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Words by VLB

Capacity (hello again!)


noun: the maximum amount that something can contain.

Hello blog world. It's been a minute.

Aside from a quick post for World Mental Health Day, I haven't been very present on this site for the past month or so. The break wasn't intentional like I wish it was; there was simply not enough time in the day to do all I wanted to get done.

I wish I could do it all, that I could have the social life and the grades and work out routine and meal-prep and social media and sleep and influence all at once - but I've learned I wasn't built for that kind of bandwidth. After years and years of telling myself I could do "anything I put my mind to," I've recently learned that, no, I actually can't. I know that might sound a little harsh for you go-getters out there, but hang with me.

As evidenced by my recent lack of writing (and lack of many other things), I am a finite human with limited capacity. And that is okay. I've learned that I cannot sustain an overflowing schedule and remain emotionally, physically, spiritually healthy.

Unfortunately, I had to learn about my capacity the hard way. About this time last year, I was living life at 1,000 miles per hour. I wanted to be the perfect student, leader, daughter, sister, Christian, friend, sorority member...all the things. I placed my worth in my productivity, and I began to believe I was only valuable when my to-do list was complete. I prioritized this picture of perfection over rest and self-care, too proud to admit I was exhausted and too afraid to let others down. I thought I could be everything to everyone, but the striving only created a life I couldn't sustain. After a few months, it all caught up to me and I reached the point of burnout.

If you've been there, you know - the high of thinking you can do it all is not worth the crash. After all of last year's chaos, I crashed long and hard. I felt so deeply depleted and empty that I promised myself I'd never do that again.

Since that season of burnout, I've started confronting my limited capacity. It hasn't been easy on my pride, but I've found it freeing to accept the truth that God is the only one who can do it all. These days, I'm trying to let God be God while I refine my role as a human.

My desires for productivity and impact are not inherently bad, but the trouble comes when I think I can do it all alone. When busy seasons become too much for our human hearts to handle, I believe God restores our weary souls with His presence and His people. I don't want to miss out on those God-given gifts in my attempts to be invincible.

I really believe that God gives us the power to accomplish more than we could ever dream when we are in partnership with him; but I don't think he wants us on the verge of crumbling while doing so. I think God wants to meet us in our place of need, to intercede in our inability, and to provide us moments of rest in the midst of chaos.

When I admit that my ability is often smaller than my ambition, I allow myself freedom to rest. And then, re-energized by the things that fill me up, I can work from a healthy place. It's the difference between working from a place of rest and working to earn rest.

I believe that real rest is available to each and every person who admits their limits. Once we release ourselves from the expectation of being without capacity, we begin the journey of choosing what is most important to us and challenging ourselves to act accordingly.

For me personally, admitting my capacity was the first step toward living in true peace even with a jam-packed schedule. Acknowledging that we can't be all things to all people isn't shameful; it frees us up to enjoy God's gifts of comfort and encouragement in a busy season. While I'm bummed I didn't write much over the last month, I'm moving forward from a place of rest and rejuvenation.

So, my challenge to you is this: ask yourself what you really need today. If it involves slowing down and taking a moment to recharge, accept your weariness instead of pushing for perfection. We weren't meant to live at 1,000 miles per hour.

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