Perceived Limitations

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Last Thursday I had an experience at work that both humbled and encouraged me. It had been a challenging day with a heavy work load. I knew the following day would be much the same. Because it was the end of the month, there were piles of jobs on my desk that I needed to bill and knew I only had the next day to get it all done. As I was plugging away at my work, I heard my name being mentioned from my supervisor’s office. I was curious, and then, a few moments later, a co-worker came in and told me that “since I had so much time on my hands” I needed to help with some work from another department the following morning. I was stunned! I couldn’t speak for a moment and I think I must have looked like a deer frozen in the headlights of a car waiting for its impact. To put it mildly, I was surprised. When I recovered my voice, I told my co-worker that I would help and we should touch base in the morning. However, I must confess, that after that brief encounter, I became annoyed. I wasn’t so much annoyed at my co-worker, but rather, at my supervisor who didn’t ask me directly. I resented the fact that it was “assumed” I wasn’t busy. As I left for the day and headed to my car, I knew I had a poor attitude. I tried to shake the feelings of resentment I was experiencing, but was having a difficult time letting them go.

The next morning I got out of bed with a heaviness upon me. I headed straight to the couch where I spend my quiet time with the Lord each day. I voiced my concerns to Him and asked for forgiveness for my attitude. I prayed for strength and patience and to be able to get through the day “well.” I wanted to be able to shine for Him, but knew that if I were feeling resentful, His light wouldn’t be very easy to see in me! So, I submitted myself and my day to Him. Well, God’s plan for me that day put a smile on my face…and that smile is still here today!

Friday was a good day. I was getting all of my own responsibilities done in addition to helping the person my supervisor had sent to me the day before. I focused on relying on the Lord for my strength and attitude and as always, He was faithful! When I reminded myself of Paul’s words to the people at Ephesus, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Ephesians 6:7), I knew God would give me the strength to do so.

You would think that lesson would have been enough, but the story doesn’t end there! God wasn’t finished teaching me yet! He must have known that I still had a lot to learn because as I was getting through the work that was placed before me, a funny thing started happening. People began coming to me, one after another, all throughout the day to ask for help with their work. I had phone calls from some of our employees whom I never normally deal with! I helped to schedule jobs for another branch. Another co-worker came and asked me to help solve a problem that she couldn’t figure out…and she had never, ever asked for my help before! I was even asked to assist my supervisor in a special project. These requests to help continued to be asked of me all through the day. And all throughout the day I kept my focus on God and working as though working for Him. I became invigorated and encouraged. A comment was even made to me on the brightness of my smile in the face of so much work. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, all the assignments were completed by the end of the day!

God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He? When I thought I couldn’t finish my own work, let alone help one other person, God showed me that by relying on His strength I could do that and so much more than I ever thought I could! “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

When our heart is set on God, we receive our strength from Him. As I was working both on my responsibilities and assisting others, a peace and a joy settled upon me. My attitude improved and I enjoyed my day! As my realization grew to what God was doing, my smile also grew. I was, and still am, humbled by our God, who cares so much that He would lovingly teach me to change my poor attitude and my short-sighted perspective. When we rely on God for our strength, we can accomplish anything He wants us to accomplish. As I sit here now, writing these words, I am excited to think of all the applications of this truth for each area of my life. By putting aside our plans, our agendas and our perceived limitations, He can and will use us to accomplish great things for Him. I am so thankful that on my journey in this life, God is teaching me how to be sure my reactions in all situations reflect Christ’s presence in me.

Living for Him,


“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

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  1. Thank you for this reminder. I also get frustrated when the demands are so high yet, in helping others, God gives us more time on our hands to get our work done.....and lets others see Christ in us.

  2. Oh Joan! I was GREATLY encouraged by this post! It almost sounded like the feeding of the 5,000! God took your five loaves and two fishes, and multiplied them mightily to do the work HE had planned for you! What a testimony you were to others...

    ...and to me!

    Keep up the good work! And that includes your wonderful writing!


  3. What a beautiful post! God works in such wonderfully unexpected and unusual ways sometimes, doesn't He?! So glad your heart was soft and that you turned to Him and didn't maintain your annoyed attitude!! You touched so many people for Him that day.

  4. Such a good lesson in grace and humility. I commend you, sister. All for the glory of God. Undoubtedly, he is using you in a special way at your workplace.


  5. Great the title! So many things I "perceive" to be so...are just not that way...don't you just love these special "God moments"?

  6. Joan: Amazing what can happen when we turn our cares and concerns over to God. I'm reminded that when we take time for the important things (spending time with God being the most important), we have time for the little things.

    I can just picture the smile on your face!


  7. Ha! You suprised yourself with God's Grace!!! “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” That mantra helped you persevere and even set a wonderful example for those around you, not to mention those reading your words.

  8. yes , god does have a way of showing us that we can do all things through christ who strenghtens us..just some times we dont really want to do all great post.. great truths.. have a great week..

  9. As of late I have a poor attitude toward work. After my boss was laid off, things have not been the same. But God is teaching me that I need to work as good as I can with the new situation. Your post is just what I needed to read tonight.

  10. thanks for that encouragement...I have a different situation but that gave me some new insight...

    Stop by for a visit ....I have two giveaways....Have a good weekend



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