Now that the weather is getting cooler here in the US, I’ve started to put away my summer clothes. But as much as I wish I could pack away the bathing suit until next year, I am not able to do that thanks to the invention of the indoor water park.
One of my least favorite things in all the world is an indoor water park. I know in the scope of world troubles, this is trivial. But in a first-world-problem kind of way, indoor water parks are the worst.
But I go. And I suffer. For the kids.
Of all the things I dislike about these parks – the humidity, the smell, the wearing-of-the-bathing-suit-whilst-standing-on-steps – I found one redeeming quality that nearly made up for it.
These lifeguards are no whistle-twirling, chair-lounging, teenage-flirting type of lifeguards. These people are serious and focused. Not only are they always on their feet, they never stop moving.
It is as if they are each assigned an eight-foot length of the pool, no more and no less. They are responsible for those eight feet and anyone who swims in front of them. They pace their assigned distance back and forth on the edge of the pool, eyes never leaving the water.
It is impressive to watch, as much as I don’t want to admit that anything impresses me at the water park.
As I watched them, I couldn’t help but think about my life, my calling, and my own eight-foot assignment.
Some of us grow up hearing the sky is the limit and we can do anything if we set our minds to it. And while it seems like a positive and encouraging message to tell our kids, it is unfair and untrue.
Possibility can be as overwhelming as it is inspiring. At first it can feel terribly exciting to imagine anything is possible — until you sprint flat into the wall of your own limits in the form of lack of energy, bad timing, comparison, competition, and distraction.
Could it be possible that your limits – those things you curse and wish were different about yourself – are not holding you back but pointing you forward?
It seems to me when I finally recognize my inability is when Christ shows up able within me. But He doesn’t equip me to do every job possible, He equips me to do the job meant for me.
If you’re willing to face your inability, you are able to see what is outside your circle of influence and responsibility so that you may embrace and focus on the small part that belongs to you and only to you.
Could it be possible that the reason we are so overwhelmed is because we are focused on the whole pool, forgetting our own eight-foot assignment?
You have a job to do and it won’t look like mine or his or theirs. It looks like yours. It isn’t the whole pool, but it’s still important.
The fact that you can’t cover the whole pool at once doesn’t mean you are a failure, it just means you have the wrong goal. It also means you need other people around you to do their jobs, too.
What would it look like if we all began to uncover the art we were born to make, the hints of our own design hidden in the sacred curve of our souls? What if we began to consider how our limits might actually be our guideposts, gifts along our pathway to remind us what our calling isn’t so that we may be more open to what it is?
Are you a writer beginning to explore your own story? Do you want to write words that are memorable and life-changing but aren’t quite sure which part of the pool belongs to you? Consider joining Lysa and the Proverbs 31 team by registering for Compel, a membership site for influencers who want to write words to influence people.
Are you a mama, a teacher, a lawyer, a manager, or anyone longing to do work that matters? Perhaps you are motivated to move within your own section of the pool but are unsure what section that is.
I wrote a book for you. It’s called A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live and it is for the person who fears she has nothing to offer but secretly hopes she’s wrong. It’s for the person who wants to be brave enough to move toward what makes her come alive. I hope it’s for you.
Today we are giving away 5 copies! To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.
Emily P. Freeman is the author of three books, including her latest, A Million Little Ways. Whether in her writing or speaking, Emily’s words create space for souls to breathe. She and her husband, John, live in North Carolina with their three children. She would love to connect with you at her blog, Chatting at the Sky, where she is writing a series every day in October: 31 days of Living Art.