3 Life-Changing Lessons on Thriving within Your Limits

young woman blowing dandelion in field

3 Life-Changing Lessons on Thriving within Your Limits

We all have God-giving limits. We must remember our output flows out of our input, God invites us into spaces of reflection, gently nudging us into seasons of renewal, and wants us to know we are truly known.

It’s normal to want to grow, mature. Whether it be in our faith, relationships, work, marriage, fitness, health, etc. We may have seasons where we feel content, but usually, there is room for growth.

I’ve had seasons of feeling stuck, like a piece of driftwood in a river, feeling the weight of being pulled yet unable to break free. I’ve also experienced the opposite, freedom flooding into areas of my life producing growth I didn’t even know I deeply needed.

However, it’s the in-between where most of us live our day-to-day. We want to flourish, but it almost feels like another thing to put on our already full plates. How do we thrive? How do we grow when we feel stuck? How do we not let this desire consume us while also intentionally moving forward?

We know we are fearfully and wonderfully made yet comparison creeps in. We wonder why the person we follow on social media who also has a lot on her plate seems to manage everything just fine. Getting through her to-do list every time she shows it to the world while we can only seem to get through ⅓ of ours. It looks as if she is constantly hitting her goals from her to-do list to the marathon she is training for.

The truth is there will always be potential barriers preventing us from where it is we are trying to go on this side of heaven. Yet, those same things we experience as barriers are usually the very things producing steadfastness. The very things helping us grow, flourish, and thrive.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Dmytro Buianskyi

3 Life Changing-Lessons on Thriving within Your Limits

1. <strong>Thriving Is Not in Our Striving</strong>

1. Thriving Is Not in Our Striving

I don’t like the word hustle. I see it everywhere. On tee-shirts, on bags, wall decor, and more. Hustle indicates busy and forced. It makes it seem as if we are in control. That if we desire what we are wanting just enough, with work hard we can make things happen. When in reality, it’s in and through Christ.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Working towards something is a good thing, but only if we are coming alongside our Creator in the process. Striving sounds like something we try to produce, and when we strive, our lists and goals expand more than our capacity. Busyness is likely to create burnout, stunting our growth, preventing us from pursuing it properly.

I love trying to multitask, often listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I’m folding laundry, doing the dishes, or while I’m driving and dropping our kids off at all the things. Most of the things I’m listening to are encouraging me in my parenting, faith, or marriage and it makes me feel I am being productive amidst the mundane. While I love learning, listening to all these different voices constantly can turn into striving when I’m not careful. My soul and mind need space to breathe.

We weren’t created to take in all that is fighting for our time and attention. We must be mindful of the noise and distractions that surround us. We must remember our output flows out of our input.

2. Growth happens in seasons

A couple of years ago I found myself in a serious season of growth. Our family had taken a step of faith and moved across the country to a place we felt God calling us to go; with no job or home. It was the first time I had experienced the sense God was calling me to a specific place. I thought this must mean God was calling me to do work in others when in reality it was about Him doing work in me.

Those were a couple of the toughest years we have ever experienced in our 15 years of marriage. I found myself feeling legitimately broken. I didn’t realize that even after accepting Christ, I could come to the end of myself. Yet, I have never experienced such a sense of thriving as I did during that time. Often I reminisce on that season, remembering how close I felt to God during what seemed like a never-ending storm.

We’ve all experienced the storms of life, but we’ve also experienced reprieve. Not all seasons are met for growth, it’s why pruning takes place.

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)

In seasons where growth feels stagnant, we are given a time for rest. God invites us into spaces of reflection and gently nudges us into seasons of renewal.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/grinvalds

<strong>3. We can’t compare our success to others</strong>

3. We can’t compare our success to others

Sometimes I look around at others and it feels as if they are hitting all their goals. Motivation beholds them, and nothing can seem to break their concentration. When I see this I’m so quick to try harder, even if I don’t have the capacity for it at the moment.

I wake up ready for my day, eager to do the same, and am thrown off-kilter when the gallon of milk spills all over my kitchen floor. Instead of starting my day with the quiet time I envisioned, it begins with rags and a mop. Of course, not every morning turns into a disaster, but it feels defeating when you make an extra effort to start your day right in hopes your day is a success, yet everything feels off from the moment you wake.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God created us all differently, yet we compare and contrast ourselves to others as if that verse is a cliche instead of an anthem of our identity. When we are consumed with what others think, we no longer have a focus on growth. Instead our over-analyzing impedes it.

We know we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we forget the important few words just before those, I praise you.

I wonder if our hearts had a posture of praise for our differences if instead of comparison we championed others if we would be more fruitful in our thriving. We are all made with different capacities and personality types.

Often when we think about being formed, knitted together in our mother’s womb we jump to Psalm 139:13. However, it’s verse 1 that I cling to.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (Psalm 139:1)

We are known.

God knows our limits, our hurts, our struggles, our barriers. He knows when we need pruning, when we need growth, and when we need rest.

I’m so happy to serve a God who knows me. He knows you too. He wants you to thrive, and He wants you to give all the glory to him while doing so.

Sometimes I look around at others and it feels as if they are hitting all their goals. Motivation beholds them, and nothing can seem to break their concentration. When I see this I’m so quick to try harder, even if I don’t have the capacity for it at the moment.

I wake up ready for my day, eager to do the same, and am thrown off-kilter when the gallon of milk spills all over my kitchen floor. Instead of starting my day with the quiet time I envisioned, it begins with rags and a mop. Of course, not every morning turns into a disaster, but it feels defeating when you make an extra effort to start your day right in hopes your day is a success, yet everything feels off from the moment you wake.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God created us all differently, yet we compare and contrast ourselves to others as if that verse is a cliche instead of an anthem of our identity. When we are consumed with what others think, we no longer have a focus on growth. Instead our over-analyzing impedes it.

We know we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we forget the important few words just before those, I praise you.

I wonder if our hearts had a posture of praise for our differences if instead of comparison we championed others if we would be more fruitful in our thriving. We are all made with different capacities and personality types.

Often when we think about being formed, knitted together in our mother’s womb we jump to Psalm 139:13. However, it’s verse 1 that I cling to.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (Psalm 139:1)

We are known.

God knows our limits, our hurts, our struggles, our barriers. He knows when we need pruning, when we need growth, and when we need rest.

I’m so happy to serve a God who knows me. He knows you too. He wants you to thrive, and He wants you to give all the glory to him while doing so.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/lovelyday12


sarah nichols headshot 2Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves to encourage women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her high school sweetheart and their three kids. You can find more from Sarah at her blog http://sarahnicholswrites.com and on Instagram @sarahnicholswrites.