When my maternal grandfather was a toddler, he contracted polio. The disease left its mark on him by robbing him of the use of his legs. As his granddaughter, he was the grandpa who owned an auto repair shop about 20 miles outside of Winnipeg. He traversed his work and world by sitting on the ground then used his arms to move forward his weak legs and strong upper body. His limitations were visible to me even as a little girl. I recall being so excited my grandparents were coming from Canada all the way to Chillicothe, Missouri for a visit. I invited a friend over to our house to meet my grandfather, telling her that he could not walk, so she would have to come to him.
Out of love, respect, and honor, I never asked this dear man to do what his body would not do. We did not go for a run, but we would sit and visit with a tall glass of ice water. We did not go for a long walk, but I would go out to his shop and watch him work when I was visiting in Canada. I honored his limitations by not asking or even encouraging him to do what he could not do. This honor I extended to my grandfather is similar to the honor God extends to each of us. God knows how we are made. And while at times we are invited to move past our comfort zone, God does not push us past our limits (Matthew 11:28-30).
Perhaps like me, your limitations are less visible than my grandfather’s. What if some of the things that stress you are also connected to one of your limitations? Yet because of who we are, we try to push ourselves. This push manifests as stress. What if you honored your limitations? How might it be to name that you cannot be all things to all people? In fact, none of us can. No one is gifted in every area. No one is able to do it all without a price being paid.
The invitation is this – what are your limitations? If you think you do not have any, you may wish to consider what is life-draining to you? How do you feel after you watch certain television or online programs? How does your body feel after too much sugar? Turn into your inner life, and ask yourself what is going on within? Or make a list of what is stressing you. Perhaps you will find a limitation or two.
Now, how might you honor them and yourself?