Sunday, July 30, 2023

Let's Redefine Limitations


Several years ago, I was sitting at my desk at the nontraditional high school I work in.  Back then, our school was in a different building.  One much smaller than the brand new, multi-million dollar building we now reside in.

Our school program had small beginnings when I started working there 10 years ago.  At the time, we had 4 teachers (one for each subject) and 44 students.  Now we have grown to a staff of over 100 and a student body of over 4,000 students - both full- and part-time.

But let's go back a step to the beginning for a moment...On that fateful day I am referencing above, I was sitting at my desk.  A desk and countertop combination that sat in the small, front office of our school.

To my left was our Principal's office.  Directly behind me and to the left was our graduation coach's office, and straight behind me was a small and short hallway that led to the staff breakroom, Counselor's office, Nurse's office, and a staff restroom.

On this particular day, I distributed the staff's W-2 forms to their mailboxes.  It was between class periods, and the teachers had gathered in the breakroom to get water, coffee, and check their mailboxes while visiting for a minute or two.  They only had a few minutes before they had to return to their classrooms for the next period.

As each teacher retrieved their W-2 forms and opened them to see what their figures were for that year, I heard our Graduation Coach say, "Y'all, I know we say teachers don't make a lot of money, but we really do make a lot of money!"

I kept working.  Yes.  They do make a lot of money.  Most of them make close to six figures.  Six figures for a job that while emotionally and mentally hard at times, gives them a daily schedule that is good (most work 7:30AM-3:30PM), gives them two months off in the summer, a week at Christmas, a week at Thanksgiving, a week in the Spring, and a week in the Fall.  Six figures and a ton of time off.  Yes, life is good for them.  

Most of them have multiple college degrees, work extra hard, and give teaching everything they have - mind, heart, soul, and body.

But I kept working.  The educators make good money.  The rest of the system, maybe not so much.  While I sat there running the front office - keeping guard over student information, keeping the books, running events, maintaining our school's social media channels, and so many other things, I didn't make good money.  It was hard listening to them laugh and talk about how much money they had.

To be fair and to put a disclaimer here - I love my job.  I love my team, the people I work with.  I love my school.  I don't want to be anywhere else right now.  But there are limitations on me and my life that others don't possess.  And that is why I loved reading these words from Katherine Wolf today,

"Thriving in limitations is possible for us, too. In fact, our weak parts, ugly tendencies, failures, and inabilities provide open spaces for miracles to spring up. Our limitations today are merely shadows of the ultimate limitation—death—which was exactly the limitation through which Jesus worked out our salvation. If Jesus can redefine death as the way to life, can we believe our pain can have a purpose?"

Katherine points out that even though so many of us possess some type of limitation, if we will just readjust our lenses and look through the eyes of Scripture and Jesus's life, we will see that even our SAVIOR had limitations.

And quite honestly, I've never thought Jesus had any limitations.  We just don't look at or view Jesus that way.  HOWEVER, reading about redefining limitations this morning refocused my view and made me wonder why I never saw Jesus with limitations before now.

He was limited when He was put into human form.  He was limited to everything tied to being human while He was here.  He was limited by death.

But yet - death was the very thing that provided freedom and salvation to the rest of us - and the world.

Can you wrap your mind around that fact?  Jesus took His limitations, and He redefined them to an avenue of purpose.  Wow.

I feel so completely limited most of the time.  I'm not retiring soon like my age-counterparts.  I'm not happily married for decades, like so many of my counterparts.  My house isn't close to being paid off like so many of my age-counterparts.  I am at a job I love but barely making enough to pay my mortgage and utilities.

So many limitations to battle daily.

But sitting down to read Katherine's words this morning made me see Jesus had  limitations too, and look what he did!  He took the ultimate limitation and created an avenue that changed the world forever.

This morning, I hope you will read Katherine's words and see that even though we all possess some type of limitations - financial, physical, or emotional - we can also create freedom and pathways to liberty for ourselves and for others.

I know it's hard to climb out of your own head and emotions most days, but as Katherine pens so eloquently, "If Jesus can redefine death as the way to life, can we believe our pain can have a purpose?"

I'm going to try and remember that my pain in this life can have a purpose too.  I'll keep trying to climb and surmount my obstacles daily.  I'll keep waiting for God to show up.  And then, I'll keep trying to see how God is redefining my pain into a purpose.

Keep pushing through the pain and limitations of this world.  If Jesus can take His limitations and redefine them, we can too.

2 Cor. 12:9, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

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