Few of us have enjoyed the restriction under which we have lived during 2020. Even when we understand the need for “social distancing,” washing our hands and avoiding contacts with people who do not live in our immediate family circles, there are feelings which we do not enjoy when our activities are limited. As one neighbor said, “I’m tired of feeling like a prisoner in my own home.”

The pandemic with which we struggle is far from over. The question we face is, how do we live without limits in this new year? Just a year ago, when I finished the manuscript for my most recent book, my editorial team helped me decide to entitle it, “Living Without Limits.” If I had written it in 2020, the title might have been “Living with Limits!” But none of us can predict the future!

I have been seeking ways to think about the process of overcoming the circumstances instead of allowing them to squeeze us into uncomfortable restrictions. As I sought the guidance of Scripture, the words from Paul’s letter to the Romans stood out. Chapter 12:1-2 in the Message (a modern paraphrase) puts it this way:

“So, here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life — place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Do not become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it.”

Here is what I learn from Paul’s words:

You are responsible for your own health. It is time to pray, trusting God to keep you alert to those things you should avoid and asking him not only for healing energy but also wise choices in your daily life.

Practice being grateful for your health. As good as they are, hospitals are not the place to “hang out” right now. Begin each day finding a way to be grateful you have not contracted disease.

Protect your health by following good health initiatives — exercise as appropriate to your age and physical condition.

Pursue positive and spiritual goals for daily living. If you continually think about negative things, the results will be discouragement, disappointment, even depression.

Years ago, I met Norman Vincent Peale, the author of the Positive Thinking movement. He said a lot of things during our conversation, but one has been with me for more than 40 years: “Your life is God’s gift to you; what you do with it is your gift to God.” If you wrap yourself in the limits of your own thinking, you will remain in that prison. If you use this year to live out the truth that Paul wrote and that Dr. Peale said, you will find the freedom that comes with living without limits!

Happy New Year! Positive new thoughts!

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Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as President of the International Family Foundation and lives in Canton. His most recent book, “Living Without Limits,” was published in late 2019 and is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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