I have always believed that I could do anything I set my mind to. Not at first, but with practice, I could learn. Except brain surgery. I could never do brain surgery. I also believed that I could conquer any situation. If I would just press through, all would be just fine. Sore shoulder? Ignore it and it will get better. Hundred degree weather? Just drink lots of water and you’ll be fine. Going at top speed uphill? Ignore the fact that your heart is beating so hard that you can actually see it through your shirt. Letting anything stand in my way was cause for failure. I would need to justify my lack of accomplishment, and even then I secretly thought I was a wimp. If only I had tried harder, kept pressing, I would have managed it. I firmly believe in a growth mindset, but taken to the extreme, it is a lousy way to live. The truth is I cannot do everything.
My first inkling of this was realizing that I didn’t have time to do everything. I still believed that if I really wanted to, I could accomplish anything. I just realized that there weren’t enough hours in the day or years in my life to do that. And by realizing, I mean getting tired of melting down when I wasn’t able to get something done, despite scheduling myself down to the minute. Maybe I just wasn’t being efficient enough. Um, no. I am learning to be intentional with how I choose to spend my time. That helps, but I must emphasize the word “learning.” No way I am there.
Lately I have been discovering that I really can’t do everything, even if I had unlimited time. It pains me to say this, but I have physical limitations. I will never be able to handle hot days. The more I try, the worse I get. I won’t ever run a marathon. My knees won’t take it. I cannot power up the hills behind my house at full speed. With every passing year, it just gets harder.
But worse is recognizing that I have emotional limitations too. I am a sensitive person and I doubt I will ever get to a place where people’s unflattering opinions of me don’t matter. I will never be able to roll with the punches quite as much as I would like. Loud noises, strong smells, changes in schedules, burnt dinners are always going to cause me to catch my breath.
I so do not want to be a wimp. I want to be calm, capable, and courageous. So, today I make this stand. I will be courageous and recognize that I have these issues. When they raise their heads, I will grant myself grace. I will say to myself, “Self, this is tricky. But God is not surprised. He is capable of managing things. You can relax.” The more I give myself permission to be bothered by random things, the less bothered I am. The faster I get over being bothered. The more I like myself. The less I think I’m a wimp. I end up being that calm, capable, courageous woman I always wanted to be. Today anyway.