Have you heard the woman's story who did the Ironman with very little training or preparation, but ended up in first place at the end of the race...except her body started to quit on her...first her legs, then her whole body, then she lost control of her bodily functions...I don't even know if she finished; I have to assume she did because of the viral impact of her story. I mean if my cable-less homeschooling, hermit-like self has heard about it...well...you get the point.
Anyway, her story made me think. We all have physical limits and mental limits and emotional limits. We have a breaking point...but that small voice in your head can sure make you go farther and longer and harder than you ever thought you could at times.
The Ironman lady said she heard that voice telling her...willing her.."Get up!" GET. UP!!!"
I find that we often have much more in reserve than we might think.
I find that being pushed to the limit once in a while grows character.
I find that being a mom of four has often pushed me to limits I never thought I could endure...of love, heartbreak, worry, joy, and exhaustion...
But I find that I love it...
...like I love pushing myself to run a little faster or do a few more crunches at the gym after it really seems like I can't do anymore...it just feels good.
I love that my character and my physical body are stretched and pushed and strained by mothering and homeschooling my four children.
I love that when I have had 15 minutes of sleep in a night, I can still muster the voice and energy to hold and sing to my baby before her nap...or laugh at my two year old's ridiculously illogical knock knock jokes.
And I can always find a way to prepare three meals a day for my children (I didn't say anything about doing the dishes afterward.) And most of all, I can now say I am mastering the ability to control my temper and find patience and strength to show up for duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week without yelling. (Only by God's presence in our home and his merciful grace with me over the past four years of my own personal battle with temper tantrums has this been possible).
And I find that those moments of extreme really clarify my priorities.
I find myself searching more for the best and the "real" instead of the urgent and superficial. And that is good.
I find my relationship to God deepened and the love in my heart expanded after being stretched and pushed.
I sometimes find myself humbled and often embarassed after such times...but always more wide-eyed and appreciative.
I have experienced a physical extreme of sorts these past few months. I have slept very little, and by very little, I mean VERY LITTLE. And I would find that voice in the wee hours of the night saying, "You can do this." "I will equip you for times like this." "I am here with you and will sustain you."
I believe this was the Holy Spirit. And after having one of the most beautiful periods these past months with my family and my husband, despite lack of sleep, and some pretty big challenges, I know that voice was right. And I am thankful for the knowledge that I can be pressed and shaken and find the "light" still shining in our home...and shining even brighter at times when my limit has been reached and I need some outside strength.
Sometimes I am offered help when things are challenging. My pride often gets in the way of me accepting it. But, I also know that enduring and allowing myself to be tested is good...and right...and even preferable...to taking the easy way out all the time and shipping my kids off to various locations...
They benefit from seeing my endurance process and from seeing me ask them for some help when I am struggling...and from seeing that I can and do make it through those times with joy and grace...mostly. :)
Do you allow your limits to be pushed regularly?