Living with limits
Helen Keller experienced it. Mozart did too. The apostle Paul had to deal with it. And then there was Moses. They all had to live with significant, and even serious, problems and limitations.
They couldn’t hear or see or talk – or at least not very well. They had obvious problems. Limits. It must have been embarrassing and frustrating, difficult and depressing. No, they probably didn’t like it. Not one bit. It must have felt like more than they could manage; it was too much at times. But, they had to learn how to limp along and make do. They had to keep on trying and living just the same. And do you know what? So do you.
But be encouraged. Most everyone has to face something painful and difficult – that just will not go away. If it isn’t in the past it will be in the future. Weakness has a way of making itself known. And it isn’t just you. No, you are not alone. The “beautiful” people have issues to. The healthy aren’t whole in every way. Your friend or co-worker who appears to be popular and successful is limited somehow. Count on it. Learn to look beyond the surface. Nobody has it all together, or at least not for long. Everyone is messed-up and mixed-up and lacking to some extent. When Mr. Wonderful gets home and is all alone…the cracks begin to show.
People everywhere have limits.
Have you ever met someone who excels at absolutely everything? I seriously doubt it. Nobody is good at everything. Each person reading this has real, tangible strengths and weaknesses. For example, the creative people often need an organizer at their side; the thinkers need someone who can really feel; the task-people need the people-people, etc. What is your most significant limitation? You might not know exactly what it is right now, but you will find out. And that is okay. It is nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about. It is called being human. And honest.
So if you have just recently discovered that you have weaknesses and limitations may I be the first to welcome you to the human race. Glad you could join us!
This is to say, that all the human-potential talk (and this website is full of it) can easily be exaggerated. When it comes right down to it, you can’t actually do whatever you set your mind on. You just can’t. Nothing is impossible with God. But still, Joseph didn’t give birth to Jesus; that was Mary’s job. The painful reality is that you and I have clear limits. Even science can only take you so far. It turns out that the sky is not the limit after all. It isn’t just a matter of believing in yourself, and having a dream, and setting goals, and going for it. The truth is that some goals are next to impossible for some people to achieve. Can I be so bold to suggest that some things would be unwise for you to even seriously attempt?
Perseverance isn’t always a good thing.
Early on, though, that idea is to test or discover your abilities – as opposed to your limitations – in a safe environment. Don’t be overly eager to rule anything out too soon. You never know what might be a part of your package deal. So give it (whatever it is) a try. And be careful not to label or limit others before they have a chance to really grow and develop and thrive either. Possibility thinking comes first and then talk of reality. Give it a go before you give it up. Does it make sense to cut someone from the team before they have even have a chance to try out?
Once, however, it becomes a little more obvious what you have to work with you will need to determine to do what you can with what you have. There is no use devoting your life to, say, becoming a world-famous opera singer if that is never, ever, going to happen. Why bother investing lots of time and money pursuing a career that you are honestly not gifted to pursue? It doesn’t make sense. Sounds like a waste of time. Why not, rather, go with what you are already naturally interested in and good at?
Applying this way of thinking, I have ruled out an illustrious acting career and actually quite a few other callings as well. At the same time, I am trying to focus my energy more and more on what I have to work with. And may I encourage you to do the same.
Over the years, Helen learned to appreciate her limitations. “I thank God for my handicaps,” she once said “for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
*Click here to try to identify personal limitations and explore how to deal with them
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