Lately, I’ve been thinking about limitations. More specifically, that I have some. And acknowledging these limitations has shifted the way I view my life in two seemingly contradictory ways…
On the one hand, I can’t do everything but there are certain things that are my responsibility. Take housework, for example. While doing a load of laundry is not the most important thing on any given day, it is my responsibility. And I may need to say “no” to certain things that are actually more important than laundry purely because laundry is my responsibility and those other things are not. I need to order my life in such a way that I don’t sacrifice the purposeful mundane in service of the wonderfully purposeful. When I acknowledge that I can’t do it all, I can create margin and scale back my life until I can accomplish the things that fall within my purview.
However, there are times when there are more important things than having a well-ordered life. Think of Jesus correcting Martha’s busy hospitality in favor of Mary’s devotion. Or when Priscilla needed to join her husband in talking to Apollo in order to set doctrine straight within the church (assuming that Priscilla was indeed in charge of certain responsibilities within their household). There are many different times when I should not be doing housework—there is simply something more important for me to do. Housework can wait. I need to be able and willing to accept and see those moments while being content with the housework not getting done.
The main point is that they can’t both happen all the time. We are very limited creatures. The only person who accomplishes everything he wants to is God. And we must be humble enough to accept this truth.
So it has been helpful for me to wrestle with the idea of accepting my limitations, whether that means tackling big challenges and letting the small things fall and fail, or whether that means scaling way back on all the wonderful things I want to do in order to just manage the little, simple things that I’m responsible for each day.
(Photo by Catt Liu)