Accepting my limitations

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"There are no limits except the sky."  How many times have I heard that overly used cliche?  Better yet, how often do I try and live that way?  Unfortunately, I must admit that I have adapted this mantra for the better part of my 44 years--and it is now backfiring on me. Believe me, there have been many meltdowns from being overloaded but I always seem to meander back to my old ways. I make some changes but find myself back in the thick of an over scheduled life.

I have never been very good at operating within limits or setting limits for myself and others. I always thought it was because I wanted to be open to other options but I now see it's because I like being told how strong I am or how capable I am or how.... you fill-in-the blank.   Because of my own insecurities and need for approval and affirmation, I have not strayed from this path of taking on more than I should, accommodating others' preferences, staying quiet about my own needs/desires and trying to be all things to all people.  It is just not humanly possible--nor how I think God intends for us to live.  This season of my life is actually turning out to be a gift as it's proving that I can't continue on this path unless I want to have a stroke or ruin what precious years I have left with my children.  And, believe me, neither of those sound like good options right now.  

I've realized that when you have shown the world you are someone who figures out a way to make things happen, initiate relationships, live life fully; prioritize others and have a "can do" attitude you will set yourself up for expectations--both internally and externally--  that are impossible to fulfill. (again, a byproduct of insecurity) As a result, bitterness and resentment rear their ugly heads and you lament over the fact that others aren't reading your mind, and offering help then you write on Facebook:  "Three kids in three schools in three sports; a husband who is on the road more than he is home; and a 16 credit load quarter was not what I anticipated for this season and is about to send this chick over the edge. I apologize in advance if I am not very nice right now."  (written in third person on purpose)

Then God, in his grace and mercy, sent this message to my inbox by way of a daily devotional email I barely took the time to read.
 As mothers in the twenty-first century, we are tempted to meet every need that comes our way. But our primary job is to love the Lord, love our husbands, and nurture our children. All the other needs that scream for our attention, though they are noble, must wait until we take care of our families first.

 I have heard this sentiment a million times before but, in my desperation, I am seeing it with a new set of eyes. And really, finally taking it to heart.  

So how am I putting this into practice?  Well, I had two opportunities just in the last hour. First, as I was sitting here on my laptop another string of emails (the list has gone around at least 10 times) came in requesting items for a Teacher Appreciation Week luncheon.  I glanced at it and hit "delete."  Not in this season.  Second, the phone just rang and the voice on the other end was the PTA volunteer coordinator from the high school looking for parents to sit in on the AP tests tomorrow morning.  I kindly told her "not in this season." 

I know that pull will continue to be there every time another request comes my way but I have to remember whose approval it is I seek.  And the limits He has naturally put on us are a blessing, for our good.

  I think my new mantra will be "There ARE limits to what is humanly possible but NO limits to the number of times God will remind you of this."