Warning Signs. 

There’s a popular saying that, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” That’s not a cliché, there’s truth to this statement. Because if we’re too busy that we neglect the things and people that really matter to us, then we make the devil’s job to steal, kill and destroy so much easier (John 10:10).

Our busyness can set us on a path that wreaks havoc in our lives, simply because we ignore and overlook the warning signs all around us. Warning signs that our body gives us when we’ve reached or exceeded our limits and capacity.

I bet like me, most of us think we’re strong and can handle the crazy and chaotic life of busyness. If you ignore the warning signs, then you’ll learn the hard way.

Lack of Care. 

Several years ago, when I was in college, my first car given to me by my Dad was a hand-me-down small red Chevrolet sedan that my older sister had passed down to me. I knew nothing about taking care of a car and drove the car for several months without ever taking the car for a maintenance checkup. Which involves an oil change, and several other things that are done to restore the car’s capacity to function optimally.

One day, while driving home from school, the car went into overdrive. It smelled like something was burning and I didn’t know what it was. Through the side rear view mirror, I saw black fumes of smoke oozing from the exhaust pipes. By this time, the car had began making a loud and unusual noise that couldn’t be ignored.

I caught the blank stares of other cars that drove by on the highway and I knew something was wrong but kept on driving anyway, hoping I could make it home. That never happened because a few minutes later, there was a loud explosion that blew up the front cover of the car open and brought my car to a complete stop in the middle of the highway. A friend of mine was in the car with me and we were both traumatized. Thank God we were both unharmed by the incident.

The Best We Can Be. 

This story with my car oddly reminds me of how neglecting to care for myself led to burnout in my life years later. Just like a car, we need to take care of ourselves in order to function at our best capacity.

Contrary to what many of us may think, we all have limits. We can’t do it all nor should we. We’re not superwoman!

Embracing our personal capacity frees us to be the best we can be.

In Exodus 18:17-23, Moses who had been called and chosen by God to lead the Israelites out from under the oppression of the Egyptians, experienced capacity overload. Because the assignment was too great for him to handle it all alone.

So Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law gave him some wise advice. To teach, instruct and delegate some of the responsibilities to other capable and trustworthy men. This allowed Moses to live out his calling and carry out his assignment as best as he could.

So how do we know when we are reaching out limits?

There are signs our body gives us if we’re paying attention. Signs that may look different for each of us. The warning signs may be physical, emotional, relational or spiritual. Unfortunately, we usually learn that we’ve exceeded our capacity the hard way.

Signs You Have Exceeded Your Capacity.

#1: Lack of Self-Care – This is probably one of the first things we neglect when we’re too busy. When we operate at overcapacity, we rarely have time for ourselves and for self-care. Taking care of yourself is not selfish.

#2: Out of Control Emotions – When we can no longer control our emotions and are short-tempered, anxious, irritable, emotional swings, restless, overwhelmed and depressed. These are all signs that we’re overcapacity because of the out of control demands we put on ourselves.

#3: Neglecting Important Relationships – Do you feel as if your relationships suffer because you’re too busy to invest time with your husband, children, family, friends, colleagues? Then take a step back to invest more in meaningful relationships.

#4: Neglecting God – When life is too busy that I start skipping my personal time with God or Church all together, then that’s a sign that I need to make some changes. Because staying connected to God is what keeps me operating within my capacity.

#5: Illness – Chronic stress and rest deficit affects our body and suppresses our immune system. When our body’s defense system against illness is down because we’re stressed, we become susceptible to getting sick. Frequent illness can be sign that something is not right.

#6: Self-Medicating – When we’re stressed, self-medicating is a common response. Self-medicating could be overindulging in food, excessive exercise, too many hours on social media, binge watching television etc. This a serious warning sign.

#7: Sleep Disturbance – According to the National Sleep Foundation, eight million American struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep each night. Many have reported that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities. This is an epidemic in today’s culture and is a sign that we live in a society that is overworked, overspent and overcapacity.

God’s Design.

All of these warning signs are not meant to beat us up. They’re simply clues that we’re off balance and need to make some changes where necessary. So that we can operate within our best capacity.

Having a limited capacity is not a flaw in our character. God made us by his design with limitations for a purpose. So that we recognize our need for him and others. There’s a reason why God places other people in our lives. We’re not meant to do it all alone.

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