Limitations as Invitations

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In our Holy Yoga training the other day, we learned this: “Limitations in our lives equate to freedom”.

We were talking about physical limitations relating to yoga but honestly, that statement just blew me away.  The Truth is that when we accept our limits and need to lean into God’s strength and power, we are transformed.

We all have limitations in our lives. If we listened to the world we would see these limitations as road blocks. We could (and some of us have) allowed these limitations to defeat us.  We throw up our hands and say, “Well, I can’t do that thing (fill in the blank) because I’m too weak, poor, sick, heavy, uneducated, unfit, scared, busy, etc. (fill in the blank).”

Since we all endure different limitations (they can be physical, emotional, spiritual)  and we all have unique dreams, let me just get really general with this statement,   “I can’t fulfill my life’s dream because I am too broken.”

So we give up.

This is where we may go if we see limitations as road blocks.

But here’s the thing.

We are all broken.

Yes.

Not, “Y’all are broken.” But “WE ALL ARE BROKEN.”

Even the people that have fulfilled their dreams. Even the people you think  have it all together. Even the people you see chasing their dreams right now.

Saying you are broken is not admitting defeat, it is declaring VICTORY! It brings FREEDOM.

Freedom from pretending and wearing a false mask and striving and playing God and striving for control.  It means freedom from our sins and our weaknesses and our addictions.  It means that we aren’t supposed to be able to do everything perfectly. When we admit we have limitations and we need God, we can rest and be free from needing to please and protect and be all things to all people. We accept God’s grace. We offer ourselves Grace. We go out into the world and offer Grace to others.

To stand before the Lord and say, “Yah, guess what Lord? I don’t have it altogether. I am not perfect. I can’t figure it out, fix it, mend it, create it, heal it on my own. I need you.  I can’t make good choices all the time. Honestly, Lord, I’m not sure which one is the good choice sometimes. I can’t keep my kids from harm.  I can’t save people. I can’t save myself.  My humanness keeps getting in the way. Broken seems like a harsh word.  It really doesn’t roll off my tongue.  I feel a little squirmy saying it. I say it and then I think, “Wait, I’m not that bad. Broken seems harsh.” I don’t want to say I’m broken because this world has taught me that admitting weakness means I am…well…weak. A fate worse than death here in America Lord. We are bred to brag and achieve and compete and strive and gain and accomplish and never, ever let anyone see us sweat. Lord, I ask you to remove that burden from us. It’s just so tiring Lord. Take it away. Teach us the Truth. You came to turn this world upside down. You came and did a new thing. You said the WEAK will become STRONG. You said BLESSED are the POOR IN SPIRIT.  You, Lord, came and washed feet. You were a servant. You did not demand a King’s robe and crown of jewels. You came as a vulnerable baby and died under a crown of thorns.  Lord, it is really hard for us to let go of what we have learned from this world. We don’t like our limitations. We don’t like it when we feel weak. We are uncomfortable asking for help. We think we long for perfection. We think we long to be rulers of our own little kingdoms but Lord, you know what we really want is peace and joy and love everlasting. We want the freedom that comes from you. So we have limitations. We are human. You are God and we are not. Gosh, what a relief. Can we rest now? Can we just open our hands and except your grace? You’ve got this, right? You’ve got my life and my kids and my marriage and my friendships and my health and my life’s work and my needs…you have this, right? It’s okay if I’m not perfect? Lord, help me today to accept my limitations as an invitation to draw near to you.  Help me to say YES to you so I can taste the Freedom that comes from laying this heavy burden of perfection down. Set me free. Please Lord, set me free.”

Amen.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10(MSG)

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

 
©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Oh my gosh…that’s hilarious.

You know what bugs me?

When you are with people and you say something really funny and someone says with a very serious, pursed lips, church lady voice…”Oh my gosh…that is hilarious.”

If it was hilarious, you wouldn’t say it was hilarious, you would just laugh.  Actually, hilarity calls for doubled over, can’t breathe, snot through the nose, snorting.

