It’s important to know your limits–and your strengths

March 2, 2011

Last week, after a long, full day of errands and working in the yard, I was tired and starting to feel a bit achy. My wife made it home a bit after 5:00, which is no big deal until you realize she is an elementary school teacher. Having left the house before 7:00, she was getting home after 5:00. (Folks, for the record, teachers–particularly public school teachers, MORE than earn their [meager] pay–it is NOT a 7-3  job, and they pour their hearts into their students, not to mention vast sums of their own financial resources. Sorry, this is one of my soapboxes)

Anyway, she wanted to get in our Thermospa hot tub. I opened it up, and was surprised to see that the power was off. I went to the basement, opened the switchbox, turned the breaker back on, and went back outside. No power again. Back to the basement, flipped the breaker, waited, and after 20 seconds, it tripped. I did this about three times (why? Did I think it would act differently because I wanted it to?!), and finally called the company.

I talked to a guy named Irwin, who talked me through troubleshooting. After doing what he said, I had pretty well identified that I had a problem with pump #1. I called back to get a service call. What I got was a guy named Ken, who walked me through FURTHER troubleshooting. About 35 minutes later. I realized I had the cover off the electrical panel underneath the hot tub, and was tracing wires here and there. I realized I had the potential to connect electricity and water, and imagined a sound my wife may hear, and come out to find me a crispy critter. I was WAY outside my comfort zone.

“Ken,” I asked, “What do I have to do to get a service call?

“All you have to do is ask,” he said.

“Ken, can I please have a service call?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Roberts.” (I did not bother to tell him that technically, it is DR Roberts.)

They will come to the house sometime tomorrow. As of yesterday afternoon, in four days, the water temperature had dropped 20 degrees. We need to get it fixed, and quick. And I simply do not have the skill set to do the job.

Then there were the phone calls I have received over the last week or so, dealing with friends in former churches who are in a bad way, and they are reaching out to me. There is the email I got last night dealing with a friend’s impending surgery. There is the call I got today that advised me of a soul brother’s mother’s imminent death. There is the conversation I had this morning with a guy who is struggling to be a faithful follower of Jesus, deal with some things that are rubbing him personally, and add a son dealing with terrific addictions, and I began to see a different side of me.

After getting a Doctorate in Preaching, I really wanted to continue to work on and be very good at expositing and proclaiming God’s word. Then I landed in a position that has me preaching less and less. It pushed me to my Mother-in-law’s comment several years ago that she had always seen me in more of a pastoral ministry than a preaching one. As another friend said a couple of years ago in email when I asked what I was good at, “Chuck makes people feel good about themselves.  He is always interested in what is going on with them and that makes people feel better.
Chuck makes bad jokes as well as anyone I know.  And given that, there are always a few good ones mixed in there.
Chuck models a good Christian husband and father.  I can’t think of much in this world that is more important.”

I’m beginning to wonder if I have reached my limits, and am rediscovering what I am good at. Maybe time will tell.

Which begs the question, “What are YOUR limits–and what are your strengths?!”



One Response to “It’s important to know your limits–and your strengths”

  1. Limits are just opportunities to grow and re-evaluate life. It seems that each time I reach a new limit, God is faithful to show me a new way of doing things, all the while, nurturing my frustrated soul. It is people, like you Chuck, that provide that nurturing. I give thanks.

    You are a stalwart beacon, Chuck.


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