Do you have a favorite artist? Mine is Larnelle Harris. I have all his songs and absolutely adore his melodies and lyrics. One of my all time bests of Larnelle is ‘Beyond All The Limits’. In it he sings, ‘Beyond all the limits is where I find You…’
As I’m typing this part of the post, I’m several thousand feet above sea level, aboard my flight from Enugu where I live, to Lagos; en route to my spring missions tour of the US. And as I write, I’m listening to Larnelle —thinking about the limits in my own life that I’m currently pushing at.
You see, as I shared in my very first post of this year —A Formula For Bliss — I resolved this year to indulge myself in my bliss-creating activities; mainly to continue to express my thoughts in a manner that is devoid of any attempt to persuade or convince anyone. I think I noted then that, among other things, this would entail lots of travelling.
And that’s exactly where my limits take their roots.
I hate to travel; I hate to be separated from my biological family for even a few hours. I love being a dad. I enjoy it; and I think I’m pretty good at it. I love my family, and I know they love me as well; I can feel the love and the bond almost on a minute by minute basis. The same is true of my spiritual family. We are not many in number, but we share a powerful bond that makes us essentially one. This powerful and intense atmosphere of love means that my home is much more than a comfort or convenient zone for me; it’s like my very life itself. So, when I thought of leaving my family for the current missions tour, my stomach turned sour. And as the moment of departure approached, I actually began to have double minds; seriously. I became heavily depressed at the prospects of the trip.
But that wasn’t all.
There was the issue of flying— you know, getting into that mammoth box and being thrust thousands of feet into the skies all in the name of flying. Let me admit here that getting into an airplane and heading up into the skies scares the living daylights out of me. When you look at me on the outside, smiling confidently and in that secure all-knowing manner, you would never imagine what’s going on in my mind. Because there I’m busy chastising myself, wondering how in the world I let myself get into this thing again.
I pray that the Lord would read this present post, have mercy on me, and take away this fear of flying from my heart; because it’s very real, and sometimes embarrassing. For instance, when I need to get up to use the rest room during the long international flights, I’m sandwiched between having to either relieve myself on my seat, or walk to the rest room with wobbling feet in full view of everyone! It’s just crazy, and I don’t think you have any idea how terrifying this thing is to me.
So, as my flight date neared, I lay down on my bed, contemplating the ordeal ahead of me, and whispering “Lord, if it be thy will, let this cup…”
Yet, with all these terrifying thoughts and images going through my mind, I continued to make plans for my trip. That’s pushing the limits. As I continued to schedule one event after another, one meeting after another, from one city to the next, I was practically pushing through my limits. I didn’t think I had another viable option. I went on with booking my various hotels and making payments for other aspects of the journey. And as the D-day drew near to a few hours away, I pushed myself to pack my things for the journey.
Then came the worst part of it all — the goodbye moment. Whatever hell is, I doubt it even comes close to the agony of saying goodbye to my family for a trip. Yet, I hid the tears and put up a bold and smiling front for the benefit of others. That’s pushing the limits.
Finally, when I boarded the very first flight of the trip, and as the aircraft began what was for me a very terrifying ascent into the skies, I could literarily feel the reality of my situation—I was pushing against all the limiting forces of my life; pushing to new levels of expertise, efficiency, growth, fruitfulness, and bliss.
One fact of life is that, regardless of your particular aspirations and set of circumstances, you would definitely need to pierce through your worst nightmares — as in, persevere through them —in order to reach your wonderland; in order to enjoy your bliss. Otherwise, I doubt anyone would be able to enjoy high levels of fruitfulness and bliss.
I choose to push beyond all my limits —no matter how terrifying and painful they may be. I want to realize more and more of all that I’m capable of. I want to explore all of the Lords possibilities for my life. Thankfully, I’m driven to do so by a force within that overwhelms all my phobias, and compels me to push higher and higher.
Aboard that transatlantic 12-hr flight, instead of focusing on my flying phobias, and the agony of parting from my family, I pulled out my iPad and began to write down my experiences; which proved to be quite cathartic. This, again, amounted to pushing the limits.
Eventually, we made a smooth landing in Houston Texas. As I walked to board my connecting flight to Tulsa, my eyes were drawn to a signage. On it was boldly written the words NO GROWTH, NO GLORY. And as you can imagine, in the light of where I was then, it felt so surreal—so uncannily surreal.
Arriving in Tulsa, my first port of call, I was picked up by my host, a dear friend of mine. After I had met with his wonderful family and other friends, and as we reviewed the various opportunities in front of me — opportunities to realize more of myself and be a blessing to tens of thousands of hungry souls across various cities of the United State— I paused to relish the awareness that, after all, pushing through all those nightmares was the right call.
Be it in your ministry, your relationships, your career, or your business, higher levels of expertise, efficiency, effectiveness, order, beauty, fruitfulness, and productivity beckon. I invite you, if you can, to join me as I press deeper, forward, and higher to experience my bliss. Let’s push the limits.
Have a blissful week!