Does anyone feel like, no matter how much they schedule, plan, and execute, they cannot accomplish everything they hope to in a single day? Even if I check off everything on my to-do list, I often look back on the day reflecting on who I should’ve listened to a while longer, who I could’ve reached out to, or what I could’ve done better. It’s been an internal battle to be at peace with my limitations, accepting what I’ve done for the day is enough, and tomorrow is a new day. What could I have done to maximize my time? How can I make each moment matter and every minute count? And doesn’t our western culture encourage this type of thinking? Why stand in line at Chick-fil-A, you could just order your food through the app and have curbside service! (In case you didn’t know, Chick-fil-A is a favorite in the Hurt household). If only I had woken up an hour earlier, maybe then I could’ve accomplished more, gotten ahead of this never ending, exhausting cycle we call life. If only, if only, if only…
But what if the secret to “getting ahead” isn’t necessarily “doing more?” What if we’re asking the wrong question entirely? Don’t misunderstand me, I’m an advocate for a healthy dose of routine. I thrive on schedules myself. But rather than becoming sleep deprived or cutting corners in other areas, what if we changed the way we view limitations?
What if we understood that “finitude is a gift, not a deficiency.” In other words, “our limits are a gift, they’re not a sin” (Kapic).
With dad at the wheel and myself as the copilot, we took a break from the car karaoke and settled in for a podcast on our recent voyage to the Outer Banks. We tuned into one of the chapel talks given by a theology professor at my alama mater, Covenant College. I believe my peers will attest that if you reserved a seat in the coveted Kapic class, you wouldn’t be disappointed. While his reputation for classes were extremely difficult as they challenged your worldview, causing you to dig deeper into your theological roots, they were also entirely rewarding as you grew in understanding and application. In this instance, Kapic’s chapel talk discussed the idea of “Finitude.” The longer I listened, the more I realized I had fallen into the tiring belief that there is always more to do, and I am feeling the unbearable pressure and weight to get it all done myself. I’m not merely addressing my to-do list, I’m talking about this on a larger scale. What have I done to love my spouse today? How can I be a better neighbor to my community? What new ideas can be implemented to further empower women at the pregnancy clinic, where we aid women in unplanned pregnancies? What can I do to better assist our local city school in empowering students to excel in academics with their limited resources? What can I do to help International Justice Missions as they fight to bring an end to sex slavery? In a world full of injustice, I want to play a small role in reconciliation in any way I can. And while these are inherently helpful thoughts and ideas, Kapic’s next statement struck me:
“We should stop asking for God’s forgiveness that we can’t do everything. We need to ask God’s forgiveness that we ever imagined we could.”
There. Right there, this comment struck a chord in my soul. It’s time to change the script. No, this doesn’t mean my heart isn’t burdened by the to-do lists, the injustices, and what’s happening in our own backyards here in little Laurel, Mississippi. And while my heart is heavy, my perspective on my limitations changed. I wasn’t meant to do it all. How often do we come to think so highly of ourselves, forgetting how desperately we are in need of Jesus in every hour and every moment? We are loved by our Heavenly Father for everything we are, and for everything we’re not.
As we spent the week at the Outer Banks, I had the opportunity to watch the waves roll in, lapping the shores. It was evident I had grown accustomed to the gentleness of the Gulf, because the undertow of the Atlantic felt threatening. Experiencing the pull from the ocean filled me with both fear and wonder. Few earthly wonders make me feel smaller than the ocean. And in that moment, I embraced my finite being, praising God with my heart, soul, mind, and spirit. While I am finite, He is infinite.
I’m learning to befriend finitude. There is a peace knowing I wasn’t created to do it all. Rather than feeling like I’m constantly failing, I’m accepting my limitations, and understanding that they aren’t a deficiency – they’re a gift. Through my finite being and in my weakness, He, in his infinite being, is made strong.
All photos by Abigail Grey Photography.