Lent and Human Limitations

I often always tell people the best spiritual thing they could do is get a good night’s sleep.   Sleep is a necessary limitation to human striving, to the pride of achievement, or of the folly of wasted time.  Eventually we have to sleep.

And I hate that. 

I find it hard to take my own advice and go to bed.  Just one more email to check. Another post to write.  Another page to read.  Another show to watch.




Right now I’m in a season of learning my limits, and so Lent is lining up great for me.

I’m learning not so much my physical limits, but my spiritual and relational limits.  I’m being pushed and pulled (by God) into situations where I don’t have a wise word, a helpful plan, or creative solution.

All I have is my limit. I just don’t have anything else to say, I don’t have a plan or a solution. It is beyond me to know how to help or move a situation forward.

I’m continually reaching my limit of human wise, power, and creatively and I am just throwing up my hands to God for the rest (which is equal parts peaceful release and helpless terror).


In many ways I think this is what Lent is for.  We give up good things, or bad things, in our lives, and say “I embrace this limitation.” 

In this we acknowledge what God already knows, that we can’t do everything (even when they are good things).  We have to step back and embrace that we are limited in time and space; limited in a body that demands rest (Sabbath); and limited in our knowledge and power.

But God is not burdened by these limitations (Praise be to God).

This morning I had a cross marked on my forehead with the ashes of palms branched (used last year in our Palm Sunday Celebration) to remind me that “from dust we come and to dust we return” (Eccl. 3:20).

While death is the natural limitation of us all, life in Christ is our spiritual end (goal/purpose), but this comes from God, not from us.

Gal. 2:20-21: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

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