This is one of my favorite pictures from my sabbatical this summer.
I am climbing a mountain with my two year old daughter on my back and my four year old daughter in my hand. This is leadership. But if you look closely, you will see that I also have a knee brace on my right knee. I injured my knee the first day of our trip while trail running and was in a lot of pain. This is leadership with limitations.
The reality of being human is that we all have limitations. We get tired. We get hungry. We get stressed. Our emotional resevoirs run dry and yet we are still required to lead. We get sick and yet the Earth keeps spinning and our repsonsiblities rarely take a week off. Isn't it frustrating? How many times have you said something like, "I just don't have time to get sick right now?"
If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time pushing the boundaries on your limitations. "I think I can handle one more thing" is our mantra. Sometimes, we can. But other times this one more thing leaves us feeling frustrated, depleted, and in a perpetual state of impatience. Boy, aren't we fun to be around!
As I was sitting in my Barber's chair this week, we were talking about why we feel so discouraged when we bump up into our limitations in life. I think the answer we came up with is because "I think I can handle one more thing" sublety shifts into "I should be able to handle one more thing." The first thought is a possibility, if I fail then I was wrong, I couldn't handle one more thing at that time. Not really that big of a deal. But the second thought is a kind of law that I make for myself, and if I fail, then I believe that there must be something wrong with me. It's this second thought that is so discouraging.
Unfortunately, I have spent far too much of my life convinced that there was something wrong with me because of my limitations. The "I should be able to do this" thinking has been a lying slavemaster that promises significance on the other side of some accomplishment and the work is never done. What I am learning is that this type of thinking is actually a rejection of the Doctrine of Creation. The DOC tells me that there are some things that I should not be able to do, and that is good news. I am a created being and not the unlimited Creator.
Over the next few posts I would like to examine our limitations from a biblical perspective. First, from the life of Moses and then from the life of Jesus. But for now, What are your thoughts? Have you noticed this tendency to shift into "should be" thinking in yourself? How does it make you feel and how do you deal with it?