Today, I am feeling my physical limitation. I have a couple of autoimmune issues. I don’t talk about them. They won’t be the death of me – they just disrupt my life at times. Today is one of those days … the easiest way to describe it is that I feel like I’ve been hit by a “Mack” truck. I know with a bit of time, I will feel better. Interestingly, I also know that while I don’t feel like doing anything at all, a little engagement will help the process.
Prayer #8: Limitation
I say all of this to introduce a prayer I read this morning. It is Prayer #8 in the book Prayer: Forty Days of Practice by McRoberts and Erickson.
I discovered Erickson’s art on Instagram and then heard him in an interview on a favorite podcast. His art resonates with me deeply.
“May I find freedom in limitation — to fully give myself to what I can do rather than worry about what I cannot.”Prayer 8
In the early days of discovering I had an autoimmune illness, I felt awful, needed excessive rest, and didn’t function well. Just thinking about having to walk through the grocery store, a simple chore, one I enjoyed, would leave me in tears. During this time, God reminded me of a lesson He had tried to teach me before.
The lesson was the gift of saying “No.” “I can’t do that.” “Not now, I’m sorry.” “No, I won’t be able to do …” “Sounds wonderful, but I won’t be able to come.” I don’t remember the details now (foggy brain is real) but the lesson stuck with me.
Typically Christians are busy about doing, busy, busy, busy. More so in years past when the church doors were open multiple times a week. Maybe yours still is. I’m grateful for leadership who chooses a more organic process of doing church.
Limitation and our work
Jesus said clearly our work is to believe.
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”John 6:29 NLT
Paul added when he wrote to the church at Ephesus:
“This is the explanation: God has made us what we are. God has created us in King Jesus for the good works that he prepared, ahead of time, as the road we must travel.”Ephesians 2:10 NTE
The work of faith
It is in believing that our lives are transformed, offering ourselves as a living sacrifice, giving ourselves in worship, and allowing the Spirit to renew our minds. When we focus on this work of faith, then the fruit of the Spirit overflows out of our lives. It spills over into our circles of influence.
Scott Erickson creates a work of art with each prayer. Today’s drawing is a paper airplane in the middle of mechanical and biological flying machines, a jet, a helicopter, a bee, a bird, and more. I accept that I am a simple paper airplane – my limitation is evident in this picture, and His breath, the Spirit, the “pneuma” is the proverbial “wind beneath my wings.” Or, as Isaiah writes,
Do you not know? Have you not heard?Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Today my prayer is to entirely give myself to what I can do, knowing my limitations. I know I can do the work that God prepared for me because He knows me thoroughly, intimately, in every detail. I’m grateful today that God does not grow weary, never sleeps, and renews our strength.