How Accepting My Limitations Has Brought Me Peace.

“You keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” ~ Isaiah 26:3

As someone who has struggled with anxiety most of my life, this verse used to bring me a sense of despair. I felt despair because no matter how much I fought to stay my mind on God, I couldn’t. I was stricken by fear and anxiety and, as part of this struggle, I believed that for some reason, this part of God’s Word, was not for me. I would never have perfect peace. I trusted God, but there was something wrong with me or I was not enough because my mind didn’t get better.

{Side note: Only after the birth of our son, when my anxiety came on in full force as part of postnatal depression, did I understand that I had an illness and my struggles were not something I could just grow out of or even have enough faith to be healed from.} 

But as I speed along towards my thirtieth birthday, I see now that this verse is not about anxiety really at all, nor is it offering some sort of solution from an anxious mind. Yes, anxiety does lessen when we place our trust in God over everything and in every moment of anxious need. But, anxiety can be an illness for some and in such cases, only medicine and therapy can help a person get through and get help.

No, an aspect I didn’t understand about this verse in my younger days was this:

Peace comes when we accept the way God has established things in this world, and peace keeps our hearts and minds as we live in thankful and joyful submission to his perfect ways.

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Something our world doesn’t understand anymore, but which it did for centuries, is that there is a way the world works best; a way which is ordered, which has a beautiful harmony of rule, submission and union. Our world has rejected terms like authority and submission because they aren’t egalitarian enough; they confine, they limit, they are the “enemies of freedom”. But, unwillingly, in rejecting this way of order, our world has lost the key to true freedom.

And what is true freedom? Living in submission to the will of God.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so at the proper time he will exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6

Who knew that humbling, submitting and obeying could lead to exaltation and honour? But, you know,this is what the world has forgotten. And women, I believe, are paying an enormous price.

There is something called a feminine instinct. It is not a result of cultural conditioning. There is a reason why girls nurture, care for, tend to, and check on when they play, just as there is a reason boys save the world, dominate, and burn physical energy in rough and tumble. Of course boys can nurture and girls can play with swords, I’m not eliminating that; but there is a basic instinct to which we are called, a part we follow by nature as well as by nurture. These are “rules” so-to-speak, and part of the order by which God made the world to work.

Birds, for example, have wings. These wings help them fly, but they do not help them swim. Do we see birds rebelling against the rules of their body? Do we see them trying to redefine the function of their wings, trying to find some freedom outside of their limitations? Do we see birds trying to be elephants or elephants trying to be birds?

No. These creatures accept the way they are, they do what they are called to do, they live happily with what they have and function as they were designed to be. Now, we as humans may call a particular part a limitation if we think a creature could be something they are not. But a bird doesn’t know it has a limitation, it is just the gift to fly.

Today, women have cut off their wings. The wings that enabled them to fly – that is, nurture, receive, give, feed, bring life to, uphold, strengthen – were seen as a limitation, a curse. Now, many of our sex are disfigured, seeking the gifts that were given to men. Many have believed the lies of a few.

“The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as a bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird up – up, away from the world, into the sky, into freedom – so the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts, her special calling – wings, in fact, which bear her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Perfect freedom. Perfect peace.

In a few months, I will be thirty. Youth is fading, but not my peace. You see, the older I get and the more I accept my womanhood, the calling that my body and soul demands, the more peace I experience. It is a peace that comes from embracing God’s ways, of believing and seeing with clear eyes that God knows best, and that, as Elisabeth said, he sets no traps.

It’s no trap that you are a woman. And being a woman holds no traps. Trying to be what you are not, however, does. But accepting yourself as female, different from male, brings a peace no activist will find. Let us fully embrace being women then, and stop cutting off our wings. They are what cause us to fly.

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{Affiliate: All excerpts are from Elisabeth Elliot’s Let Me Be a Woman, the book every Christian woman should own and have dear to their heart.}

7 thoughts on “How Accepting My Limitations Has Brought Me Peace.

  1. Sarah…this is SO good! I applaud your boldness to speak the truth… and with love. Truths that we as women constantly need to be reminded of in a world that is rebelling against the rightful order of things and God given functions and tendencies. So beautifully written and muchly needed. Sharing!

  2. Sarah, you spoke the truth boldy from Scripture, and I so appreciate that. That last paragraph really drove it home. Trying to be what we’re not is what traps us, because God designed each of us the way we are for a reason and for our freedom in Christ.
    I cannot tell you how much I love this post (aside from being a huge E.E. fan)! Thank you for saying what needs said in truth.
    I’m featuring this post tomorrow on Tuesday Talk – can you make sure you linked back? Be sure to link with us again tomorrow, and keep on writing truth, sista!

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