Life with Limits
“Live Life With No Limits!” The motivational poster yelled this message at me every time I went to the gym to workout. Which was irritating, because nothing reminds me of my limits as quickly as trying to work out. I mean, I’m good at walking. You get me on a treadmill with a good 2.3 mph going, and I can put one foot in front of the other like I know what I’m doing! You could say I’m a natural even. But the rest of the gym...well...let’s just say either I work my way up very, very slowly by acknowledging my limits, or I’m out of commission for a few days. My body has limits.
I hate them.
Why do we have limits? Why would God do this to us?! I was really frustrated with my limitations a few weeks ago and ranting to God about it.
“Deliver me from all my limitations! In you all things are possible!” But then came a realization -- God gave me some limits! Yes, our Creator built me specifically not to have a life without limits. Even before the fall, in the perfect Garden of Eden, perfect Adam and perfect Eve had limitations.
Why would God do that?
Well, think about it. If I had no limits, I would be God. Do you want me to be God? I didn’t think so. I don’t want you to be God either! I can’t be all-knowing, all-powerful, or present everywhere at the same time (though I would love to be omnipresent when both of my kids are getting in trouble in different parts of the house at the same time!).
Limitlessness has to belong only to The One who is Limitlessly Good. Only Perfect Love can handle not having limits.
So now that we’ve established that we’re not God, let’s go on.
Not all limits are from God. My workout limitations, for instance, are not from God, but mostly from sickness. And when I’m completely honest with myself, many of my chronic health problems came from ignoring my own limitations for so many years, and pretending I was invincible. Turns out I was quite vincible.
Accepting and honoring the limitations God has set in our bodies and minds can actually go a long way towards living a life that moves beyond what we could accomplish within the boundaries of our own limitations. Because guess what? God. Is. In. Us. And God is limitless! While we honor our own limitations, God can move THROUGH us to accomplish “even more than we could ever hope for or dream of!” But it’s God accomplishing it. Not us!
In my weakness God is made strong.
Does this mean I should accept weakness? Well, not exactly. The limits God gives us are things like:
You have a body that REQUIRES REST.
You can only be in ONE PLACE AT A TIME.
Your body WILL RESPOND to what it takes in, via food, emotions, or stress.
You CANNOT carry a horse. (Unless you’re super strong, and it’s, like, a really tiny baby horse.)
You WILL NOT always know everything.
The devil also gives us limitations. Things like:
If something is not from God, you can’t accept it! So how can you know which of your limitations are from God? Ask him!
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking!” (James 1:5 NLT)
If you are living with the Holy Spirit, he can and will give you wisdom. You might not get the wisdom instantly, but seek and you will find it. Keep knocking. Keep asking. Keep seeking, and the Holy Spirit will show you things in your life that are attacks from the devil. He will show you the things that are a result of your own unwise decisions.
I’m still in this struggle. I don’t have it all figured out. The beginning of the year I did an “excessive productivity” fast to help me recognize and acknowledge limits in my life. To acknowledge that if God has put limits in my life, then resting when my body needs it is accepting the sovereignty of God and therefore is an act of worship -- of bowing before the one who rests even when he doesn’t need it.
God isn’t a God who whispers secrets in dark corners and tries to keep things hidden from you. He’s kind. He won’t leave you with sin in your life if you truly want to follow Him. He can show you the way out.
Anita grew up in Belize as a missionary kid. She has lived in 3 countries and traveled on 5 continents but can't resist the allure of subzero winters so she now lives in MN with her Egyptian husband and two daughters. She blogs about God, motherhood, and appreciating beauty at anitamatta.com, and pretends to be trendy by posting pictures of coffee as @anitafmatta on Instagram.