A while back I was talking with a friend about a six-week sermon series that we had just finished at our church. She asked how I thought it went.
I said, "I think I tried to do too much with it. I packed in more than I needed."
She responded with a slow head nod and said, "Yeah. That's what you do." I knew what she was saying. She wasn't really referring to my preaching. She was referring to the way that I live my life.
I tend to see all the good things that I could be doing and try to do all of them. I'm not great at taking time off or saying no to certain opportunities. I like to go, go, go and pack in as much as I can.
Some of this is driven by fear. If I say no to a particular opportunity, I worry that it won't come back around.
Some of it's driven by an attempt to impress people. If I'm doing lots of things, maybe that will make me look more important than I am.
Some of it's driven by the mindset that the more I do and accomplish the happier and more satisfied I will be.
Recently, I've been challenged with embracing my limits, not thinking I can do it all. As I read the gospels, Jesus is a great example of this.
In John 4, after having spent the day traveling the text says, "Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well." Jesus had physical limits.
In Mark 6, as Jesus received the disciples back from a recent mission trip, they were overcrowded by people. We read, "because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Jesus had relational limits.
In Mark 1, crowds were looking for Jesus to continue His ministry in a specific region. He responded by saying, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." Jesus even had vocational limits.
If Jesus had limits on what He could do, why shouldn't I think I have limits also?
Over the fall and into the winter, an area where I had to practice embracing my limits was around writing. I've been on a four-month blogging break for two reasons. One, because I realized I couldn't do it all all the time. And two, I've been working on finishing a devotional book.
I'm really excited about this project and will be saying more about it in the weeks ahead, but over the last four months, the words of my friend have been echoing in my head.
"I think I tried to do too much."
"Yeah. That's what you do."
So, if you find yourself stretched thin, over-worked, or on the verge of burning out, instead of fighting your limits, embrace them. Trust that in doing so you're embracing the way God created you and that your greatest joy is in Him rather than in what you do.