Embracing the Gift of Limitations

Every New Year, we go through a process—some more than others—to re-evaluate, set goals, create resolutions, and establish new priorities.  And two weeks later (or less), we’ve already set them aside due to the urgent overtaking the important.  


This year, I want to challenge you to embrace the gift of limitations.  Eugene Peterson invites us to “be content with who you are.”  Work hard, but don’t overwork, which is frequently a sign of discontent.  One author says, “We are trying to do something or be somebody that is beyond who we were created to be” (Fryling, The Leadership Elipse, 119).  


The Apostle Paul tells us that when we “compare ourselves with one another,” we are “without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12).  He goes on to say, “We will not boast beyond limits,” and “we are not overextending ourselves” (verses 13-14).


We can easily get caught in the trap of seeking our identity in what we do rather than who we are in Christ.  We look for satisfaction in the wrong places.


There is an old story from Middle Eastern folklore of a man named Nasrudin who returns home late at night only to discover that he has lost his house key.  He tries searching for it, but it was too dark to see.  He moves out to the streetlight and begins looking there.  A neighbor sees him down on his hands and knees searching, and he goes to help. After some time of futile searching, the neighbor asks, “Are you sure you lost your key here?”  Nasrudin replies, “No, I lost it in my house.”  His bewildered neighbor asks, “Then why are you looking for it out here?” “Because,” Nasrudin answers, “the light is so much better here.”  


So it is with our search for contentment.  We must look in the right place.  If you’re a mom who places her identity and self-worth in comparison to what other moms do, you’re looking in the wrong place.  If your contentment ebbs and flows on how you measure up to that other salesperson, neighbor, golfer, or preacher, you’re looking in the wrong place.


Accept the gift of limitations.  Embrace the gifts, abilities, and personality God has given you.  You are not “less-than” simply because you cannot do “more-than” someone else.  There is freedom in becoming who God created you to be, not someone else.  Stop performing to earn the approval of others, and step into the presence of the God who loves you.  


May your search for significance culminate in our Father’s embrace.  


“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20, NIV).