• Richard Parrish

Limitations

Updated: Oct 31, 2019



Rebounding strength was more plentiful when I was younger.


A physical setback in my 20’s or 30’s, though annoying, was temporary. By following the doctor’s orders and maintaining a mindset that assured me, “I’ll get over this, quickly,” seemed to do the trick.


As we age, our bodies take longer to rebound. For me, this is no longer a cognitive understanding. It’s an experiential reality!


It’s been 19 days since I had surgery. My mind tells me that I should have been back to “full-throttle” a week ago. However, my body is in obstinate resistance with my mind.


LuAnn Roberson, my colleague in ministry at Discover Hope, encouraged me last week. Aware of my desire to be fully active, she skillfully used her nursing background to remind me of all my body has experienced and my limitations.


She then gently — and wisely — encouraged me to give myself grace, and discover the invitation of Jesus to come to him for rest! I’ve thought a lot about her sound advise and her reminder of my limitations.


Discovering rebounding strength is not only a matter confined to our physical bodies. Life often presents barriers that drain our strength. An unwanted divorce, forced termination of employment, business venture that goes south, or finding out that your child is addicted to drugs…brings us face-to-face with our limitations.


Each of these — and many other barriers in life — intensify anxiety. They stimulate questions of competency: “Why didn’t I see it coming?” “Where did I go wrong?” “I’m at a loss as to what I need to do!”


Jesus regularly invites his disciples who are engaged in “doing” the work of ministry to rest.


His disciples returning from a ministry trip, share their excitement with Jesus concerning their ministry accomplishments. People had been healed, demons were cast out, and they had experienced the freedom to teach with authority (Mark 6).


Rather than choosing to “ride the wave of excitement,” or suggest they “capture the momentum,” Jesus wisely invites them: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.”[1]


There is value for our bodies, minds, and soul to disengage from work. Wise employers understand that employees who find no time for rest and refreshment are less productive than those who do. Ministry will always be here.


I recently reminded a woman, anxious because of her growing “To-Do List,” “The day we die, there is a high likelihood we will still have tasks in our “In-Box!”


It’s also valuable for those of us who are heavy-hearted — pressed with worry — to be with Jesus. His invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest[2],” reminds us that Jesus desires to bear our load.


I’m aware I can’t do everything. Nor should I. I’m also mindful: “to do” (be active) is often a welcomed distraction, to avoid Christ’s invitation. But am I alone in my desire to be busy — even at the expense of missing time with Christ?


If, like me, you are prone to avoid finding rest for your soul, remember: Ministry (work) is not God. “You will have no other gods before you…” is not a suggestion, but a command. If we’re not careful, our ministry can become a “god.”


Additionally, our identity is in Christ, not our ministry (work). Without regular, intentional time to spend with Christ, it’s easy to forget that accolades, success, numbers, or accomplishments do not establish our worth. We are God’s beloved children. Period!


Are you in need of discovering some rebounding strength? Perhaps it’s time for us to accept Christ’s invitation. When we do, we will find his strength in our weakness and great freedom in our limitations!

“There is great freedom in limitation, in knowing that you can’t do it all. How wonderful it is when the burden of carrying so much on our shoulders is lifted. What is it in your life that is just too much for you to handle? This is where Jesus is ready to meet you.” - Br. Jim Woodrum


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mk 6:31.


[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 11:28.