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If You’re Overloaded, Learn Your Limits
By Rick Warren

“I have learned that everything has limits.” Psalm 119:96 (GNT)

If you want to build margin in your life so that you can do the work God meant for you to do, you have to remember that you are only human. You are not a god. You are not invincible. You have limits!

Psalm 119:96 says, “I have learned that everything has limits” (GNT).

God is the author of your limitations. He put them there for your good—because he loves you. So rather than fighting your limits, you need to accept your limits.

Sadly, as human beings we’re not very adept at recognizing our limits. We constantly overestimate our abilities and underestimate obstacles and how much time it will take to do something. On top of that, we live in a culture that constantly tells us, “You can do it all! You can have it all! You can be whatever you want!” But it’s not true. You can be all that God wants you to be, but you cannot be whatever you want to be. There are limits in your life. 

In the first place, you have physical limits. You can’t go six months without food, no matter how much you talk yourself into it. Even the most powerful positive thinking can’t overcome your physical limits. 

You also have emotional limits. These are much harder for you to recognize in your own life. Many people try to carry both their own problems and the problems of people around them. But how many people can you carry emotionally? How many of their problems can you handle? Probably not as many as you think.

You have mental limits too. The problem is that the media constantly pumps new information into your mind through radio, TV, and the Internet. As a result, many people around the world are mentally on overload. They can’t handle any more. 

And, of course, you have time limits. No matter how many time-management seminars you attend, you’ll never have more than 24 hours in a day. And you’ll always have to sleep for part of that time.

You might be thinking, “It would really be nice if God would warn me when I’m reaching my limit.”

God has given you a warning light! It has different names: pain, fatigue, stress, loss of joy, irritability. When you feel any of these things, you’re on overload; you have exceeded some kind of limit in your life. 

So how do you build margin in your life? The starting point for building margin is to realize you need margin because you have limits. You cannot just keep cramming your life full of things that are not important and do not help you accomplish your purpose.

Ask God to give you the wisdom to recognize your limits. Then start building margin into your life—and experience the joy that comes when you’re not living on overload.

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