It is said, “Live Life without Limits.” Growing up my dad taught me, I had no limits. I could do or be anything I set my mind to. Recently, I discovered that line of thinking is not necessarily true…
Deep down, I knew it all along. I also denied it for most of my adult life. Even struggling with pain for the last fourteen years (has it been that long? Yeah I guess so). I did not accept limitations for myself. I pushed through the pain. I told myself, “No pain, no gain!” And “Work through the pain!” Oh, and don’t forget the classic, “Mind over matter!”
This week I hit a wall. The stress and pain caught up with me. Every night I came home in pain and exhausted. I began thinking about my personal limitations. Depressing right?
Last week I found out I have osteoarthritis in the joints where my thumbs meet my hands. It is why I have been dropping things. The doc said I need to learn to handle things differently, do hand exercises, and take some supplements. The hardest part to hear was when he said it’s really early for me to be getting osteoarthritis. And next month I start testing with my internal medicine doc to see if I have arthritis in my other joints.
What? Am I aging too fast? I don’t think I look it? I certainly don’t act it! I’m a boomer through and through. We fight growing up. In fact a bunch of us, myself included, are still a bunch of brats! Basically I was told I have to accept my limitations. Huh…that is so not what I want to do. It got me thinking. What are my limitations? Chronic pain obviously. But I really prefer to ignore it. A year ago I told my doctor I didn’t want to go through the testing for it because, I didn’t want to know if I had Fibromyalgia. Can you say OSTRICH! That’s me!
Friday night I needed to let go. Listen, the 80s was my heyday. I was a clubber. I lived the night life when I could. With such great music how could I not sing and dance. I loved Country, Pop, Christian Rock, and Heavy Metal in the 80s. Well recently I learned to “cast” the internet to my TV (Yes, we finally cut the cord and went to internet streaming). I found some country vids and cut loose singing and dancing in my living room.
Now…please understand…I don’t do this in public anymore! I am tone-deaf and sing horribly off-key. I also never took dancing lessons so this white chick can’t dance either. Aha! I found more limitations! I just move to the music as best I can and make a joyful noise (emphasis on noise). I think I found my “Hillbilly Bone” and hurt it!
After about 45 minutes, give or take a few, I was happy and feeling the exercise adrenaline surge. By bedtime, I was icing my shoulders and back before I took a scalding hot shower. In the morning I woke in pain. It took me awhile and a cup of coffee before I could really move. So…I spent some time whining and praying to God. I admitted I’m having a hard time accepting my limitations.
I discussed with God how the limits chafe at me. I feel like I’m being punished for having a little fun. I feel trapped in my body. A prisoner of sorts. I want my friends and family to understand but how can they? I’ve gotten so good at pushing beyond my limits and hiding my pain. Slowly I’ve accepted some limits. But I really resent the pain and choose to ignore it.
Today’s gospel was Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s faith in coming to the Christ over the stormy sea. I’ve heard the passage so many times over the years, I admit was tuning in and out of the sermon. The priest was talking about trusting in Jesus and not being afraid. What caught my attention was when he said something about being a manager. I’m not sure what exactly he said but my brain took off in that direction.
I’ve been a manager for a good portion of my career. I don’t always take those skills into my personal and spiritual lives. In the situation with my father, close friends and family have been telling me to remove the emotion and handle it like a manager. It struck me when Jesus says over and over “do not be afraid” (It is in today’s passage in Matthew 14:27 NIV), he gives us the choice to be afraid or not. In other words we can manage our feelings and our fear.
These are repeating messages for me over the last year. I’ve written about putting God above all, fear, and keeping my eye on the Star…Jesus. I manage all of these things! What came together for me today was I am the manager of my life. At work I choose to focus on my work or not. It’s my choice, do my work or get fired.
I can choose to focus on God or not. At work I manage my limitations. It is important that I understand my limitations. What is the scope of my authority? What decisions can I make on my own? What are my deadlines, etc?
Now I need to know my limitations physically and spiritually. I can no longer try to ignore them. I am going after the knowledge I need to understand where my limits are.
After the diagnosis from the hand surgeon, someone asked me how I felt about something else to manage. It struck me as funny because with the diagnosis, that I was avoiding, I felt understanding and hope. With this knowledge I can now look at options and set realistic boundaries based on my physical limitations.
Everyone has limits. I think I’ve been more stubborn than most at accepting my limitations. It’s a new perspective. I will find my “work-arounds” to achieving my dreams!