If someone asked Paul one more time if he had found work, he was going to clobber him or her. It’s not that he hadn’t been looking. It’s not that he didn’t try. There was just no work to be found! He didn’t mean to be ornery and uptight. He didn’t mean to lash out at his wife’s inquiries. He felt stuck, not sure which way to turn, embarrassed he couldn’t keep up appearances, ashamed his manhood was being attacked. He was good and stuck. Like a helpless baby.
But where Paul errs is in his thinking. He may find himself in a pit, but he’s not stuck. He may need help, but he’s not help-less. Yet his limiting beliefs hold him back.
You and I are the same. We all have beliefs that limit us and keep us from living from our full potential, from being all that God has called us to be. Some of the language we use proves this limiting mind-set. Does either phrase sound familiar?
I don’t have time.
Or, “I’m too busy.” I’m embarrassed to admit that I use this phrase every day. For example, my daughter asks me to cuddle with her a few times a week. Most of the time I’m too busy. I have dishes to wash. I have a report to complete. I have to practice for a workshop the next day. Yep, I do not have time.
How absurd! Of course, I have time. Everyone has time. In fact, we all have the same amount of time every single day. We cannot acquire it nor control it. Time doesn’t change. It is constant. What does change, however, are our priorities. So what I should have told my daughter is, “Sorry. I do have time, but not for you. My time right now is better spent washing crusty dishes than cuddling in bed with you for a few minutes.” Well, perhaps honesty is not the best policy here. But essentially that’s what “I don’t have time” means.
This limiting belief keeps us from taking full responsibility for our choices. It’s not my fault. It’s time’s fault. Sadly, we don’t show honor and respect for those people and things that are most important to us when we don’t make them priorities.
I don’t know how to….
Yes, there are legitimate reasons why we lack knowledge (i.e., I don’t know html code, and I don’t want to!). We can never know all there is to know. On the other hand, we often use this language as an excuse to remain stuck. After all, how can we be responsible if we are ignorant? We give ourselves an easy way out.
In my coaching work, business owners have told me that they don’t know how to increase their sales, Christians have explained they don’t know how to control their anger, and middle-aged women have expressed that they don’t know what they want in their second phase of life. That’s not the issue. The issue is when lack of knowledge leads to ineffectiveness, apathy, or despondency. We are responsible for finding out what we need to know, for doing the research, for praying and seeking God’s direction, and for enlisting others’ help.
Our limiting beliefs intrude into our thoughts every day. Not only do they limit our choices, but they limit what God can do through us. The key is to look behind these fallacies to see the truth that exists: We are ultimately responsible for the lives we lead.
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