Why is her’s bigger than mine?
I have a friend who homeschools her four kids, runs a blog and a podcast, has regular girls’ nights out, hosts a small group, and is an encouragement to everyone she meets. Her capacity seems so much bigger than mine.
I feel the tension between a world shouting that doing more makes me more valuable and a soul that whispers it’s okay to just be who I am. As I’ve attempted to manage this tension, I’ve realized several truths.
The truth is that our culture puts a high value on being high capacity.
Advertisements tell us to maximize our productivity. Social media asks us to create our best year ever. And other cultural pressures push us to produce at a high-level as parents and partners
We’re told that high-capacity people are of greater value than those of us who live and work at a lower speed…as if our goal should be to exert the most influence and impact per cubic inch of calendar space.
The truth is that I’m not at all happy about my capacity.
I tell myself that I’m not doing enough. I’m a writer who finds herself envious of those writing AND podcasting. I’m a Sunday School volunteer who questions why I’m not teaching AND leading a small group. I’m a speaker who gets jealous when others speak AND run a business.
I see the few things I’m doing—like making time to take a shower—and I wonder why I can’t do what others are pulling off with nary a hair out of place. It leaves me wondering… what’s wrong with me?!?!?
The truth is that capacity is not what I think it is.
The outside world and my inner critic tell me that capacity is what I’m able to do. I’m either high capacity, and I can do a tremendous number of things or I’m low capacity, and I put “make sandwiches” on my to-do list and get excited to check it off. But capacity is more than just logistics management.
Linda Dillow in Calm My Anxious Heart provides a more expansive definition, “Our (capacity) is our physical and emotional being, our abilities, circumstances, roles, and relationships.” (The FCC requires that I tell you that I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means I earn a bit of commission on each sale. But don’t worry there’s no added cost to you!)
Our capacity isn’t just what we’re capable of doing, it’s also how emotionally healthy we are and how we connect with others and God. Capacity takes into account the sum total of who we are, not just the amount of activities we do.
The truth is that God has the only right view of capacity, and He gives us three facts about it.
1. God ordains it.
God assigns our portion and our cup (Psalm 16:5, WEB). Our capability isn’t a matter of time management and logistical coordination but divine providence. He knows what we’re capable of doing, how we’ll feel doing it and who we’re capable of becoming as we rest in Him because He’s the One who gives us our temperament and talents.
2. God doesn’t view it as equivalent to value.
God values us simply because we’re His. Jesus tells us that we’re worth far more than sparrows (Matthew 10:31), and He proved it by dying on the cross (Romans 5:8). The verses extolling our value are abundant, while the verses that say we’re only as valuable as what we produce are nonexistent…because it isn’t true.
3. God isn’t all about action.
God is the God of And. He is grace AND truth, salt AND light. He’s about action AND Sabbath. He’s about our doing good works AND doing them in love. When you feel the tug to believe the lie that you’re only valuable when you do, remember that yes, God, has good works planned out for you to do AND He wants you to rest by quiet waters. He designed you to do both.
The truth is that you must understand your capacity before you can accept it.
So how do we learn about the capacity that Christ has ordained for us? I’ve created a series of capacity-based questions for you to ask yourself in the presence of Christ. Be honest with how you feel about where you are right now.
My high capacity friend does a lot of things that I don’t do, and I’m learning to be okay with that. God wired her differently than He wired me, but that doesn’t mean she’s more loved or valuable. I’m learning how to understand and accept my capacity. Will you join me?