Monday, September 3, 2012

4 Steps to Get Past Your Limitations

What is it that you would love to do, but keep excusing away? It's the subject of the silent conversation you have with yourself quite often. You say to yourself, "I would love to _____", but it never gets any traction.

The Inner Battle

In our family, fall isn't as much football season as it is cross country season. In case you're not familiar, that's running 3.1 miles (5K) over a variety of terrain. I am thrilled that my girls are committed to this sport. It's something they can do for the rest of their life. And the experiences they are having are molding them into very disciplined young ladies. The discipline to compete in this sport requires a lot of inner battles we like to call "You vs. You."

A friend of ours shared this poem recently and fits well here:


Lord, Watch over me today as I run.
This is the day and this is the time for the race.
Watch over my body. 
Keep it free from injury.
Watch over my mind. 
Watch over my spirit. 
Watch over my competitors.
Remind us that we are struggling equally.
Lord, Let me win.
Not by coming in ahead of my friends, but by beating myself.
A battle won over me.
And may I say at the end,
"I have fought a good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith."

This is the essential battle that must be won. Not just in running, but in life. And just like in running, our opponent is not another person, it's ourselves.

Moving Past My Limits

In my own life I find there are things I would love to accomplish, but do nothing toward seeing them come to fruition. Why is that? Sometimes it's because I convince my self that they will just one day magically unfold before my eyes. I need a better strategy than that. Here are four ways to getting past your limits.

1) Filter Your Plans Through God's Plan
Jeremiah 29:11 makes it clear that God has a plan for us to follow: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." The challenge for us is to allow Him to mold these hopes, dreams and desires within our heart. Proverbs 16:3 reveals, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."

2) Write out your hopes, dreams and desires.
I have written two post about putting goals and dreams to paper. (5 Minutes That Can Change Your Life Forever, Are You Writing The Dream?) The people I see getting things done are the people with a list. The former football coach, Lou Holtz is known for his list of 107 goals he wrote out one day while unemployed. He proudly showed his wife this list hoping to receive affirmation for desiring to accomplish so much. After looking over the list, she said, "You forgot one." Thinking she had caught on to the vision, Lou asked, "Oh, what should I add?" Only to hear his wife reply, "Get a job."
I can tell you from personal experience that what gets written down gets done. For example, I have set a goal to reach 300 first-time readers to this blog each month. When I made that decision, I wrote it down on a napkin along with 4 strategies to help me get there. Since that exercise, my think time about the blog hovers over that "300" and what strategies are working and what new strategies need to be considered and implemented. Since that day I have seen a spike in readership.
3) Find your music

I'm not referring to a dial on the radio. When I mention "your music," I'm challenging you to find your strengths.  What skills do you have that set you apart? What problems do others consistently ask you to help them solve? You have to determine what this is and drill down.

I think of Moses in the Bible and how God wanted him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God recognized that Moses had limitations, but also had strengths. He didn't allow what Moses could not do to keep him from where he added the most value. To compensate for his weakness, God surrounded Moses with people to make up the difference. In particular, Aaron his brother. Where Moses fell short in communicating with Pharaoh, Aaron became the "Press Secretary."
To see our success in God's plans for us, we have to do what only we can do and let others handle the rest. I have seen in my own life areas where I try to assert my leadership only to see things fall behind. It is when I step aside in particular areas that growth and forward movement begin to take place.
4) Know where you are
There's an on-going discussion in our home about getting lost. My wife contends that a person is lost the moment they do a U-turn. The notion that you aren't sure where you are earns you the label of being lost. I would submit that as long as you know where you are, you're not lost. Just because I'm not where I want to be at the moment does not justify a "Search and Rescue" mission.
Part of the success journey is to keep tabs on your progress or lack of. Just like a coach must make adjustments to his game plan based on the score, we have to make adjustments in order to keep moving toward our goals. 
Referring to my goal for this blog, I have already made adjustments to the four strategies I originally mapped out. "Knowing where you are" helps you to keep the goal in front of you and part of your daily thinking and praying. 
The greatest challenge for all of us is to not be our greatest opponent. We all fight the battle of "You vs. You" and we must be the winner and not the loser. The good news is that we don't have to fight it alone. God wants to see our lives count for good. In fact, He wants it to count for His glory. He expects that and will hold us accountable for the life He's given us. We can't afford to waste's the only one we have. Don't allow self-imposed limitations keep you from fulfilling your potential.

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