What a hectic week I had last week. I felt weak, tired, and consumed by the constant demands of others. Have you ever had a week like this? I slowly began losing my peace and joy as I focused on what everyone was needing or desiring of me. I have a hard time saying no and often feel selfish for doing so. It is so hard to let people down and know that they are disappointed with you.
As I slipped away to be alone with the Lord, His response to me was refreshing and yet surprising to me. God showed me I have limits, and that I would be wise to know what they are. We are not called to do everything that is placed in front of us. Really? I thought we were. My warped motto has been for years if there is a need, meet it. After living this motto for most of my life, I am now realizing that it is not emotionally, mentally, or spiritually healthy.
Everyone has their limits on what they can endure. There are some warning signs that you have gone past your limitations.
Here are a few of those signs:
- Increased frustration, irritability, and anger.
- Lack of patience.
- Sleep is disturbed- feel restless and nightmares.
- Your “cup” feels empty or dry, but you keep giving anyway.
- Fatigue, headaches, and an overall sense of malaise.
- Not at peace, feel anxious and worried instead of casting your care on the Lord.
- Feel pressured, cornered, or guilty at the demands of others.
- Burdened, heavy, and overwhelmed.
People without boundaries will be the first to violate your time. We need to know when God is in something and when He is not. One of the biggest keys to knowing if God is in something is having His peace. If you are feeling anxious or confused about doing something, that is a great indicator that God may not want you involved. Saying No is not easy if you are accustomed to pleasing others. It may seem selfish not to intervene or you may not feel like a “good Christian.”
If we did everything that comes across our paths, it will be a surefire way to exhaustion and burn-out. If our relationship with God is suffering because we have our hands in everything, then this is not the best for you.
I was recently asked to be involved with a ministry and after some prayer about this, I declined. I did not accept this position because I knew I was already at my limit. Was this easy? No, I felt weak and that I was not strong enough to do more. All lies from the enemy! I am doing exactly what God has called me to do. No, it is not like the level I used to do ministry, which was non-stop, never-ending and meeting every need; but I wore-out from this type of work. I recently had to set limits on helping extended family members. I had already put out so much time and energy on certain family, that when the others came I just had to set a limit. Was this hard? Yes, but I am learning to minister in the rhythm that Jesus did.
Jesus took breaks from the demands of His ministry for peace and rest. Luke 5:16 tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Sometimes, we need to pull away from the “crowds” and be with the Lord. We should do this as often as we need to. This does not make you weak or a failure, but it will make you hear from the Father in what He should have you to do. Being connected to the Father above everything else will bring you peace, strength and joy.
Breathe. Relax. Slow-down
You cannot be everything to everyone!
What ways do you have difficulty setting limits? What happens when you do not set limits in your life?