Last week as I frantically sewed on Katie’s wedding dress amidst the mess and chaos we lovingly refer to as the year of two-weddings-and-a-baby, Kelsey launched into a presentation on why we should adopt her friends’ year-old black Labrador retriever. Now. To her credit, we have discussed getting another dog since the passing of our cat, Beatrix. But not now. Her timing was terrible.
As Kelsey presented her case, never taking a breath nor at a loss for words, I realized I have hit my limit.
I kept sewing and calmly told Kelsey, “I’ve hit my limit. I can’t do more than I’m doing right now.” Phew! I felt better immediately.
She knew I was serious and that was the end of that discussion.
By speaking those words, “I’ve hit my limit”, I realized in all areas of my life I had hit my limit. It was okay. I could say no to doing more.
In fact, I realized that for this season of two-weddings-and-a-baby I needed to put aside other things in my life, so I can do what I need to do for my girls and stay a sane blessing to them.
The next day I handed off hosting the little journey group that meets at my house twice a month. I felt a huge weight lifted. My friends were happy to share in the hosting.
As women, we don’t often allow ourselves to realize and then say, “I’ve hit my limit.” We believe we’re not being a good Christian woman if we say no. We fear if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Or worse, if we don’t do it, it won’t get done right.
But who are we helping and who are we hurting?
What is our motive when we don’t say “Enough!”?
Our motives start pure—we want to help and show love to others. But we continue to take on more than “we can fulfill with a calm and serene heart, without rushed busyness.”* You wonder, Who lives like that? Jesus did. His days were full, but they were full of only what God showed Him was His (John 5:30, 6:38, 12:46-50). Why do we believe God requires more of us? Why do we believe we must live our days frantic and exhausted? This is not a cultural difference between Jesus’ life and ours. Jesus had plenty of opportunities to do more. He often said no in order to do what He knew God had for Him (read through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). He often took time to get away for prayer or to hang out with friends.
Think of how tempting it would have been for Jesus to reason, “I only have three years to tell everyone about God, raise up leaders to start and grow the church, and save mankind from their sins. All vacations are on hold effective immediately!” But He didn’t. Jesus lived within the limitations of His physical body. He observed the Sabbath. He trusted God to accomplish in His life what He planned. And He did—“I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do” (Jesus, John 17:4).
I want to be able to pray Jesus’ words in my last breath—“I brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” I can’t do that when I take on that which is not mine. I can’t do that living in a frantic state. I can only do that by living in the moment with God (Be the Tree), hearing what He has for me, and doing it in His power and strength.
This doesn’t mean my life will be easy and unchallenging—just the opposite. But I won’t be distracted by stuff that is not mine. I can focus on what is mine. Jesus didn’t meet every need while on earth. By listening to God I will know what to say yes to and what to let pass.
I have my limits. I feel freedom and peace in that.
Have you thought about what are your limits? Do you honor them or ignore them?
*Gordon T. Smith, Courage and Calling. Page 255.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.