Liberation: The act of setting someone free from imprisonment.
It sounds like an oxymoron to say that we can become more free by limiting ourselves. Yes, I’m saying freedom in the same sentence as limits. It is my sincere desire that we discover (or re-discover) the freedom associated with limiting ourselves.
Let’s consider the ways a few areas of our lives hold us captive if we don’t set limits. Think about these areas that, if left without limit, will lead to stress, exhaustion and even ruin:
- Finances – Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Credit – If we don’t set limits in our finances, then we have to ask our bank account, mortgage officer and creditors permission to live rather than them asking us.
- Physical health – Cholesterol, heart disease, weight gain and overall health are the consequences of a lifestyle without limits. I don’t always love to end my 10 hour day by adding an hour of Pilates. In fact, many days, my favorite part of Pilates (besides the friends there) is leaving 🙂 knowing I’d accomplished a strong workout. However, I know I must limit my schedule in such a way so I can make time for workouts. I also limit my eating by finding ways to have cucumbers, protein, salad mixings and healthy snacks at my fingertips. These limits lead to freedom.
- Career – If I want to advance in my career, then I need to spend time developing myself professionally. This may mean reading books on leadership, listening to podcasts or taking a class online. I need to limit the choices of my free time in order to make room to develop myself to stay fresh and ready to lead well in ministry.
- Time – This is probably the umbrella that hangs over every decision we face. Where does the time come from to live in the freedom of limits? Limits that I control on my calendar lead to creating capacity to live out my calling, take care of my health and have space to foster creativity.
- Mental space – Endless connection to phones, screens, scrolling mindlessly through social media and responding to notifications all day and night take a toll on our mental health. Limiting notifications, checking emails and time spent on social media lead to the freedom to think more clearly, develop more creativity and even daydream.
No one begins a day, week or year saying: I want to become totally overwhelmed by robotically spending my days shifting from one commitment to another until I simply am at my breaking point. We don’t start out on the path of financial ruin, toward a health crisis or remain stuck in our careers. In these areas, we don’t necessarily want it all, we just want a little bit more. And that little bit by little bit slowly erodes our freedom.
But, there is good news, my friend. It’s never too late to set a limit. What are the areas of your life that need a U-turn toward a limit? Here is a free resource on my website that could help you identify these areas.
I’ve come to learn that setting limits in several areas is not a once and done thing. When I wake up and find myself stretched beyond limit, I no longer allow myself to feel like a failure. I simply reassess one or two areas that I need to reestablish healthy limits using my self-leadership muscle.
Now it’s your turn. What area of your life do YOU want to apply the liberation that comes from limits.
2 Peter 2:19 “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”