Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
We’re talking about the business of limitations—don’t let your limits stop you. This is what I was saying in Part 1. And I want to just take the example, the simple example of an elephant; an elephant in a circus.
We all know an elephant can pick up huge weights with his trunk. An elephant is one of the most powerful animals there is. Yet if you go to a circus, you will see this massive animal tied to a little stake in the ground, and he will stay there. He has the potential to go anywhere he wants to go, but instead he simply looks around and possibly thinks about how it would be different if the rope wasn’t tied down.
The elephant’s problem is mental, not a physical limitation. When he was young, he was tied to a stake that was deep in the ground before he got his strength. He pulled and struggled as a youngster and just couldn’t get away from it. One day he accepted the fact he wasn’t going to get away. From then on, he decided, whenever he was tied to the stake he was stuck.
The elephant has allowed the limitations, which have been placed upon it to keep it from becoming what it could possibly be. It doesn’t cross his mind that he is not the same elephant he was years earlier without much strength. Nor does he recognise the stake is not nearly as strong as it once was.
Accepting False Limitations
In thinking about that illustration, sometimes we need to wake up to the fact we are not the same person we were back then. God has equipped us with additional strength and if we get up the nerve to challenge what’s holding us back, we could find a whole new world waiting for us to be in charge. Put your trust and confidence in a loving God who wants to have a relationship with you.
Many times we don’t put the limitations in our lives; somebody else puts them on us and we accept them:
- You can’t do it.
- You won’t do it.
- You’ll never amount to anything.
- You’re just like your father.
- You can’t be anything without me.
- You owe me this.
- You never will graduate.
Before we know it, we allow, just like the elephant, the pronouns to change to: I can’t do it; I won’t do it; I’ll never amount to anything.
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There are three times in life when people change.
Have you ever stopped to think that there are three times in life when people change because of their limitations:
- when they hurt enough that they have to
- when they learn enough that they want to
- when they receive enough that they are able to.
Acknowledging Four Real Limitations
The Bible says there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. There may have been a time for you to be where you are, but that doesn’t mean you stay there forever. Your limitations don’t always have to be limitations if you place them in the right seasons of life. When asked about her success and the limitations she faced, Lucille Ball said, “Knowing what you cannot do, may be more important than knowing what you can do.”
Knowing what you cannot do may keep you from investing a lot of time and energy into something that’s not going to go anywhere. It is sometimes better to accept your losses, and then change course, than it is to continue to pour resources down the drain. Fred Smith said: “A problem is something you can do something about. A fact of life is something you can do nothing about.
- There are the limitations of our days. We are all going to die, and we don’t have forever to do what we may want to do. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us wisely all the time we have.”
- There are the limitations of our gifts. We do not have all of the spiritual gifts and talents, nor do we all have the same ones. We need each other to become all God wants us to be.
- There are the limitations of our resources. We can’t have it all. There are financial limitations we have to accept until they change. Simply asking God for a million dollars is not going to pay our bills. We need to live within the resources God has provided us at this time and seek God for ways to increase them. There will always be those with a better financial picture than us whether it’s fair or not.
- Finally there are the limitations in relationships. We cannot please everybody and can’t make everybody happy. None of us can make anybody love us. Some people are going to reject us no matter what we do.
Now if we cannot accept these four limitations as facts of life, we are going to become very frustrated, envious and bitter people. That’s not what God has in mind for us.