I’m on the couch again, resting my back. Normally I am okay with my limitations, but sometimes, especially when I’ve overdone it and I have to rest my weak back more than usual, I stew over the chains that bind me. There is so much more I could accomplish—I would be a different person even—if I didn’t have this limitation!
Limitations seem bad. They cage us, they bind us; they hold us down.
Or do they?
Consider these realities about limitations:
1. Limitations do not necessarily mean ineffectiveness.
Consider the life of Jesus. His ministry had its limitations. For instance, He did not travel very far into the world He had come to save. And He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” in Matthew 15:24, showing that He had a limited focus for His ministry. He chose to invest in only twelve men rather than spread Himself thin over many. He limited Himself to the limits His Father had set for Him and accomplished all that God had given Him to do.
2. Limitations put God’s power on display.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 says, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”
God does not choose you because of what you bring to the table. He doesn’t need your strengths. In fact, strengths can be quite the stumbling block in coming to salvation. It is our weaknesses and dependency that helps us see our need for the Savior. Do you think He now depends upon your strengths after your salvation?
Though it feels much more satisfying to offer up our giftedness to the Lord for use, we need also to offer up our weakness to Him that His power may be put on display in our lives.
3. Limitations help us discern God’s will for our lives.
Have you ever prayed for God to show you what work He has for you to do, where He would have you go, what He would have you to be? Have you ever considered that the limitations you have may be the answer to your prayers? That God could be showing you what He has for you by showing you what you may not do? We are often eager to know God’s will, but are we so willing to accept His answer?
During my years as a young mom, I was rather house-bound with pregnancy-related nausea, nursing, naps, potty training and illnesses. My ministry options were limited. But the Lord showed me something I could do, I sent birthday cards to my church’s missionaries and prayed for them. It was a small thing, but it turned out to be a blessing to them, me and my family. Closed doors pointed to the one that was open!
4. Your limitations are never bigger than His grace.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
His grace may come to you in many forms. For me, with my feet up on the couch, it comes to me by way of children learning to serve because of my weakness. It comes by way of Bible study and books I might never have read if I had been busily occupied. It comes practically in ice packs and Tylenol!
His grace is sufficient to keep me in His perfect will for my life. If my weakness draws me closer in dependence on my Lord, then it is indeed a strength and not a weakness. So rather than bucking my limitations, I need to rejoice instead (James 1:2-3), and let my limits show the world His limitlessness.