Unlimited Potential and Limited Bodies

Today I was listening to an interview on the radio, and heard an intriguing quote. I don’t remember the exact words, but the sentiment (as I interpreted it) was “I get angry sometimes about the limitations of my body.”

Now, I came in late to the interview, but I don’t believe he was talking about any sort of disability, unless you count geek in that category. The thought got me thinking. It is frustrating sometimes, even when we’re at the peak of health and wellness, to deal with what you can’t do.

I’d like to have a decent enough voice to be able to sing in church. Actually, I’d like to have a beautiful voice that brings people to tears. But I’d settle for decent.

AdobeStock_152704239 smallI’d like to have some athletic ability. I mean, a tiny amount. I honestly don’t know why that eluded me, but the reality is I have no upper body strength. Never have. Never could do a pull-up, push up or throw a ball. I tried and tried and at various points in my life I’ve worked to build muscle tone, but it’s as if physiologically that’s not possible.

That lack of athleticism hurt me growing up. When I was in fourth grade, we had mandatory volleyball games during lunch (yes, mandatory, during what should have been free time. I never understood their logic). I was horrifically bad at volleyball, and the other team would take advantage and shoot the ball right at me, laughing and calling me names. I’d end up bruised and crying, and all the teachers could say was, “try harder.”

Eventually, they stopped this insanity, but not before I was traumatized. It was like being bullied, but organized, endorsed bullying. It did nothing for me socially, and I was already on the outside because I took some of my classes with the students a grade ahead of me. I did have friends, but I was far from popular.

It’s important to note here I wasn’t overweight as a child, nor was I sedentary. I just was no good at sports.

AdobeStock_159477519 [smallWho would I be today if I were a decent volleyball player or could hit a ball with a bat? It shaped part of who I am, and it’s a direct result of the limitations of my body. My mind wants to do it, but my body won’t allow it.

I’ve never thought of it that way. We are confined, in a way.

Yet in another way, we are liberated. We are free to pursue those things we are good at, because we aren’t distracted by having more talent than we know what to do with. Okay, that’s a bit laughable to say. But would I be writing if I could play a fair game of tennis or sing in the choir? Certainly not as much.

That’s not to say I don’t get out and do the physical activity my body was made for, like taking long walks.

I don’t feel any anger toward my body for limiting me, but I was intrigued by the idea that something we have no control over controls us so absolutely. It affects our actions, our choices, our emotions…and while we can tone it up and color our hair, even go for plastic surgery, we are ultimately limited.

AdobeStock_112894681 [Converted]Will those limits exist in the next life? I don’t know. Will we fulfill all our potential if and when we have the full set of tools to do so?

Just another thought to ponder.

Image Credits: © geosap — stock.adobe.com


9 Replies to “Unlimited Potential and Limited Bodies”

  1. As I read your post, I was thinking of that exact statement – just last week I announced, “My body is betraying me!” With the aging process, I’m getting frustrated to lose abilities I once had. I am working on solving my current issues through dietary changes but it becomes frustrating when we want our body to cooperate!
    Thank you for your thoughtful post – as all of yours are!
    By the way, I also have little upper body strength and could never run. I can swim well, though. So we find our abilities and nurture them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swimming is good 🙂 . I avoided writing about this with a view toward aging (I’ve written enough on that topic!), but that’s true enough. I’m struggling with the fact that it takes so little now to gain weight and so much to lose it. It’s bizarre! Our bodies force us into an unfortunate reality in so many ways.


  2. Hi Belinda,

    they say that 95% is exercise and 5% is talent.I believe that is so true. I was very thin in my youth,my spine was deformed,and I started with gym .The coach told me “Please, go home,you can break your hands here”. But I managed to build my body,because I had a strong motive. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ben, I love stories like yours, because they tell us not to accept our limitations. Some are real, some are not. We all know students who aren’t the smartest or most gifted, but they study and study and get better grades than their more intellectual peers. I tried and tried to be a semi-decent volleyball or softball player, and it never happened. Perhaps my motivation wasn’t properly focused, or perhaps physical limitations were just too strong. Regardless, I focused my energies on areas that did work for me, and I’m happy with the results. Again, thank you for sharing your story. I can picture the boy who wouldn’t give up and it makes me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

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