Design limits

A guest post from Rich Dixon.


My hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado, is home to an international industrial design firm called the Woodward Company. Their original product was “governors” for all kinds of engines.

Basically, an engine governor constrains speed. To a layperson that’s a buzzkill, but my engineer friends say the governor protects the engine.

The governor assures that the engine operates safely within its design parameters.


We’ve heard a lot recently from state governors about limits and restrictions. We know the restricted freedom, financial disruptions, and social distancing are designed to protect, but they feel like a buzzkill. Even worse, their efforts don’t solve the real problem.

They can’t.

Despite best efforts of political leaders, lots of us feel like we’re speeding out of control. Uncertainty and confusion breed increased levels of stress, anxiety, anger, and fear.


Into the chaos, the Designer speaks words of comfort:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Jesus isn’t a cosmic buzzkill trying to limit our fun. His guidance isn’t heavy or ill-fitting. He simply wants us to operate safely – freely and lightly – within our design parameters.

He’s the Designer. He knows we were meant to operate in “the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Many of us are worried and afraid. We’re tired and worn out.

Maybe this is an opportunity to spend some time with the Designer.