Letting Your Limits Teach You What Your Own Gifts and Calling Are 


ash wednesday vulnerability 3We have been looking at Psalm 103’s description of us as “dust” and how it calls us to embrace our own sense of limit and vulnerability.

Embracing such limits also reveals what we can do.   Having some you cannot do as well as others or on your own without others’ help also points toward your own strengths and inner power: After all, if there are things others can do more readily than you and areas you cannot excel as much without another’s hand, the same is true on your end.  You can do some things others cannot touch, at least not without your help.   Seeing and accepting your own limits frees you to recognize other’s limits not as things to judge them for, but opportunities to see your own strength, giftedness, and value.

vulnerability as beautyI am reminded of the powerful words of one of my spiritual heroes, the late Father Henri Nouwen, who wrote, “The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of helplessness and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their many victims.”

“It is not easy to distinguish between doing what we are called to do and doing what we want to do. Our many wants can easily distract us from our true action. True action leads us to the fulfillment of our vocation. Whether we work in an office, travel the world, write books or make films, care for the poor, offer leadership, or fulfill unspectacular tasks, the question is not “What do I most want?” but “What is my vocation?” The most prestigious position in society can be an expression of obedience to our call as well as a sign of our refusal to hear that call, and the least prestigious position, too, can be a response to our vocation as well as a way to avoid it. …

vulnerability as openness“When we are committed to do God’s will and not our own we soon discover that much of what we do doesn’t need to be done by us. What we are called to do are actions that bring us true joy and peace. Just as leaving friends for the sake of the Gospel will bring us friends, so too will letting go of actions not in accord with our call.


“Actions that lead to overwork, exhaustion, and burnout can’t praise and glorify God. What God calls us to do we can do and do well. When we listen in silence to God’s voice and speak with our friends in trust we will know what we are called to do and we will do it with a grateful heart.”

How has discovering and embracing your limits helped reveal to you the calling and vocation God has for you? I would love to hear your story.

Let’s continue this journey together!

Your progressive redneck preacher,





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