If you’ve been at Crossroads in recent years, you have heard the name Peter Scazzero. His books The Emotionally Healthy Church, The Emotionally Healthy Leader, and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality have helped the elders, Pastor Vinnie, and me think about the kind of disciples we want to be and form here at our church. One phrase that has entered my vocabulary since reading The Emotionally Healthy Church is “embracing the gift of limits.” It’s a freeing concept, but I know it’s something I need to come to terms with.
These thoughts surfaced recently as I read Ashley Hales’s book A Spacious Life: Trading Hustle and Hurry for the Goodness of Limits. Here’s a section that spoke to me:
We are invited to name our limits with God. We bring them to our unlimited God and ask that he would work in and through them. I practice thanking him for my local life (even as I struggle with wanderlust), for the ways that the limits of ministry have helped me love Jesus and his church even when I didn’t feel like it. My biggest growth point in parenting is realizing that though it has narrowed my “free” time, attention, and availability, it has also helped me grow in empathy, to practice asking for forgiveness, and it reminds me I cannot meet everyone’s needs. This is a gift.
A ”do more” life drains us of energy, compassion, mission, and peace. The magazines and self-help books tell us this is the good life, but the kingdom of God says otherwise. The kingdom of God is a net, a pearl of great price. It is yeast, a hidden treasure, small as a mustard seed. These are small, limited things created to do something: to feed, create beauty, to transform ordinary elements into what they are supposed to be. To get this spacious life in us, we start by reckoning with our own designed smallness and thanking God for it. Jesus embraces the small and dignifies it (20–21).
So here’s a question: What if our limits aren’t a hindrance to God, but serve as the avenue through which God wants to teach us to depend on him? And what if they are the means by which God advances his kingdom? As Hales points out, “If the gates of hell cannot prevail against God’s kingdom, our limits are not barriers that God cannot work through.”
Amen to that.