Have you ever heard of the phrase, “limiting beliefs?”

The first time Shelby heard that phrase, she thought it was a little bit woo-woo. But then her husband did a limiting beliefs exercise back in November 2015, and—get this—it literally changed their lives.

Here’s why: Limiting beliefs are, well, limiting. They hedge in the brain from considering certain possibilities altogether.

Limiting beliefs are not always harmful. For instance: one limiting belief you may have is that, if you jump off your roof, you won’t be able to fly. That’s a sound limiting belief. You’re legitimately not equipped to fly, and to consider jumping off of your roof without a good gameplan for landing on the ground is actually pretty dangerous. That limiting belief was encoded into your brain through hundreds of experiments with jumping off of various objects when you were a kid, and then finding that the force of gravity was a constant that you’d have to grapple with for the rest of your life.

But some limiting beliefs are not based on unchangeable realities, such as the force of gravity. Some limiting beliefs are present because of fear, guilt, or doctrinal error (and usually a mixture of the three).

Learning from the Wright Brothers

Before the advent of airplanes, many people believed that humans shouldn’t fly. That is an example of an unhealthy limiting belief. Fear said that any attempts to build flying machines were far too dangerous, guilt said humans don’t deserve that kind of freedom, and doctrinal error said that if God wanted humans to fly, He would’ve attached wings to their body!

Confidence studied the flying power God endowed to the birds, knowing we are worth more to God than the sparrow.

A clean conscience considered the wildly abundant possibilities of progress.

Bravery calculated risks and found ways to overcome barriers.

The Wright Brothers were deeply impacted by the Word of God, professed Christ from a young age, and reportedly lived out a Christian ethic. They did not let limiting beliefs hedge their brains in from considering the possibilities of controlled, sustained flight. They seemed to have a laser focus on their core calling, diligently studying God’s creative solutions for endowing birds with flight, humbly dividing labor according to their individual strengths, patiently moving forward, and ultimately overcoming every obstacle between themselves and the skies.

They pioneered a technology that surpassed all of the expectations of their contemporaries, revolutionized global transportation and industry, laid the foundations for future generations of engineers, and ultimately have been used to spread the Gospel in unreached communities as well as rescue and radically improve countless lives.

It’s true that the secondary agents of progress are not always seeking the glory of God. Yet an even more profound truth is that since Christ took charge of this planet, it’s a whole new world that’s burgeoning with hope, and rapidly advancing.

And if you’re a child of God, truly, there are no limits on your personal growth. Your heart to serve others by making positive change in their lives was put there by the God of the Universe. He has zealously undertaken to fill up every deficit within you with the overflow of His grace, so that your work can be sacred and effectual in more ways than you can imagine. Sanctification has serious practical implications. So when it comes to redeeming the time and making an impact, what are you waiting for?

Next week, we’ll be sharing the exact Limiting Beliefs Reversal journaling exercise that Kyle did that marked a turning point in the Shepherds’ lives. Since then, Shelby has done this same exercise at pivotal moments in her life, when she needed radical clarity so she could boldly move forward in the things that mattered most.

In preparation for that, take time to pull out your planner and jot down a bullet-point list in response to this question: What are the limiting beliefs holding you back from getting serious about your core calling?


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