- Limitations aid growth.
Maybe the best way to explain this is by example. I preach periodically. It used to be that I really enjoyed being given full freedom in what I am to preach on. I liked choosing my topic. But over time, I learned to appreciate being given a topic. The reason is that the limitations actually make me work and study and grow. When I pick my own topic… I tend to fall into old ruts in the road.
I remember a friend of mine telling a story of an acquaintance of his. This other pastor was asked to speak in a church in a different city. He was given a topic to preach on. However, upon arrival he stated that he could not do the topic he was given. He said that on the bus ride to the city, his sermon was picked up by the wind and blown out of the bus. This pastor took that as “divine guidance” that he should be guided by the Holy Spirit on what to preach on. This sounds really holy… but my friend had his doubts. The sermon this other pastor ended up preaching was on the topic he almost always preaches on, based on a passage he commonly uses. My friends view was that the pastor wasn’t seeking to be guided by God… but seeking to be self-guided and, in fact, be lazy.
One can embrace the limitations and recognize them as part of one’s freedom. I believe I have used this example before… but years ago we had young children and an open backyard. We were afraid to let our children get more than a few feet from us in fear that they would run at full speed into the road. We eventually bought a chain link fence. After this, we could allow our children explore our entire backyard. Now if you think about it, there were limits/boundaries before the fence and after the fence. Before, they were there but poorly defined (from our children’s perspective) and poorly maintained (from our perspective). Therefore, we had to keep a close eye on our children. After the fence was installed… the boundaries were clear to our kids and well-maintained from our perspective. The result was great freedom for our children.
We often grow because we are forced to grow. It is good to embrace the limitations as opportunities.