I recently devoured a book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It made me think A LOT and grow in the days after reading it so I want to share with you what I learned. The premise of the book is that we all have an Upper Limit Problem where we cap ourselves in some way, not allowing contentment to stay for longer than we have tolerance for.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:7 that we are to have peace that transcends understanding. How long do you let peace reign before you mess it up with your worries and sabotaging, shameful behavior?
Hendricks’ says we are all self-sabotaging our own joy in a variety of ways.
When things are going well in a relationship, sometimes people pick fights to sabotage. The bible says in James 1:19 that we are to be slow to anger. I know that when things are going too good for too long I am so tempted to find something to get annoyed about because of my discomfort around things feeling too good for too long. It’s so backwards! I should be enjoying the good and staying calm and compassionate, but, Hendricks’ says, we all have our own inner thermostat that goes off when we have reached our upper limit for how much abundance, love and success we can receive before we need to do something to ruin it and bring us back to our comfort zone.
We can also limit ourselves because we are afraid that if we shine, someone else’s feelings will get hurt. Jude starts his letter in the Bible saying, “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” How many of us are actually believing that we can have abundance in these areas and what are we doing to limit the abundance that is ours to receive from our loving, compassionate, generous Lord?
Others of us are limiting our own positive growth because we have an old belief that we aren’t good enough or if we grow into what makes us truly happy that we will be abandoned or alone. Yet God says he will never leave or abandon us. NEVER!! How many of us question whether He is with us thus stirring up loneliness, insecurity and fear? I know I do it sometimes!
Worry can be a way of limiting ourselves as well. He says that 99 percent of the things we worry about don’t come true and the 1 percent that do come true we can’t control but we can creatively deal with them. Since reading the book, I have been observing myself having a great time and then some awful “what if” floats through my brain. Since learning that this is a form of self sabotaging, I have been more mindful to let it go and refocus on the good, letting myself experience it deeper and longer.
I’m done allowing myself to limit the peace and love God has for me. Hendricks even goes so far to say that some of us can use getting sick as a form of creating an upper limit. I’m still skeptical about this one but I’m willing to explore it! Even last night, I had a headache, and experimented with the possibility that I was upper limiting myself. As soon as I made the connection, I instantly was able to receive comfort from God and my husband and the headache went away as I let in the beautiful goodness of the moment. It was pretty cool!!
The other topic Hendricks talks about in the book are the different zones we live in. There is the zone of incompetence where we don’t want to waste too much time. If we aren’t good at it and can delegate to someone who is, why not do that? Because we are upper limiting! There is also the zone of excellence where a lot of us stay because we are good at what we are doing and are getting compensated for it. However, it can also be a complacent place that isn’t actually what our purpose is supposed to be. Just because we are competent and good at something, even getting rewarded for it, doesn’t mean there isn’t more. The zone of genius, he says, is where we should all be aiming for and if we aren’t living in that zone then we most likely have an upper limit problem.
What do you really want to do with your life and what are all the excuses (fears) you are making for not taking action on that? For me, getting detailed about what my zone of genius is has been the hardest part. Hendricks proposes some questions: What do you love doing? What work could you do for hours without getting bored? Perhaps for some of you, you can answer this question easily. For me, I don’t know whether counseling is my zone of excellence or my zone of genius which is making me get introspective and ask myself hard questions. He says to get super specific, and keep getting clearer and clearer about it, using Russian nesting dolls as a metaphor he says you need to get to the baby in the center. Let’s say counseling is my zone of genius, then the part I love is when I can quickly see the problem, where we are headed and what we need to do to get there while paying attention to the holy spirit’s promptings within me. When the hours fly by at work (or outside of work), I am deep in a corner of someone’s trauma unlocking negative beliefs and creating space for feelings to flow so that their present day lives can have more freedom, peace and joy.
I have some more work to do around this, but I wanted to share this new thing I learned about with you. So…. your turn…..How are you upper limiting yourself? Can you commit to figuring out what your “zone of genius” is and how you can make leaps of bravery out of your comfort zone towards a life that has no upper limit? I have noticed a shift inside of myself and in my relationships where I can sustain longer and longer periods of positivity, contentment and peace without ruining it with subconscious self sabotaging. Is learning to grow your tolerance for feeling good something you want to work on too? How long and how much are you allowed to feel good before you must limit it? Let me know if you’d like to work on your upper limit problems!