Today's guest, Sarah Geringer from Finding Peace in God’s Word, writes about being grateful in our limitations. I pray her words encourage you to think about the limitations in your own life and how you can learn to give God thanks for them.
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The internet speed is slow again today…grrrr. High speed internet isn’t scheduled to arrive in my area for six more months. Am I the only one living in the dark ages? It’s so frustrating.
Since it takes five full minutes to load Gmail, I disconnect. I open Microsoft Word, resigning myself to get caught up on offline activities.
Only an hour later, I’ve crafted three posts. The momentum starts building, and I see the opportunities. Without online distractions, I can accomplish more. It feels good to cross those posts off my to-do list. They came together faster than I imagined.
My slow internet speed turned
into a blessing. I was grumbling not so long ago, and now I’m thanking God for
No one likes to be limited. Our desire for total freedom goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. God placed just one limitation on Adam and Eve; they couldn’t eat from one tree, though they had so many other great choices for which to be thankful. Their human nature chafed at the limitation, just as my desire for total freedom chafes at my limits.
Our limitations remind us that we aren’t infinite. Only God is infinite. He created us to have limitations so we would seek him. We need him to provide for our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual needs. If God hadn’t placed limitations on us, we wouldn’t realize our need for him and for other people.
Our limitations also make us stronger. When we learn to accept our limitations and thank God in spite of them, they strengthen us just like weight training strengthens our muscles. The more we thank God in our limitations, the stronger our faith becomes.
Adam and Eve chose to reach past their limits and eat from that tree, just like we often test the boundaries of our limitations. After their poor choice, they received even more limitations.
We are still affected by all these limitations, passed down to us from Adam and Eve. They make our lives difficult and cause us grief.
Yet God provided for Adam and Eve
in their limitations. He did not leave them nor forsake them. He promised them
a Savior who would redeem the whole world from many of our oppressive
limitations. Even though Adam and Eve made the wrong choice, he continued to
bless them and the generations who followed them, because he loved them.
God loves you too. He promises to bless you and walk beside you in your limitations. As you begin thanking him in your limitations, you will experience greater peace in your life.
Here are a few practical tips for thanking God in your limitations.
1. Remember you don’t have to thank God for your limitations. The Bible tells us to be thankful IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Let’s face it; our limitations just plain stink sometimes. God doesn’t expect you to thank him for a tough limitation; he prefers that you be honest with him. He wants you to thank him despite the limitation you face. This requires more creativity and thought. But thanking God despite your limitations changes your attitude, so it’s worth the effort.
2. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least three things for which you are thankful every day in a designated space. Start off with the obvious items that make you happy, like your favorite food, a beautiful sunset, or a hug from a loved one. Then challenge yourself to thank God for something related to your limitation. Over time, you won’t feel so negative about your limitation.
3. Consider the opposite side of your limitation. Most of the time,
your limitation has an upside. For example, I am a highly sensitive person,
which means I am easily overwhelmed by social interaction. Three hours at a
party puts me at my maximum, and not everyone understands when I need to leave
early. This limitation can feel frustrating. But the upside is that I notice
things other people don’t, and that makes me a better writer. My high
sensitivity also makes me empathetic to other people’s feelings, which helps
others feel loved. Ask God to show you the upside of your limitation. You might
be surprised at how beneficial it is.
How can your limitations increase your thankfulness to God? What will you do this week to intentionally thank God despite your limitations?
Sarah Geringer writes about Finding Peace in God’s Word at sarahgeringer.com and is the author of three self-published books. Her book on Christian meditation will be published by Leafwood in October 2019. When she’s not reading or writing, Sarah enjoys painting, baking, gardening and playing the flute. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children, right in the heart of prime viewing for the Great Eclipses of 2017 and 2024.