Now I realize it’s tough to get to that level of humor and I don’t fancy myself that funny but a can I get a chuckle?

I think some people are afraid to laugh.

No really.

Some are afraid because they think they might pee their pants. This is a very real concern after 40. I mean, it’s funny in junior high when you are stuck in corner of the bouncy house and can’t get out and can’t. stop. laughing. but peeing your pants after a certain age could possibly be looked down upon.  I get that.

Others might be afraid that laughter is too silly for them.  They are serious Jesus people. It’s not proper.  They are too old for that kind of silliness.

Respectfully, I disagree.

I am super excited and grateful to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For The Love”. I can’t say much about it because it’s not out until August and it’s TOP SECRET…but it has reminded me how laughter is so good for the soul. She is laugh out loud funny and also so in love with Jesus and spreading the Good News. She’s my people. And the other people on the launch team are my people too. We have a Facebook page for the group and let’s just say…hilarity ensues.  (See how lame that looks with the sad little period. Picture me doubled over in laughter and snorting.)

The other day I was getting a pedicure and I was reading her book and I was literally cry- laughing out loud. I kept pulling my foot out away and doubling over in my chair.  Then in the next minute or two I was weeping- crying soulful, straight from the heart tears. Literally, back and forth on the emotions. The laughing and crying just seemed to merge… into me, my life, what I feel, what I know to be be God’s love…it’s both.  It makes you laugh and cry.  There is no doubt everyone in the salon was worried about me.  Nobody said anything which means they were afraid of me. Just ignore her, they were thinking…she will be out of here soon.  Don’t. Rock. The. Boat. She. Is. Nuts.

My favorite image of Jesus is this one:

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I pretend that He is laughing at my jokes.

It’s a card that I keep in my Bible.  On the back it says, “Smile, God Loves You.”

Because why wouldn’t we smile? The fact that He loves me is good, good news.  It’s great news! It’s the best news there is!

When we receive His gift of grace, when we feel His love and taste the freedom that comes from it…we find joy.

Joy is our birthright.

We don’t need to pretend to be pious and always dignified and serious and somber.

Of course, we don’t need to pretend to think something is funny, either.

No more pretending.

I love to laugh and sometimes I pee my pants doing it.

Amen.

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©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Nothing is Wasted

Nothing is wasted, she said.

I just looked at her like she was crazy since it seemed so disjointed, this life of mine.

Classes and books and studying…for what? I think sometimes. The yoga and the workshops and the working out. The running and the striving and the working to be all things.

I see you, He assures me.

The Bibles, so many and the studies I can’t keep straight, my fingers clumsily looking at the table of contents to see how to get to where all the others already are. Lost again but seeking. Searching. No map for me, the path is hidden, only the next step appears miraculously before the abyss.  I think I’m the first until I notice the muddy indentation from the soles (souls?) that preceded me.

Fragments of grace. Pieces of Holy. I cling tightly to hope.

He shows me the next step.

I say yes. Not knowing why but trusting that the invitation has been offered by the One who sees the big picture.

All of the writers and thinkers and philosophers and musicians…the hours spent talking about ideas and dreams…imagining. College days filled with beer and breadsticks and friends who left home for the first time. All the wondering and wandering.

The people…the anticipatory hello and the sometimes hasty good bye.  Other times the final touch lingering, painful and difficult to forget.  Scars…battle wounds for being real I guess.

Brennan Manning says, “In love’s service only wounded soldiers can serve.”

The wounds are not wasted.

Fear and panic born from destiny’s appointment with a gunman. A desperate soul in need passing his fear onto me rendering me useless. Paralyzed. Afraid.

Doctors and prayers and the Great Healer leading me to breath.

Breath leading me to life again.

Fear not, He tells me.

Marriage and babies and toddlers and teens all needing their own library to tell their story.

And the dance goes on.

My doubt…His reassurance.

My fear…His freedom.

My sickness…His healing.

My following…His leading.

My trust…His abundance.

Nothing is wasted.

romans 8-28

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved