Defying Limitations!

know-your-limitations-and-then-defy-them-quote-1

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

The Noose of Regret~

We all have regrets.

As each of us looks over the landscape of our lives we will, occasionally or often, wince when we recall poor job choices, hurt filled relationships, missed opportunities,  and poor financial decisions.  Everyone, as they grow older, has an opportunity to look back with hindsight and consider how we could have better navigated numerous areas of our lives…all of us.

Early in our marriage, with a 2-year-old and while I was 7 months pregnant, Greg and I moved far from family to pursue a new ministry role.  Everyone was supportive, there was excitement about the role we were being given and the impact we had the potential to make in that small community.

We went with the best of intentions but, regrettably, it was a pain filled season for our little family and set in motion a series of challenging situations that nearly broke us in many ways.  Greg and I have often looked back at those choices and say ” we would never make that same choice today”!

Wounded and a bit battered, we had a choice to live in the past and walk away from our passion and calling or choose to learn from it, forgive, and let it go.  We chose the latter but it did take some time to feel fully whole again.

Today I would clearly say that we probably learned more in those trenches then at any other time in our life ~ those we would not like a repeat performance.  God is good to redeem our past regrets; to make “beauty for ashes”.   Regret could have been like a noose around our neck and kept us from the joy of doing what we love to do today!

So, what is regret?  Regret is a negative emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made.  Nothing about walking through life this way is healthy; we must let go!

Today~  what’s got it’s grip on you?  What do you regret that’s keeping you from new starts, fresh dreams, re-newed passion, or fresh change?  What kind of cyclical self-talk do you automatically fall into when faced with moving on and moving forward?

Consider letting go, learning from the choices you made, forgiving yourself and/or others, and look toward the future with great hope and anticipation.  Sometimes you made have to get up and make this choice everyday until you begin to feel free! I know I had to!

How about moving forward?  How about letting go?  How about watching as God so creatively and lovingly makes “beauty for ashes” in your life?

Choose to experience a new season today! Decide to let go! 🙂

110533_20130820_105140_life_beautiful_8