Your Finest Hours

Why it's important to embrace your limitations

Tuesdays are date night.  Last night my wife and I went to see ‘The Finest Hours’.  Don’t worry, there are no plot spoilers here :-).  The setting is important though and is as follows.  One oil freighter is broken in half on the Atlantic Ocean and one Coast Guard officer and his crew is sent out to rescue them against terrible odds.  Let’s leave it at that.  But as we move past the initial setting, here’s a question.  Do you have anything to prove?


When you have something to prove, you have to beware of the tendency to endanger yourself and others.  The problem is danger has become so commonplace, it’s not unusual for people to encounter it in a light manner.  This tendency has crept into every are of our lives in the twentieth century.  It was more obvious when men and women had to leave their caves and there were big hairy monsters with teeth lurking about.  Now that we think we’ve killed all the monsters we’ve become….careless.  The fact is, none of us are immune from danger in our daily travels.  It lurks in your home, on the street and in your workplace.

While we you not be able to avoid danger, you often have the opportunity to avoid life threatening situations.  While heroism is wonderful and something to be grateful for, you don’t have to rescue 32 people from a ship to be a hero.  You can be a hero in your home, at church, in the workplace, etc. just by doing the things well nobody else wants to do.  You don’t have to put yourself or your family in perilous situations just to make a name for yourself.  Heroes are often single Moms, the elderly, your mailman, the guy who owns the mini mart.  They come in all different shapes and sizes and most of the time they appear ordinary.  There’s nothing about them to make them stand out.  Sound familiar?

Speaking of heroes, the biggest hero in the bible was referred to as follows.  “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”  Matthew 13:55  Jesus’ most extraordinary feature was that he looked ordinary.  There was nothing about his appearance that stood out.

Let’s face it, there’s just something extraordinary about being ordinary.  By ordinary, I mean being yourself….being who God made you to be.  The world doesn’t need you to be a watered down version of someone else, it needs you to be a full-blown version of yourself.  Extraordinary people don’t look for ways to be like someone else.  Some of you are really struggling right now because you’re doing a terrible job of trying to be someone else, rather than embracing your own limitations and being yourself.  That’s not meant to be mean.  It’s meant to be freeing!

You don’t have to be like anyone but you.  If you’re not gifted at math, why do you want to be a mathematician?  If you were only meant to change the lives of a handful of people, why are you trying to lead the masses.  If God wants you to be a world class leader, he’ll let you know.  In the meantime, don’t overlook the people in your immediate circle, especially the short ones.

When we repeatedly attempt to exceed our limitations and continue to do so for long periods of time, something happens.  It makes us weary and vulnerable.  It clouds our judgement.  It makes us blind to lurking dangers, especially burnout and chronic fatigue.  Let’s face it, you’re not God and you’re not a machine.

Which leads us up to the photo at the beginning of this post.  May it be a reminder today of the fact you’re human.  Somehow, inherently, I believe that makes you a hero.  It reminds us we all do ‘great’ things from time to time, but for the most part we’re flesh and blood.  Bone of bone.

One of the most heroic things we can do is love and help other human beings.  With all of our limitations.  Because of our limitations.  These are the finest hours.  The times when we feel anything but extraordinary.  The times when we feel inadequate.  When we shine at these times, the world becomes a better place.

It’s not that we shouldn’t rise to the occasion when necessary.  When there are times to enter the fray to save the life of another human being, may God give us the courage.  In the meantime, lets not wait for times to shine and while we’re at it, lets not estimate our own value based on our own or the highlight reel of someone on Facebook or Twitter.  Deal?  You are so much more than the sum of your accomplishments and accolades.

What is one of the most ordinary things you ever did that turned out to make an extraordinary impact?  Please feel free to share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.


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