The Gift of Limitations
Are you someone who's known for being filled with hope? Do you want to be a hopeful person? I'm talking about the type of person who is filled with hope so much so, that others around them can even feel a sense of hope by simply being around you. If we want this, then we must acknowledge & accept our God-given limitations in life.
There are two main types of limitations given to us by God. One type of limitations are formed by whatever stage of life we're currently in. For example, a married person cannot make big decisions on a whim...while a family with a newborn baby or a couple of teenagers who are highly involved in athletics will not find that they have the same time freedom in life that an adult who has no children will typically have. These limitations are not at all bad, but they are present. The other type of God-given limitations refer more to our personality traits. Some people are extroverts, while others are introverts. Some people are gifted at influencing a crowd of people during a public presentation, while other people are gifted at having meaningful one-on-one conversations with people over a cup of coffee. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we all have been given different gifts. These are different sets of skills, passions, interests, and talents that have been gifted to us by our Maker, and collectively they make us who we are. Whatever set of gifts God has given you isn't just a good thing...it's a great thing! Each of us are created perfectly according to God's design, and Paul even refers to us as God's masterpiece or perfect work of art in Ephesians 2:10.
In a fast-paced world fueled by social media, we're always being tempted to compare ourselves to someone else. It's easy for us to see how much other people are gifted, and then we start to worry about how we're stacking up against that other person's gifts. Stop that! Seriously, just stop comparing yourself to someone else. Yes, I'm talking to myself right now too. When we compare ourselves to someone else and judge ourselves against the way that God created someone else to be, what we're actually doing is we're trying to be all things to all people without regard for the good limitations God has gifted us with.
When we try to be all things to all people, we force ourselves to operate in life within sets of skills, passions, interests, and talents that don't belong to us. If we operate in life according to someone else's set of skills, passions, interests, and talents that we don't possess and that God never intended for us to possess, then our road ahead is filled with burnout, frustration, feelings of failure, anxiety, and of course depression. Those things are the opposite of hope. Having hope involves a confident expectation that the future state of something is an improved version of the current state of something. Now ask yourself, can hope truly be attained if I continually operate in life based on how someone else was wired to function? If we don't acknowledge & accept our God-given limitations in life, that's exactly what we're doing to ourselves.
Once we get to the point of accepting our own limitations, we are freed to say "no" to investing our time, effort, and energy in to stuff that exists outside of who and what God made us to be. We aren't draining ourselves in a futile attempt to be someone we are not, but instead are freed up to operate in life within our limitations, according to God's perfect design for us. When we function within our God-given limitations, we can be filled with hope!