Age limit. Speed limit. Spending limit. Blood alcohol limit. Tickets-you’re-allowed-to-buy-for-an-event limit (that people still manage to get around so that they can re-sell the ticket for 5x the price..I’m not bitter). There are plenty of limits that are good and are meant to be helpful and beneficial.
But when I think of the word ‘limit’, the fact that I immediately think of self-imposed, not-so-beneficial limits is pretty telling. “The sky’s the limit,” they say. “Don’t limit yourself.” For some reason, I never really take those things to heart. Why is it so difficult to believe? Because I don’t believe in myself? Because it’s easier to set limits and low expectations? Maybe I’m just really going for the ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ approach.
It’s easy to dream. I dream of one day starting a social enterprise and using it to empower, provide, and indirectly (or directly) spread the gospel. I dream of traveling the world, and living in a different city for a season in my life. I dream of being brave enough to cultivate and pursue my passions. People dream of marriage, of success, of living meaningful lives. But it’s much harder to have ambition – actually being determined and willing to put in the hard work that it takes. And this is where the self-limitation comes in. For example, my social entrepreneurial dreams would require potentially going back to school..but that would require a lot of hard work – and money. So I tell myself it’s unrealistic – I have too much debt from undergrad already, I’m not cut out for the business world, etc. But if I’m really honest with myself, it’s not unrealistic – I have the work ethic, a growing passion, and an awesome support system. But for whatever reason, I tell myself, “my life could never look like that.” And that’s how you end up stuck, complacent, and forever unsure of your true potential.
People who continuously have had limits put on them by others seem to be the people who believe that there are no limits. Maybe they come from poor or broken families, have disabilities, didn’t have access to education, or whatever the case may be. They’re the ones that tend to defy the odds. The people that relentlessly work to push past these ‘limits’ because perhaps to them, they’re not limits, just obstacles. And they prove people wrong. It’s the classic underdog story we all root for. And yet for me, coming from a privileged background, I let fear, comfort, and sometimes downright laziness limit my pursuit of certain paths in life.
I believe sometimes we set limits on ourselves as a defense mechanism. We always believe that we have something to lose. Sure, we may lose things like money, time, reputation, relationships..but is saving these things worth lost opportunities, callings, and a sometimes greater reward? A question perhaps I need to ask myself more often.
I’m not saying to go be reckless and irresponsible. Or maybe I am, and saying I’m not is just another way I’m setting limits as a shelter. Or is this one of those limits that’s good and beneficial? Am I over thinking this? (Welcome to the type of internal debate that happens in my mind all the time.)
Maybe in 2016 I can begin chipping away at those limits that don’t need to be there. Something tells me that there’s a lot more for me beyond those limits, and maybe one day I’ll look back and wonder why I ever placed them there in the first place.
If you’re new to my blog, #WVW (Word Vomit Wednesday) is a fun little weekly challenge my friend Brian and I started to encourage more consistent and authentic writing. The point is to write down, or word vomit, whatever comes to mind, with lots of vulnerability along the way. Many have joined in on the fun, and you should too! 🙂