PROTECT Your Capacity
A big part of growing your capacity is protecting your capacity. That may seem contradictory, but it’s not. Think of the tent analogy we’ve considered before. (If you’re unfamiliar with it check out previous posts or read Isaiah 54:1-3.) A tent (symbolic of my life) actually has walls. It has flaps or curtains that mark out the boundaries of the tent. My body and my time here on this earth are not infinite. I’ve been placed into a world that has limited time and space. I need to learn to steward my capacity.
I believe we CAN have it “all” (whatever that means to you) but, perhaps just not all at once! Not only are there God-given boundaries of space and time upon my life, there are also seasons in my life and different seasons bring different types of fruit. Your priority in one season may look very different to a priority in another season. There are constants, like our faith, our family and friends, etc. But knowing the priority/ies of your current season is essential. (“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3)
Ask yourself, “What is the season I’m in? What is/are my priority/ies in this season?”
Here’s a key thought that has liberated me many a time: Just because I CAN do something, doesn’t mean I SHOULD. I might be able to organize that event better than anyone else could. I might be able to chair that committee at work. I might be able to engage in that sport and really enjoy it. My kids might do really well at soccer AND swimming AND tennis. But that doesn’t mean I/we should be doing ALL these things. Steward your season well. Teach your kids to steward their seasons too.
Author and speaker, Havilah Cunnington says “The only way to have a strong yes is to have a strong no.” What is a strong YES? It’s being able to say “yes” to the things I know are my priority in life and in this season. It’s having the energy, time and resources to get behind these things with my whole heart, body and soul. It’s being able to say “yes” to God and to those I care about when they are asking of me what I was designed to give. But, to be able to say, “yes”, I also must develop my “no“. “No” to the things that keep me from having that strong “yes”.
Some of you need to say “NO” to some things.
Havilah goes on to say that if we don’t learn to say “no”, then our bodies begin to say “no”, our marriages begin to say “no”, etc. Rather than getting to that point, we want to say “no” in a proactive way. So that we can give a hearty “YES”!
I was shocked last year, when in my Bible study I read a passage of scripture revealing that even Jesus had boundaries while He walked this earth!
Mark 6:31 “And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.“
Have you ever been so busy that you forgot to eat!? I have. Too many times! Many times it’s been a busyness with really GOOD things! Meeting the needs of others, working hard and doing a good job. No matter how nobel your cause, you need REST.
Even Jesus needed rest. He knew His disciples needed rest. I need rest. You need rest.
Then, I also noticed a few verses later:
Mark 6:45,46 “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.”
JESUS SENT PEOPLE AWAY! Can you believe it?! He understood there was no end to the need or to the demands upon His time and energy and knew He needed to have his “tank” filled in prayer. I believe the human heart was designed with a tank that can only be filled by relationship and communication with God.
There are other “tanks” on the inside too. Some tanks need to be filled daily, some weekly, some monthly and some annually. Our tanks are filled in many ways and it’s different for everyone. What does it for you? Reading, exercise, social time, nature, hobbies, family time… it could be any number of things that really fill you up on the inside and make you feel alive.
We can only give away what we have, so if we’re trying to live on empty we aren’t the best we can be. I’ve had to learn that making sure I have time to “fill my tank” isn’t selfish – not at all! I’m better for everyone around me when I’m full.
My good friends, Anton and Ang Keyter gave me this great visual. If your life is a teacup, you want to be so full with the things that fill your tank (God, relationships, life-giving experiences) that people don’t have to drink from your cup (your spouse, your kids, your colleagues) because there is such an overflow – they can drink from your saucer.