Do You Know Your Limits?

I was a little bit surprised to hear some words come out of my own mouth the other day:

“I know my limits.”

To which my husband replied, “Yes. But it’s taken you a while to get there.” (And, for the record, I am still a work in progress and struggle every day. The difference now as opposed to this time last year is that I’m more aware of the process.)

Finding and respecting limits of mental, physical, and emotional reserves must be an intentional process. Our fast-paced culture will not slow down for us saying, “Oh, I’ll wait right here with my demands until you can cope with me.”

Our responsibilities, concerns, and obligations will suck every last ounce of goodness out of us if we aren’t careful.

This past year has been a crucible for our family; all sorts of challenges have produced great periods of fiery heat and those impurities are melting away. Some of those impurities include my delusions that I’m super-human with limitless ability to love, serve, and work.

What about you?

  • What would happen if you faced your limits—and respected them?
  • What would happen if you surrendered to the inevitable and instead of fighting it, you embraced it as God’s perfect call for you?
  • What if you delegated responsibilities to others who enjoy and are good at them?
  • What if you concentrated on doing one or two things to the point of greatness instead of spreading yourself too thin?
  • What if you got enough sleep and laid off the fast food?
  • What if you prayed more and spent more time with God?
  • What if you pursued meaningful work within your gift and skill set?
  • What if you simply eliminated destructive distractions and instead focused intentionally on living in Christ?
  • What if you refused to be controlled by the tyranny of the urgent?
  • What if you looked around your house to notice God’s blessings and sincerely asked him for guidance in being a steward of his creation?

Dear readers, I pray that you (and I!) would prioritize and recognize that some things are just more important than others in this life. We deny God’s graciousness when we equivocate temporal “stuff” with everlasting souls.

Keep pushing decisions and responsibilities through that grid of priority and continue to evaluate. My guess is your limits—those beautiful boundaries of protecting restraint—will become vividly apparent.


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photo: Jenny Rollo

Establish Boundaries

Modern-day women are too often overworked and overwhelmed, yet we find ourselves piling on more and more responsibility. We commit to time-sucking activities that take us away from our goals.

Our culture of excess has fooled us into believing that more is always better. Full is always better. Busy is always better.

If we’re overbooked and in demand, we feel important, right?

That’s why I’m making a concerted effort to:

Establish boundaries by evaluating each commitment through a priority grid.

In yesterday’s post, I discussed my goals for the new year.

So, today’s tip is a partner to it.

In order to achieve those goals this year, I must daily be mindful of them. A good way to do this is to weigh each decision according to its usefulness in achieving my goals. So, I require the activity/event/commitment to meet three of the four following criteria:

  1. Renew me spiritually
  2. Renew me emotionally
  3. Renew me relationally
  4. Make some money

Each activity that requires time, energy, money, or other resource from me will be pressed through this grid.

Volunteer opportunity? Soaking in a tub with a good book? Accepting a freelance writing project? Taking my daughter out for ice cream? All will need to be evaluated by this new system.

Will it grow me spiritually? Will it strengthen relationships in my life? Will it be financially profitable? Will it give me an energy boost so that I’m better equipped to pursue Christ, other relationships, and/or making money?

More than one “no,” it’s crossed off the “to-do” list.

What do you think? What boundaries do you need to establish for your resources?