Limits

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I have a history of being hard on myself. I am a recovering perfectionist, sometimes still unable to feel the freedom to make mistakes. Throughout my life, I have pushed myself beyond my limits and/or denied them in order to be “perfect”. I don’t like admitting I have limits, and for most of my life have tried to ignore them.

It was freeing the first time someone told me that I could set boundaries and it was okay to have limits. It took being in a room with a counselor for me to be okay with not being perfect. I began to view my limits as gifts. Gifts from God that illustrate to me who I am and that I am made perfect through Him NOT my own actions.

After realizing God gave me limits, for His good, I have tried to learn how to apply them. In relationships with others it was very difficult for me to set limits and boundaries, but even more difficult is learning how to respect my limits within myself. Even trickier has been accepting that it is okay that I have limits in my day-to-day life, and these limits do not make me unacceptable to God or anyone else.

Today was a big step in this direction for me. I dropped a class. At first many of you might think, “What is the big deal with that?” or your reaction might be like my internal one: “YOU DROPPED A CLASS?!?” I am guessing most of you are thinking the first option.

I am in grad school for the second time in my life. I have my MAT (masters of arts in teaching) and now I am adding a MA in Clinical Counseling. This is the first time in my undergraduate and graduate career that I have dropped a class.  I have always pushed myself. In these situations, my negative self talk says: “Get over it, life is suppose to be this difficult”. I am always comparing myself to what I believe is perfect. Perfect is not what I need.  Dropping this class is not going to make my life a breeze, but it is going to give me room to breath.

The truth is, I need time to breath this semester. I need time to make room for things like focusing on my clients, spending time with my husband, being involved with Church, and doing things I enjoy. I need to have a life outside of school and work, and today I took a step in that direction. For this reason, today marked a sign of growth in my life. I gave myself room to breath and didn’t push past my limits.

Do you ever give your self room to breath and to enjoy life? Have you forgotten the things you once enjoyed? What can you do in your day-to-day routine to make room for yourself? Has God been pushing you to change your schedule in ways that might not be how you planned, but makes more room for him?

Furthermore, are you living day-to-day filled with anxiety and/or depression? I challenge you to go to counseling. Counseling will help you with those things, of course, but it will also help you to learn who you are and what your needs are. Counseling will result in some freedom from these conditions. My hope is that counseling will lead you to becoming more of your whole self, as it has for me.

Today as I reflected, I was challenged to make more room in my life for myself, others and for God. To live more according to what Calvin states in his book Institutes of the Christian Religion:

“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

We cannot make time for knowing God or ourselves unless we have room to breathe in our schedule.

How does this quote challenge you?

What does it look like for you to have room to breathe?

-Bess