‘Kris you have such incredible capacity’.
I shuddered internally at this compliment. On the outside I smiled and said ‘thanks so much’ (as social convention says I should). My internal voice was exhaling its own monologue. The tone of the monologue mimicked the frustrated sigh that an old woman might make when trying to get up from a chair. My invisible monologue went something like this…
Well… if I have a huge capacity (and believe me it doesn’t feel that way at times), the cost of enlarging my capacity has been constant and expensive. And what even IS this thing called capacity? Why do we speak of this invisible commodity with such admiration and desire? Maybe I’m just crazy, have bad boundaries, and can’t say ‘NO’ to opportunity.
And so I began to think… what is this thing we call capacity?
Capacity is hard to define and a concept that we don’t often talk about. When capacity comes up in conversation, everyone seems to want it but no one really says what it is.
So here’s a few thoughts on capacity:
1. Capacity…what isn’t it?
It may be simpler to tell you what capacity isn’t before I discuss what it is.
Capacity is NOT how much you do.
As a Pastor and Coach, I have come across many people over the years who equate busy-ness with a large capacity. People with capacity may be busy but there is an intention and grace attached to the load they carry. Busy does not equal large capacity. Being busy is easy, acquiring capacity is hard.
2. Is Capacity given or acquired?
Capacity is both given AND acquired.
Let’s suppose for a moment that the Talents given out in the ‘Parable of the Talents’ (Matthew 25:14-30) represent a person’s capacity. The Master gave to each person a certain measure.
“To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” (Matthew 25:15)
After receiving from the Master, it was then up to the individual to choose what they did with what they were given. The Master never rebuked his servant for only having one talent (v 26 – 29); he rebuked the servant for not taking steps to bring increase to what he was given.
Our God-given capacity is gifted to us with the potential and expectation of increase. To acquire capacity you have to take the capacity you are given and make intentional decisions to acquire more. The price of acquisition is opportunity and willingness, faith and risk, grace and discipline.
3. So what is capacity then?
Capacity is a willingness to position your inner life in an intentional state of increase. This increase is not restricted to physical measurements of output (what I am doing) but is equally linked to your internal growth (who I am).
Capacity manifests in your ability to be load-bearing and fruitful across the landscape of your life, in each season of your life and in INCREASING measure.
The challenge before us lies in this question:
How willing are we to pay the personal price required for an ongoing increase in our capacity?
(Stay tuned for part 2…)
Love you and believe in you.