If You're Overloaded, You Need to Learn Your Limits


You can be all God wants you to be, but you cannot be whatever you want to be. You have limits in your life.

“I have learned that everything has limits” (Psalm 119:96a TEV). 

If you want to build margin in your life so that you can do the work God meant for you to do, you have to remember that you are only human. You are not a god. You are not invincible. You are just a human being. You have limits! 

Psalm 119:96 says, “I have learned that everything has limits” (TEV).

God is the author of your limitations. He put them there for your good. He did it because he loves you. So rather than fighting your limits, you need to accept your limits. 

Unfortunately as human beings we’re not very adept at recognizing our limits. We constantly overestimate our abilities and underestimate the problems and how much time it will take to do something. On top of that, we live in a culture that constantly tells us, “You can do it all! You can have it all! You can be whatever you want!” But it’s not true. You can be all that God wants you to be, but you cannot be whatever you want to be. There are limits in your life.

In the first place, you have physical limits. You can’t go six months without food, no matter how much you talk yourself into it. There are limits to positive thinking.

You also have emotional limits. These are much harder for us to judge in our own lives. How many people can you carry emotionally? How many problems of other people can you handle? Not as many as you probably think.

You have mental limits. The problem is, the media is constantly pumping new information into our minds through radio, TV, and the internet. As a result most Americans today are mentally on tilt. They can’t handle any more.

And of course you have time limits. No matter how many time management seminars you go to, you’re never going to have more than 24 hours in a day. And you have to sleep part of that time. 

You’re thinking, “It would really be nice if God would warn me when I’m reaching my limit.”

God has given you a warning light! It’s called pain. It’s called fatigue. It’s called stress. It’s called loss of joy. It’s called irritability. When you feel any of these things, you’re on overload. You have exceeded some kind of limit in your life.

The starting point for building margin is to realize you need margin because you have limits. You cannot just keep cramming your life full of things that are not important and do not help you accomplish your purpose.

Ask God to give you the wisdom to recognize your limits and then build margin into your life so that you are not living an overloaded life. 

Talk It Over

  • Why do you think God gave us limits? Why doesn’t he want you to do it all? 
  • How can you know what you should cut out or stop doing so that you have more margin in your life?
  • What limits do you already know you have? How did you discover them?

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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission

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