The Blessing of Limits

When we think about limits most of us think about trying to break through them. We think of limits holding us back. Limits seem restrictive.

Today I hope you realize that some limits are a great blessing.

So lets start by reading a verse together.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. -Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

I find it fascinating that Moses wrote this Psalm. He was also the person who recorded the 10 Commandments in Exodus and wrote them again in Deuteronomy. The same commandments that include the command to take a vacation every week.

I wonder if Moses was thinking of the command to honor the sabbath when he wrote this song in Psalm 90.

Behind this song is the implication that our days are limited so we need to use them wisely.

No one disagrees with that, but the problem is how we have defined “using them wisely.”

We think because we only have so many days we need to work as much as possible to get everything finished. We cram more than what’s possible into each day. The weekend is worse.

Living that way is robbing us from actually enjoying our days. It’s robbing us of the life God has given for us to enjoy.

Working hard is important, hustle is important, but at some point we cross a line and start becoming foolish.

We cross a line where it’s no longer about being driven by our purpose we are instead driven by our fears and need for approval.

We can say all the right things, but our heart knows the truth.

For some of you it would be helpful to spend some time thinking about your current work and rest rhythm.

Ask yourself this question: “In light of my goals for my family and friendships am I living wisely?”

We can all tell time, the days of the week, the months of the year, but we really struggle knowing what season our relationships are in.

God placed a limit on our work week to teach us to number our days.

We hate limits, but without them life gets crazy.

Can you imagine reading a book that didn’t place limits on where words could be printed and used up all of the space?

Can you imagine driving on the interstate and the engineers didn’t put up lane limits? It would be a disaster.

We have limits on how much we can spend…when we go over it…debt
We have limits on how much we can eat…when we go over it…health issues
We have limits on where we can be…how many people we can know…how many years we have…

We think because of our technology and creativity we can figure a way around our limits but at the end of the day our “creativity” is hurting us.

When my kiddos were toddlers they needed a nap everyday. There was a limit on how long they could go before they needed rest. Even now my younger kiddos need to be in bed by 8 or the next day is rough.

Of course, they don’t recognize those limits when they are in the moment. In the moment they think they can stay up longer. In fact, they beg to stay up longer and make all kinds of promises, but the next day they are grumpy and sluggish. Bad things happen when kids try to live beyond their limits.

It’s true for you and me too. When we think we can work 24/7 without any consequence and function on 4 hours of sleep and not suffer any consequences we are behaving like a toddler.

What if Moses wasn’t just encouraging us to realize how short life is, but to actually count the days. What if he was saying to count 6 days and take a day off? Numbering our days isn’t just about pondering how long we have left but actually counting them.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, rest.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, rest.

Rest which strengthens our heart, refocuses our spirit, and nourishes our relationships. We gain wisdom on our day of rest.

We don’t make our days count by just doing, we make them count by being.

God didn’t make you a human doing, He made you a human being. He knew we would struggle with the being part. Being with the ones we love and being with Him so God placed a limit on you because He loves you. A limit of only “doing” 6 days and 1 day of just “being.”

Being present where you are physically and not where you are digitally.
Being present with those who are presents to you.
Being present with the One who gave you the gift of the present.

There are limits to how much you can produce, that’s a gift not a sign of weakness.

The sign of wisdom is numbering your days so you stop doing and enjoy being.