Know Your Limits 

"One of my all-time favourite children’s books when our kids were little had a great title, ‘Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day’. . . Here is an excerpt: ‘I went to sleep with chewing gum in my mouth and now it’s in my hair and when I got up this morning I tripped on my skateboard, dropped my sweater in the sink when the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day’.

For many, of course, the days can be weeks or months, but for all of us ordinary life itself is a mixture of our being both victims and perpetrators! . . . How do we cope with this? Indeed, more than that, how do we go beyondjust coping, so as to live! The answers will be different for us all but… . . .

So we need to know our boundaries, so that like Alexander – if we’re having ‘a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day’ – stressed, pressured, knackered, at odds with myself and everyone else, with little or no energy left, what we do is KISS = keep it simple, stupid. i.e. We live in the manageable portions of ‘day at a time’ ness, so as to keep the rhythm, maintain the discipline, keep the boundaries so that we don’t go ‘over the edge’ of our limits. . . 

In other words a vital part . . . is to know your self, your limitations, for a serious danger to the spiritual life is over activity, of stretching ourselves beyond our powers and so leading to exhaustion, feeling disconnected as we find ourselves caught up in the multiple activities of hurry and worry by spreading ourselves too thin.

If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely.

Small beginnings, greater ends.  Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free, take your time, go slowly.

Do few things, but do them well: simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone, build your secret slowly.

Day by day, you’ll grow too. . .!

We need to value ourselves more, who we are as persons, realise that everyone else does not come first . . .  we need to find the place apart to renew our inner strength each day of our lives so that even if it’s ‘Alexander and the wonderful, marvelous  all good, very fine day’ we still watch the boundaries, know the limits, so as to be alive and stay alive inside!

‘Let your tender mercies come unto us that we might live again’"

An  excerpt from The Discipline of Knowing Your Limitations, a reflection by Trevor Miller

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