Friday, March 27, 2009

Recognizing limits

In the past, my "M.O" was always to push through challenging situations. If circumstances were hard, then I just buckled down and did it. Now I know that is a recipe for disaster. Mothers daily have a lot on their plates. It is important to humble ourselves and realize "we can't do it all". We can't do it all and we were not meant to "do it all".
As mothers, we are relational. We should be! If we are constantly "do-ing", then how can we "be" with our children relationally? We have to recognize our limits for the sake of our own health, but also for the health of our family and relationships in our lives.

"Some will respond: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Can you? Can you fly? Can you go six months without eating? Neither can you live a healthy life chronically overloaded. God did not intend this verse to represent a negation of life-balance. Jesus did not heal all. He did not minister to all. He did not visit all, and He did not teach all. He did not work twenty-hour ministry days.
It is God the Creator who made limits, and it is the same God who placed them within us for our protection. We exceed them at our peril."
~Richard Swenson  Margin


Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

Amen, amen, and amen.

TAMI said...

I believe there is "a season for everything" - A season to "buckle down" and push through, as well as a season for stepping back and letting others. Nevertheless, the norm of our being is, as you've said, respecting the limits of our humanity. There not negative things, after all!!

Yesterday I had my yearly performance evaluation at work (the church), where we have to review our last year's goals and made new ones for this year --> Personal, Familial & Ministry. Under "personal" I put 'SLOW DOWN MY MORNING' which includes getting 8 hours of sleep instead of the 7 I've gotten by with for years. Last night was my first eight hours!!

Andrea said...

I am not really talking about seasons. Sure, there are times of giving and times of receiving. But it's not always clear cut. i think it is important to try to cultivate a lifestyle of much "Margin" in our lives to be open to both of those "seasons" that always come unexpectedly. Trying to switch gears according to varying circumstances is not good, in my opinion.
I think many people (myself included) do not humble themselves and say--"I can't do this." or "I was not meant to do this." because we remember the verse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Yes, He gives us the strength to do ALL things, but again, we also are not God, and therein lies sin.
All said, I think it is wonderful you are setting goals for yourself and getting more sleep. Sleep is a wonderful restorative activity!! =)

Rain said...

Thanks for this thoughtful post!
I wholeheartedly agree with this:
If we are constantly "do-ing", then how can we "be" with our children relationally?
I am becoming more aware of this. My children are growing so quickly and it is time I can't get back. In order to cherish it I need to "be" with them. I've just started doing what I call picture book picnics with my youngest three, where we spread a big blanket on the floor and they grab stacks of books and we read and read.

Katherine said...

Fantastic post

Aimee said...

okay scary. I was laying in bed last night thinking about posts by Christian women that I have read lately so scared of "me-ism" that they keep pushing and pushing and quoting those verses. I was rehearsing in my head what I would say to them to bring them into grace and the reality of who we are as broken women...and the rebuttal I heard in my head from them was "but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"...and I rebuttled with "can you go without sleep? can you go without food? can you run 100 miles?" I get SO tired of women using those verses to push themselves into exhaustion...physically yes, but more so emotionally and spiritually. And most of all I just get really really sad b/c it shows that their view (and my view) is/was one of the Lord as an impossible-to-please slave driver among other things.

I love talking about these things with you :) When we drink deep of the love and grace of Jesus, we WON'T lead selfish lives...just the opposite!!!

JJ said...

Yes! I so agree as I have been that woman trying to do it all and not putting myself into the equation. My health has suffered dearly and Jesus is now teaching me a different way of being.
I just posted about this on my new blog!

Christine said...

I have this book but haven't read it yet. I love this quote!

Joy said...

wise, wise words Andrea.

Jen said...

So, so good! Thank you!

Ann Kroeker said...

This is a theme that flows throughout my forthcoming book (that you are in!)! Obviously it's a good fit for you and I to communicate on topics about slowing down. One entire chapter is about recognizing our limits, and I quote the very same Dr. Swenson (but from another book that's a little simpler and shorter than Margin--the other book is called _The Overload Syndrome_).

Elizabeth said...

That verse gets used out of context SO many times it's ridiculous!

Whatever happened to: My yoke is EASY and my burden is LIGHT?

That doesn't sound like "pushing through" to me.

In fact, I think "pushing through" should be the rare exception, not the daily norm

Some really great thoughts on this, Andrea.

Elizabeth Esther

Sandi said...

Great quote....this one will be going in my quote book.

I tend to be a "pull up my boot straps" kinda gal. It really just feeds my unhealthy tendencey to self reliance and independence.

I try to focus on the fact that saying "no" doesn't determine my acceptance in Christ. What we do or don't do doesn't change how GOd sees us, which gives me all the more motivation to give of myself freely without burden.

Now, if I could just practice this all day long everyday :o)

Sandi said...

I also love how you said we need to create much "margin" in our lives.

Here! Here!

Aja said...

Oh, I so needed to hear this. I'm one of those who thinks I can do anything, by myself, with one arm tied behind my back. Thankfully, God has a sense of humor and has shown me many times, through things not going as planned, that I can't do it alone!

debbie bailey said...


Laurel (my daughter) told me that I had won a card in a drawing on your blog or maybe one of your guest bloggers. Know anything about this? Do I need to get in touch with her? HELP!!!!

~nanashouse~ said...

My "winter" is another sister's "summer" depending on where we live. Let us live each day fully for God. Living honestly, with a pure heart and a desire to glorify Him.

Eve said...

HI Andrea-
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is one of my favorites verses and it has been a help to me many times. BUT, what He promises to strengthen you through is the work that He has prepared you for. He will be with you to see you through it. I don't believe that includes the many things we force ourselves to do, that God never intended for us to bear in the first place. His burden is light, we burden ourselves and we allow others to burden us.

Andrea said...

Eve--exactly. When we burden ourselves with too much--regardless of where it comes from--and then tell ourselves--"hey, I am worn to a frazzle, but 'I can do all things through Christ!' "--then we are fooling ourselves--we in essense are taking on things only God is intended to do....we try to "be God" and that is sin.
My point also is that it is neccesary to be healthy and have much space or margin or whatever you want to call it, in your life to better cultivate relationships in your life--which is the thing God has called us to do the most.

Amy T. said...

This was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you.