Several times in the last few days I've had moments where I've had to realize, and yield to, my limits.
I've started playing basketball once a week. It's just a group of guys from my church who play pickup games for a couple hours each Thursday night. Some are older than me, some are younger. This year, more than any other, I've had to realize how physically limited I've become. I used to be pretty quick and athletic. I could jump high enough to block shots, make shots over defenders and even rebound effectively. I could even attempt to dunk on breakaways (though I was only successful once).
Now, I have to settle for jump shots in situations where I used to drive to the basket. I find myself trying to tip a rebound away from an opponent rather than just snatching it away. I don't even think about dunking on breakaways, I just lay the ball in off the backboard.
With all that said, I think I'm probably a better player now than I was in high school and maybe even college. Since I'm just getting back into playing regularly my timing is still off and my skills aren't as sharp as they used to be. But I think I'm a much smarter player and understand how to get the most out of what I can physically do.
Another moment of realization occurred yesterday when I was trying to do a fix-it job at our house. The dryer has been making a squeaking noise for a couple weeks and I finally got around to taking a look at it. Now, I know nothing about dryers, but I consider myself pretty handy. Well, my limit became clear when I loosened a set of screws on the back of the dryer. The fourth screw came out a lot harder than the rest and as I pulled it out a spark shot toward me and I heard something inside the dryer fall. I still don't know what happened but when I tried to turn the dryer on again it sounded awful and then it smelled hot.
So, I did my best to figure out what I had done wrong and got a huge gash on my hand in the process. Finally I decided it was beyond my ability to fix and looked up a couple numbers to have a professional come and take a look at it.
I bring this up because many times we look at our limits as a negative thing. But, the more I think about it, I'm pretty sure our limits are there for our own good.
If I didn't realize my athletic limits I would probably hurt myself every time I played basketball. Same is true for fixing things around the house.
If I didn't play within my limits my teammates would not want to play with me because I'd be missing all kinds of crazy shots and dunk attempts. My wife wouldn't like me ruining her house if I tried to fix things that were outside my limits.
Limits can keep us safe, but they can also help us be our most effective. So, what are your limits? What is it you can't do that you've been looking at as a negative that just might be helping you be effective?