This might seem obvious to you, at first. Of course there are limits, I hear you say:
- time limits
- speeding limits
- age limits for some activities
- height limits for rollercoasters
- lifespan limits – 120 seems to be about the maximum
- limits to strength
- limits to how long I can breathe under water
- limits to how many people I can meaningfully relate with as close friends
- limits – you get the picture
Something within us resents limits
There is something within most of us that wants to throw off any sense of limitation. Certainly when we are younger, we want to test our strength and find out what we can or cannot achieve in life.
Other than the general limits which make for healthy community, most of us see limits imposed by others as restrictive. We don’t enjoy being told that we can or cannot do something. We want to find out for ourselves. “Tell me I can’t do something and I will become even more committed to show that I can”, is what a lot of high achievers say. It’s as if something rises up within us when we hear someone making an assumption about what our limits may or may not be.
How do I set meaningful limits for my life?
The ancient wisdom of Proverbs gives us insightful clues about how to set meaningful and real limits, borders or parameters for our lives.
“Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV Bible).
The real limiter of your life is you! In an ultimate sense no-one ever has to be a victim. Even those who have an horrible unwanted hurdle to conquer can rise above and do amazing things. No-one’s past has to limit their future. The truth is, what does limit your life is not ever others, but what you allow to live within your heart.
When you have a healthy heart you will have ideas, direction and passion.You will have enthusiasm and energy. You may start a business or take on a promotion. You are willing to make the sacrifices and work hard for long periods. You are willing to stretch out of your comfort zones to learn new things and meet new people, and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.
If you learn to look after your heart so it stays healthy through the battles and the setbacks of life, then the limits of your capacity will continue to grow. Sometimes you will need a great friend, a loving family or an excellent coach to help you with this.
If you do not learn to protect your heart, and you allow things to get you down or make you bitter, then your capacity will shrink. You won’t be as able to embrace life passionately. You will be wary of new relationships. You will tend to fear rather than trust. Your perspective will be clouded. You will be setting the limits for your life.
So, learn to guard your heart, and expand the limits of your life!