Blessing My Limits

Celebrating our anniversary in Portland was one of the best ideas by my husband for us, especially being the two most coffee/food snobs with a small budget in the universe. We also love a good hike, and so we made that a priority on Eagles Creek Trail by Mt. Hood.

One of the amazing things that this trail has are called the Punch Bowl Falls. In the lower “bowl,” you can jump in off of a short cliff into the freezing waters that are the falls. For the thrill seekers we are, that’s a no brainer. Here’s the catch: in order to get back up to where you fell from, you have to balance across a large log at an incline.

I looked at this log for about a solid twenty minutes, in fact, while my husband made no qualms about jumping right in and balancing his way back up to safety. I watched how wonderfully fun it would have been to be a part of the adventure, and I did not want to sit this one out. However, I knew with every fiber of my being that with the tremors that I have and the inability to not be shaky (my downfall in gymnastics), the jumping wasn’t a problem, but getting back up would be.

This may have been one of the first times I felt the pangs of missing out, having to say the words out loud, “I know I can not do this.”

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Fast forward now to just a couple months later, and I am fourteen credits left into finishing my Masters of Divinity. It’s amazing, being able to officially look at the finish line of something I have poured my life into, however, after spending the summer involved almost full time at work, I find myself itching. I leave home in the morning not coming back until the day is done having not gone to work, but gone to school instead. I get emails on what is happening, the amazing meetings I am missing out on, and even some new opportunities that I wish I could put all my energy and yes into.

There is a great gift in being human and not being God, and some of them are found in knowing that you are not everything to everybody, that you are not able to do all things, that your no will potentially serve someone better than your yes, including yourself, that you are not able to be everywhere at all times, that you have limits.

I’ve thought a lot lately about what it looks like to live a reordered life, a life that looks like trust and peace in Christ and His work past, present, and future. As I have said a wholehearted yes too many times, as my husband's work grows, so does our anxiety and the night hours filled with work. We thank God, as these opportunities are also great blessings, the extra work an answer to prayer. However, the non-recognition of the disordered loves is revealing, so the new formation of our lives a necessity.

From Saturday night church on to our feast on Sunday night, we are now taking time to Sabbath. This was more difficult than we both expected, with the temptation lurking around every corner to quickly send an email we forgot to send or finally having that energy to do what needed to be done yesterday and not being able to do it. It also took a lot of thoughtfulness to not have our time together not working to be one where we were simply “lazy;” our time together needed to be marked not simply by not working, but remembrance.

It’s remarkable how God moves when you decide to follow Him. We too often take for granted simple obedience.

I have been lamenting this season, this season of what happens with that light at the end of the tunnel, this season of what happens when the student loans hit our family, this season of recognizing my limitations and wanting to do everything. I have been lamenting not being able to hear Him clearly, while also lamenting how often I forget, how often I am blind, how often I continue to depend on myself.

In our limits, He has been on the move.

Over our feast, we took the time to talk about how we remember God being faithful to us during this past week, how we are grateful, how God is good. Before I could utter many lamentations, words flooded out of me about how these many petitions I have piled up literally daily, hourly, before our Father in Heaven have answered my prayer of wanting Him to make sure I was dependent, of wanting a better life filled with prayer. It feels like I am missing out, like adventure is just around the corner and here I am in a classroom, or here I am just waiting on something to come through because it feels like God is keeping me down.

What God is doing is listening to my prayers, calling me to Himself, asking if I will continue to beg the circumstances to be my peace or if I will allow Him to be that shalom, shalom.

We took communion together, from the cup that two years ago we took from as we made a covenant of our wedding vows with the Lord. A new rhythm, a new reordering, that sometimes feels less than convenient. Yet, we remembered, not only what God has done this past week, but what He has done to redeem us to Himself. We took the bread and wine, albeit, two buck chuck from Trader Joes, and read aloud these words:  

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
— Psalm 103:1-5