Like most book lovers, I’ve read many books that had a positive impact on my life. But if I had to narrow down the list and select the books that profoundly changed my thinking and the way I have lived my life, then the list quickly becomes much shorter.
There are two books by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. that would definitely be on my list – Margin and The Overload Syndrome. I have mentioned both of them before in other posts and they are also in the list I made of My Favorite Simple Living Books.
The subtitle of Margin is Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. It was followed by The Overload Syndrome which carries the subtitle of Learning to Live Within Your Limits. Both are practical, encouraging books that highlight the reality of who we are and how God created us.
Limits Are God’s Idea
I am not overstating it when I say that The Overload Syndrome changed my thinking about limitations and what it means to do enough. I am so thankful the Lord led me to it. It truly changed my life in a freeing way and I can’t say that about too many books.
The idea of the reality and importance of how we think about limits are shown in a few quotes from The Overload Syndrome.
Limits were God’s intention from the beginning. He decided early on that limits were not only good but necessary. It was His way of preempting any ambiguity about who is God and who is not. He is the Creator – the One without limits. We are the created – the ones with limits.
For some, to say that we have limits seems to limit God. But saying that we have limits in no way suggests that God has limits. And to say that all the spiritual work in the kingdom must be done with human effort misses the point of God’s power altogether. It is very freeing to realize that God has the resources to get the job done, and that rest is still a part of His will for us. Conversely, it is lack of faith – coupled with an inadequate view of God – to think that we have to work twenty-hour days to get everything done. Far from dishonoring God by acknowledging human limits, it dishonors Him to deny limits. It insults His creation wisdom.
God does not have to depend on human exhaustion to get His work done. God is not so desperate for resources to accomplish His purposes that we have to abandon the raising of our children in order to accommodate Him. God is not so despairing of where to turn next that He has to ask us to go without sleep five nights in a row. Chronic overloading is not a spiritual prerequisite for authentic Christianity. Quite the contrary, overloading is often what we do when we forget who God is.
I hope you find these thoughts both encouraging and freeing.