Understand Your Limitations (EDITed)
The human mind and its connection to the human body is the most sophisticated machinery in the created universe.
The human brain has what appears to be an infinite potential to form new memories.
All the scientific progress made through the ages has yet to reach the level of creating one living cell from scratch.
Your mind and body are the most complex things in all of creation.
But both of these things are driven by your soul – and your soul isn’t limited by material resources.
Your soul wants to do the impossible, but your body – much like a supercar, still has limitations.
If the supercar you are driving is rated to go up to 250 miles per hour, and you try to drive it at 300 mph – you’ll die.
If the supercar is low on gas and you try to make it to the next town over – you’ll get stranded halfway there.
If the oil gauge is low and you keep pushing at the usual 250 miles per hour – the engine will explode and you’ll die.
There are 1,000 ways to destroy a supercar. There are very few ways that keep it functioning properly.
If your supercar is to survive the rigors or ministry, you have to properly care for and maintain the machine, or it will fail.
You only have so much time, energy, and focus that you can use to perform at a high level every day – even supercars need to rest.
Many ministry leaders don’t know when to quit, because they have detached themselves from the messages their supercar is sending them. They aren’t looking down at the dash, so they don’t see that the gas is low, or that the engine temperature is high.
They are too focused on the destination to pay attention to the machine taking them there.
One pastor recently told me this, “My wife really worries that I’m going to work myself to death – but I just can’t keep up.”
There are a million reasons pastors stop paying attention to the alarm bells going off in their lives and in their bodies. They might have had childhood messages demanding perfection at the expense of personal well being. They might have been abused in the past. They also might be feeling the cumulative pressure of trying to be a good parent, spouse, and church leader for all these years.
These things can cause you to try to keep going at all costs, even if it means turning the dashboard lights off.
If you want to last in ministry, you have to get in touch with your body and listen to its signals.
- How many hours can you work before you feel a sense of dread?
- When do you feel yourself losing your motivation and willpower?
- When do your shoulders begin to droop?
- When does your head require your hand to support it at your desk?
- Are you yawning because you just ate a heavy lunch or because it is 7 pm and you are still at work?
Everyone is different, and you can only find your REAL limitations by constantly checking your dashboard for information.
As we discussed in the previous lesson,
You are doing good enough when you are doing your best.
Part of that is to figure out what doing your best looks like for you.
In the example where you only have exactly 10 resources each day, doing your best means putting all 10 of those resources into good things each day. However, you are not using 11 resources, not 20, not 9,000 – exactly 10.
Of course, every day is a new struggle, and it won’t always be clear what “doing your best” means in each situation – especially if you quit watching the gas gauge 5 years ago. You have to practice reading your instruments again. As you practice learning your personal limitations, you will get better at knowing when to be done for the day. Until then, it’s better to spend 9 resources than to spend 11.
Consistently more than you have means eventual burnout.
Consistently spending most of your resources means operating at a high level of efficiency for the rest of your ministry career.
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