Saturday, 28 January 2017

Embracing Limitations

So, I am working out this morning and this cute, pert little piece of perfection says, “Your limitations are in your head, they are not real. You have to imagine those limitations melting away!”

Now, I get it. I do. And I dig me a little motivational mantra before breakfast. But, really?

Still in my workout clothes, my phone pings and I go to check it. It’s a close friend in South Africa, whose husband’s life recently crashed into the wall of a hemorrhagic stroke. He is on the slow road to recovery and this week hoped to be able to go into work for 3-4 hours each day, but after just 2 hours he was exhausted. Some limitations are very real.

I wonder how hard it is for us to accept our limitations because our culture tells us that if we just try harder, or think more positively, we can surmount anything that threatens to restrict us?

My hubby was gone all last week on a super challenging work trip, to a place most ex-pats have been advised to leave. Worried for him, I spent my week filling in applications for funding for a ministry vehicle we can only afford to buy if these are successful. I ferried my kids around, helping one to navigate the stresses of teen life and homework assignments, while the other bravely went on a day visit to a new school. In between shopping, preparing and cleaning up endless rounds of food, doing laundry, marking assignments and convincing my 8 year old to shower, I resisted the temptation to throttle the dog for peeing inside the house. None of this would be unfamiliar to any experienced in the art of solo parenting, used to the sensation of perpetual adrenaline coursing through a body bent on making it to the end of the day with the checklist all marked as ‘done.’

The Man arrived home all in one piece, our teen seems to be on cruise-control for now, our 8 year old is showered, found her lost jacket and loved her new school. The fridge is empty but tonight is pizza night, the laundry is mostly in check, and for the last two days the doggy misdemeanours have been successfully restricted to outside the house.

So, I think: time for some dancing! *obviously*

I arranged with a friend to go Swing dancing in Malaga. She’s a dab hand at the old ‘rock step, cha-cha-cha’ and had agreed to accompany me to a beginner’s class. Fun! Me time! Free from responsibilities. And bedtimes!

When the time actually rocked around, I was spent. I know, I know … not sure why this came as such a complete surprise, except that being overly ambitious about what I can accomplish seems to be my blind spot. And it killed me to call my friend and cancel our dancing date, even though within half an hour of that call I was asleep in my bed.

Let’s face it: limitations suck.

But limitations are real, they keep us humble and grounded. And if we can make peace with them, they can become the walls of the garden within which our life blossoms (at least, on a good day, that's what I tell myself ). I often think of a kite, flying so beautifully when tethered by its lines to the ground. And yet it tumbles to the ground when those lines are cut. The kite cannot catch the wind and find freedom in flight unless it is limited by those lines.

I wonder if I can come to a new place of embracing the limitations of my life in this season? Sure, sometimes I would love to shrug off everything that keeps me earthbound and enjoy the freedom that infinite supplies of energy, talent and resources might offer. But the truth is, I am limited. My limitations remind me that I need rest, I need boundaries, and I need other people. 

And maybe there’s a sweet spot somewhere there where I can catch the wind and find flight, in my little corner of the sky.

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