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Choices

Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else. —G.K. CHESTERTON, Orthodoxy

This is one of several things I've read lately that has challenged me about my limitations. Specifically, challenged me to acknowledge that I have limitations.

First, I read this from Randy Alcorn, about saying no to good things to be able to do other good things. (Yes, it's an older post. Someone must have linked it and I read it recently.)

Then there have been various other things I have read, and today the above quote from Chesterton. So I'm contemplating self-limitation.

I really and truly can only do a few things with my time. Some things will require more effort than others, and some things just require more time.

The hard part is to make the choice to let go of something. For example, I have 3 graduate courses I'm taking, pastor a church, and write for this blog. I also want to work on a couple of ideas that will take more than a blog to write. Plus there's the detail of 3 kids and my wife.

If I choose to spend 8 hours on a book, then I'm choosing not spend those hours on family, work, or school. If I choose to spend those hours on family, then work and school don't get them.

And so on.

Yet if we don't make those choices, then everything suffers.

So, I must learn to limit myself. Realize that if I think my expertise has to be applied to every situation, then my expertise will suffer and be useless in all situations. How does that flesh out?

The difficulty comes from not wanting to be responsible for what I let go of, for what I limit myself from as much as what I commit myself to. After all, who's going to run the country if I don't? Who's going to fix that or correct that? If I don't fix the Southern Baptist Convention, who will?

So I struggle with my choices, I struggle with self-limitation, because I think I have to be everywhere. I don't.

It's a challenge worth developing. How about you? Do you find yourself having to do everything? What do you have trouble letting go?

 

Inc Merriam-Webster, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1992), 58.

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