.
If I were unlimited, as I often desire, then I wouldn’t have a need for God. I could just go about my life the way I want when I want. But, if I’m left to my own devices, running my life the way I want, it’s not going to end well. I will end up hurting myself and others in the process and my selfish nature will shine brightly through even my most philanthropic of intentions. I will run myself into the ground because I so highly value work and so undervalue myself.
Even though limits are so incredibly frustrating to me, after a week like the one I had a few weeks ago, I’m incredibly grateful for them.
After I realized just how much I was struggling, I asked for a day off and, for multiple days in a row, I didn’t work. I muted notifications and told everyone to not text me on that day unless it was an emergency. Though I woke up thinking about work, I resisted the urge to fire up my email and begin sharing all of my thoughts. This day required a lot of discipline in our always-connected age, but I’m so grateful for it.
I’m learning that there’s no shame in embracing our limitations. No one other than me is putting the pressure on me to be perfect or more than human. My own internal pressure is what’s demanding that I blow past very real and God-given boundaries for my life.
For me, I’m always tempted to work more and harder and longer than I should. But I think we all have this desire to blow past our own limitations in our own ways. Some of us overbook ourselves thinking that if we just spend enough time with enough people then we’ll make everyone happy. Or we overeat because we find comfort in food. Or we spend too much time alone even though we know we are hard-wired for community.
Whatever limitation you’re tempted to blow past, I encourage you to take a few moments and think about it today. And, if you need to take a rest from something, create some boundaries, or introduce some accountability into your life, I encourage you to do so. It’s hard laying down those parts of us that desire to be more than we are, but when we do so, I think that opens us up to live as God designed us to: as free sons and daughters.
How do you feel about limitations?
Is there an area of your life that you’re over-extending yourself that you need to rein back in?