Just how badly are you limiting yourself?

The greatest limits we’ll face in life will be self-imposed. They’ll come from what we tell ourselves we can’t do, or from what we choose to believe about what others tell us we can’t do.

So imagine the possibilities if those negative voices — from ourselves and others — weren’t listened to.

During his first year of graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, George Dantzig (later known as the father of linear programming) arrived late for a statistics class. He saw two problems on the blackboard. Assuming they were homework, he copied them and a few days later he turned in the solutions.

One Sunday morning six weeks later, the professor appeared at Dantzig’s door, waving a manuscript. It turned out the professor had merely written two examples of unsolvable problems on the blackboard. The manuscript the teacher was waving was Dantzig’s work the professor had readied for publication.

Imagine what might have happened if Dantzig had arrived to class in time to hear the professor tell his students the problems were unsolvable. In that situation, would Dantzig have tried to solve the problems? Because there wasn’t someone telling him he couldn’t do it, he simply did it!

We create our biggest limitations in life by the limits we establish — by the limits we place on who we’re willing to love, who we’re willing to serve, what we’re willing to learn, the work we’re willing to do, the sacrifices we’re willing to make, and the risks we’re willing to take. Often these limits are far below what God has made us capable of, and constrain our lives to be much less full than they otherwise could be.

Jesus taught us to love everyone, deny ourselves, forgive constantly, serve others, work hard —- in general, to live life within the fullness of the limits He set for us, which was designed to be a full, rich life. Are these the kind of limits you’ve put in place in your life? Or are you listening to the negative voices of yourself and others that keep you contained to someone less than God would have you be? What would your life look like if you lived fully within the limits God has set for us, rather than the limits you and others have set for you?