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

Saying “yes” rather than “no”!

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In describing me as a young girl, no one would have used the term “risk taker”. Even into adulthood no one would have used the term “bold and brave” in describing the way in which I’d chosen to live my life.  I imagine the words that would have been used to describe my life choices would have been “cautious and careful”.  Nothing really wrong with that, no one severely impacted by my choices except that it led me to say “No” to so many things.  “No, I don’t do things like that!”,  “No, I’d rather not try that”, or the killer statement “No, I’m just not athletic!”

I now realize that fear was at the core of why saying “No” was so easy~ Fear of failure, fear of harm, fear of criticism, and fear of committing to something new….FEAR! I am left to wonder how many great moments I missed over the years because saying “Yes” felt paralyzing to me!

I was about 8 years ago when I decided that I was going to start saying “Yes’.  Yes to health, yes to daring and challenging activities, and yes to situations that caused me to stretch past my discomfort.  Saying “Yes” still didn’t come easy but I was committed to not missing out on life any longer!

My husband and I have been privileged to go to the Hawaiian Islands many times.  Sure, I would take simple hikes and spend time swimming and enjoying the sun, however, I wanted nothing to do with those risky excursions that were available.  In this new season my husband was shocked when I said “Yes” to crazy long hikes, zip line adventures, doorless helicopter flight over the island, and biking down the volcano!! I was shocked too!!

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I loved it all!!  Who would have thought?

I am so thankful I started to say “yes” instead of “no” back then.  Since that time I have hiked, biked, run 5K’s, ziplined many times, and have made incredibly rich memories with my family and friends.  Those things that had caused me intense fear, when engaged in, were actually so much fun!! I grieve for the time I wasted and I’m grateful for the way I live life now!!

How do you live your life?  Do you play it safe? Excuse yourself from a long list of outdoor activities? Refuse to fly, float, or drive?  Have you missed out on situations that may have brought your great joy and freedom?  How about beginning to say “Yes” instead of “No”? How about being really brave this summer and trying something new, something for you that is “out of the box”? You JUST might find that you really, really like it! 🙂