Reaching our potential within our capacity
I used to think that sacrifice and service to God meant pushing myself beyond my capacity. I would do things that frazzled my nerves and even compromised my own best judgment because I thought that's what exerting myself in the path of God meant. Now I see that service takes place within the bounds of our capacity and to deny this is to act foolishly and even arrogantly. By assuming that I can do anything and everything for God, I am acting as if I am perfect. But I am not. I am just a man, an imperfect man at that. I need to accept my limitations, constantly challenge them but also acknowledge that they are there.
When it comes to trying to do too much, this can be a manifestation of the insistent self, the self that demands that its will is done, that it proves itself. When I over-exert myself to get things done, in a sense, my will is trying to defeat God's Will. God has willed our capacity to be as it is. He wants us to live to the full of our capacity, not beyond it. So, when I try too hard at something, I am insisting that my will be done. We can sense when we are reaching the bounds of our capacity: we get tired, sick, hungry, thirsty or stressed. Of course, we shouldn't stop at the first sign of these symptoms. But we should pay attention to them so that tiredness doesn't turn into exhaustion or stress into a nervous breakdown.
To live to our capacity, we need to know and be honest with ourselves. We also need to love and be compassionate with ourselves while still trying to challenge ourselves. Like a parent who wants their child to grow, mature and reach their potential, we too need to be firm but loving parents to ourselves.