Embracing my limits.

22 Mar

{source - a great blog that you should check out!}

I’m sure you’ve all heard the popular saying “No Limits.” People don’t like limits. We want to do it all, be it all, and have it all, and no one can tell us otherwise… including ourselves.

My perfectionist personality by definition struggles with this condition. Doing it right means doing it all. If I can’t do it all, I’m failing.

For years, I lamented that I couldn’t attain the standard I was striving for. There was always more I felt I should be doing, ways I was failing, things I should have been better at. Things I didn’t, in actuality, care about, but things I thought I should care about.

And here’s what God has been teaching me: I have limits. And I can embrace them.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be the sum of the character traits and attributes that I admire in other people. The things that I admire most about other people, I admire because I am not like that. For example, I admire people who have big-picture visions for companies, programs, plans, etc. They are doing important things that matter, and because I respect that, I start thinking that maybe I should be more like that. But then I start feeling discouraged and insufficient because… I just don’t think I could do that.

I’m a detail-oriented person. I love focusing on the tactical, how-does-this-actually-get-done kind of details, not the where-d0-we-go-from-here and what-is-our-1o-year-plan kind. It’s where I thrive, where I find my passion. When I’m looking at details, I can get lost for hours and realize I worked through lunch. That’s who I am. So it makes sense that I wouldn’t be a big picture type of person. And you know what? The world needs both kinds. If we were all big picture thinkers, nothing would ever actually get done. And if we were all detail-oriented, we’d all be working but not know what we were working toward.

I’m learning that my schedule also has limits. As much as I would love to be involved and volunteer more, I have come to accept that I can’t right now. That acceptance has been a long time coming. I always thought I should be able to “do more”, like those people who seem to be involved in everything. Over the past month or so, though, I’ve realized that not only am I a person who hates being incredibly busy, I also don’t have that much free time.

Take the typical work day: I wake up at 5:30 and spend an hour and a half reading the Bible and working on my book. Then I get ready for work, eat breakfast and am out the door by 8:30. I get home from work around 5:30, run, stretch, make dinner, watch maybe an hour of TV or read blogs, and go to bed around 9:00. If it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday, there’s a good chance we have a church meeting that starts at 6 or 7 and goes until 8:30. So there’s no bandwidth during the week for “more.”

That leaves the weekends. A month ago, I was still feeling like I wanted to be more involved, so I asked God to show me how I could get more involved at church on my very limited schedule. Not more than a week later, I was asked to do the graphic design for the Sunday morning overhead slides. A huge answer to prayer! I can create the slides on Saturday, when it works for me, and I still get to serve. Things were going well.

Then I was asked if I wanted to design some materials for a conference they’re putting on in April. I thought about it, and even though I wasn’t sure I had the time, I said yes. Ever since then, that project has been hanging over my head and stressing me out. Not because it’s going to be time-intensive necessarily, or because I don’t want to do it, but because I have stretched myself too thin.

I was complaining to God yesterday morning on my drive to work about how stressed and overwhelmed I felt. And as I told Him that, I realized that I felt that way because I had overstepped my limits. I have time and energy for creating the slides, but anything beyond that is adding too much. So I am going to finish designing these materials, but let them know that I can’t help out in the future, unless something changes.

God doesn’t intend for us to do it all. He doesn’t want us to even attempt to do it all, because all we achieve is running ourselves ragged and being stretched so thin we’re ready to snap like a dry rubber band. Why would we want to do that? I know for myself, I do it because I think I “should.” I should be busy, I should be serving, I should be giving.

This is just one more aspect of learning to walk with God through every moment of every day – learning that God will lead us into what we should be doing. We can stop worrying about the future. Stop worrying about the big picture. Focus on the moment. Leave the rest with God. Anticipate His blessing on our lives because Christ won Him over for us on the cross. And rest in His sovereignty in all things, His sufficiency for sin and failure, and His love for the people He created us to be.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)

Do you accept your limits?

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