The Gift of Limits

Matthew 25:23 The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

At some point in everyone’s life there comes the reality of limitations. It happens naturally when you age because you know you cannot do what you once did … physically, mentally, or emotionally. Age will give us natural governors to slow down and do less to manage stress. As we age, we don't have the stress of raising a family as we once did when the kids were young, so we feel like we have more time for the things we would like to do. However, sometimes we can trade the normal stress of raising a family for the abnormal stress of now doing what we like to do. We are only trading the stresses and expending more time and effort in a different direction. I find that true in my life. I like to stay busy and productive, but I don't have the energy or as I call it ‘the horsepower’ to do what I once did. I am limited. In my mind and in my desire, I still think everything is possible, but the reality is it is not.

Americans live life on a freeway … constantly moving, going, and doing. We have become accustomed to a faster-paced life because we do have more time and money to spend. The issue I see in most people's lives is we don't take time to put margins in our lives for the things that are important. The first thing we say is, "I really don't have time for that" which really is probably true, but we do have time for the things that we enjoy. It is just a matter of prioritizing what we spend our time doing. However, the gift of limits is a great concept of realizing there are some things that no longer need my immediate attention. In fact, I could probably just stop doing certain routines altogether, because they are no longer necessary or important enough to take up my time. This is the beginning of putting in margins to assist me in redirecting my time and energy to other things.

For example, someone who is in their 50s and 60s has probably peaked as far as their career is concerned. The ladder of success is probably as high as it is going to get, so the emphasis now will be on how to maximize your time in deciding how to develop others in mentorship. Mentorship has become more of a thing today because our relationships with older people have been missing for several generations, and we have little natural mentorship that usually happened in family structures. My life is a composite of experiences, education, inspiration, failures, and insights that are invaluable to pass on to younger generations to help them direct their lives by the advice of someone who has gone before them.

Retirement, in most cases, is a gift of limits. You no longer have to wake up and beat the clock all day to make a living and fulfill responsibilities. Yet, even in retirement, there is the tendency of moving all that working energy to do more in retirement than you ever did when you were in the marketplace. Limits are put into place to manage things.

We manage speed on the street, we manage how much time is spent on something, we manage the amount of money we spend … there are limits for everything. Yet, we never limit ourselves to doing the important work of pursuing God.

Limiting life to loosen the bonds that hold us captive, such as lifestyles, our overarching dreams and visions, all need to have limits to how much they consume us. No one likes to limit anything, because we don't like restraints when it comes to our freedoms. Yet, without limits on what we do, we perpetuate a lifestyle that is out of control, and often out of God's will.

I often think about a question Jesus may ask, “How much of your life was under My control?” That should make all of us pause at this point. How much of what I do in my life is out of control, and out of His influence? How much of what I do with my life really matters in the scheme of eternity and in the pursuit of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Will I be able to answer that question from Jesus in a way that makes me happy or makes me sad?

So, what am I to do? Take time to review what are the things that are best in my life. Do I put the best things in my mouth, in my head, in my hands, and in my heart? What is best, keep, and pursue … what is not, remove. It is like doing a spring cleaning of your house or your wardrobe. You remove that which is unnecessary, or unbecoming, or a nuisance. It may be time to set limits on what you can do and what you want to do, and pursue that question from Jesus, "How much of your life was under My control?"

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler

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