Everyone has limitations, but we cannot allow them to determine who we are. The key is being self-aware. I am convinced that the most important piece of furniture in our homes is our mirror. We should routinely look in the mirror and do an honest self-assessment to determine our strengths, weaknesses and limitations. We should aggressively pursue candid feedback from our peers, colleagues, bosses, and subordinates. This is termed a “360 assessment.”
Once aware of our limitations, we have many ways to transcend them. One way is to get some additional education or experience that will allow us to improve those weaknesses. We should always seek ways to improve ourselves.
Another way is to surround yourself with folks who have strengths in those areas where you fall short. Allow them to compensate for your limitations.
Another way is reliance on God. I believe a key is faith. There really isn’t anything we can’t accomplish, if we do it with God.
Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)
These days Hollywood has brought Moses back to the minds of many in the recently released movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Now is a perfect time to stop and think about how Moses’ life can relate to today’s challenges.
God gave Moses a task. He had seen the suffering of His people in Egypt over the past 400 years. He told Moses,
“So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
Moses had no idea why he was being chosen. Moses knew his limitations, and he expressed those to God:
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:11-12)
Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10-11)
God did just what he promised Moses. He was with him every step of the way, and Moses successfully led the Israelites out of Egypt, with God’s help.
Many figures over the course of our nation’s history have also acknowledged their own personal limitations and turned to God for help. Robert E. Lee is quoted as saying to a well wisher, “I sincerely thank you for that, and I can only say that I am a poor sinner trusting in Christ alone and that I need all the prayers you can offer for me.”
We have all been in similar circumstances. I am a man of many limitations. Numerous times throughout the course of my military career I was faced with challenges that I thought were insurmountable. After analyzing the task at hand, and being mindful of my many limitations, I first turned to God and asked Him to give me strength, courage, and wisdom to do what was being asked of me. I asked Him to guide me.
On one of my tours in Iraq, I was tasked to be the spokesman for Multi-National Force Iraq. I had no media training and, candidly, no interest in dealing with the media on a daily basis, but I had no choice. I turned to God and asked Him to be with me in the press conferences, media briefings, etc. I prayed fervently before each engagement, and turned to God after each event and thanked Him for being with me. If I did OK in that task, it was because God was with me.
Let’s all keep this lesson in mind. No task is too difficult if we turn to God and ask for His help. As Paul says in Philippians 4:13:
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
image illustrations via shutterstock / Niels Hariot