Defying Limitations!

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After a wonderful church service yesterday our family made our way to a meet and great area of our church; coffee, tea, and snacks. This is designed for folks to interact between or before the service they have attended. Somewhere within a 15 minute period I turned and saw my one year old grandson Holden looking quite fascinated with a lovely woman in a wheelchair, minutes later his sister Scout joined him as this lovely, kind woman began to talk with our little ones in loving tones and kind gestures. I was fascinated by seeing that what drew them to her was the wheelchair, what kept them there was just who she was. This lovely woman didn’t appear to act like she saw her wheelchair as if it was a limitation.

It’s been almost 10 years now since I worked part-time at a wonderful local Athletic Club in my hometown; within the building there was a well-run Physical Therapy practice.   Jordan was my friend; he came into the club 2 times a week to do swim therapy in the indoor pool. Jordan was a quadriplegic and his wheelchair would forever be his mode of transportation.  Jordan was so kind, so funny, so motivated to live a normal life. I remember watching him faithfully ride the local bus to the Club, being lowered into the pool and making every effort to stretch and move his tight muscles. Jordan worked a full-time job at our local theater taking tickets and welcoming those who attended; he did it all from his wheelchair. I was especially intrigued when he excitedly shared with me that he had just won a Bocce Ball tournament in another city!! Bocce Ball in a wheelchair? I am convinced that Jordan did not see his wheelchair as a limitation.

My precious mother is in her 80’s and she is not only an amazing woman, she is a gifted artist.  Because she is so passionate about art she has spent well over 20 years teaching children and adults to find their inner artist.  My mother also has Scoliosis and is in pain every single  day.  She never whines.  Week after week she prepares her studio for her students: setting up art supplies and cleaning up after all of her budding artists.  She could easily quit and most people with that kind of chronic pain probably would.  I can see that my mother has not allowed her limitations to stand in the way of her passion.

How often do we limit ourselves to do or be all we can be? How often do we see our challenges as overwhelming and we simply give up on our dreams? How often do we say “no” when , if we had some real fire in our bellies, we could achieve so many impacting things without letting our limitations take us out of the game!!

Do we give up too easily? Do our limitations overwhelm us or convince us we cannot continue to challenge ourselves and grow? To be honest I really think many of us do.

Can you think back to stories you have heard of people who have faced incredible adversity: loss of limbs, finances, family, home, or health and have persevered and caused you to tear up when you hear their brave, triumphant story? Haven’t you walked away thoroughly inspired?

What is your limitation? What stops you from pressing forward in your life? Do you think you might be giving in too easily? Do you think you might be lacking tenacity and perseverance to run your race with all your might? If so, what can you change today? How can you get fired up to move beyond those things that have held you back?

I encourage you to take a fresh look at your challenges. I encourage you to be brave and move forward in spite of them. I encourage you to live in fresh freedom!

“Only acknowledge your limitations for the purpose of overcoming them!”

Randy Gage

Scars~

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This week I have been pondering this insightful quote: “Never be ashamed of a scar, It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Zig Ziglar

None of us will go through this life without a few scars gained along the way. We can be scarred by people, hurtful situations, or physical harm.  We can allow our scars to keep us afraid, over-cautious, and even isolated. We can allow our scars to cause us to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or just simply uncomfortable with ourselves. Whether our scars are Internal ( wounded emotions) or External ( a physical challenge) – the impact can be very similar.

A year ago I met a beautiful young woman with a sweet spirit and bright eyes. As we sat together she proceeded to take off her sweater to get comfortable.  When her sweater was removed I noticed that her arms were covered with burn scars.  I asked her what had caused these scars and she told me the sad story about how her boyfriend, in a fit of despair had tried to commit suicide –dousing them both with gasoline and throwing a match! I was stunned to hear such a horrific story!  I had to ask~~”How had she managed to have such a sweet spirit after an experience like this?  How had she gotten comfortable, socially, with all these extremely noticeable scars?”

Her answers were profound.  She said that for her to walk in hurt and anger would have caused her to have the same despair she saw in her ex-boyfriend; she didn’t want that experience to ruin her.  She told me that she wasnt defined by the scars on her skin; she was fully alive inside and refused to stop living large!  Finally, she told me that she had gained incredible empathy and understanding for others who had experienced situations that caused deep scars externally and internally. Because of this, she was in the process of becoming a child psychologist!

As I think through that story I realize that we all have a choice in how we respond to the scars in our lives.  Do we let them define us or do we look to heal and overcome the situation that caused the harm? Can we learn from our scars and become richly empathetic to others around us?

“Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.” Rodney A Winters

“My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.” Steve Maroboli

“There is a big difference between a wound and a scar, Because a scar says, ‘I’ve been healed, and this is my story.’”  Belinda Elliott

Perhaps these thoughts can give you a fresh perspective on the scars you bear; knowing that God can and will redeem our hurts and give us victory.