You're capable of more than you know.
“I told you that I was less interested in how you feel and more interested in who you want to be.” -Eric Greitens
There’s an old story about a man making his wobbly way home from a bar one dark, rainy night attempting to take a shortcut by walking through a cemetery. Unbeknownst to him, a fresh grave had been dug in anticipation of an upcoming funeral. He fell into the muddy, slippery, hole.
At first there was panic. He jumped and clawed at the mud trying to get out, but to no avail. Finally he sat down in the corner and waited for daylight.
An hour or so later another man also made his wobbly way home from a bar. I have no idea if he came from the same bar as man number one, but he did choose the same shortcut. He fell into the same hole and for a moment was also powered by panic. He fought to get out, but just like his predecessor, he eventually tired and unaware he wasn’t alone in the hole, simply stood staring up in the rain trying to figure out what to do next.
It was at this precise moment that man number one, who had remained silent and unnoticed, spoke out of the spooky darkness, “You may as well give up. You’ll never get out of here,” he said calmly.
The story ends with one simple sentence fragment, “But he did.”
The moral of the story is properly motivated we are all capable of more than we know.
You can handle and consequently accomplish more than you think you can.
I remember a meeting that took place many years ago with my good friend and mentor, John Nordstram. John is not only an ordained minister, but also clinical counselor. Let me recommend every leader have a minister and a clinical counselor as a friend.
The meeting took place during a difficult season just prior to a breakthrough. Of course, I didn’t know the breakthrough was coming at the time. I asked to meet with John because I was tired, wounded, and ready to quit.
John sat silently but listened intently as I poured out my tale of woe. After listening to my struggle and whine, he sat back in his chair and looked at me.
The silence and the look got uncomfortable quickly. I wanted to know what he was thinking.
“Well,” I said, hoping for emotional salve for my tender ego, “what do you think?”
He leaned forward and I’ll never forget his response. “I don’t have any easy answers,” he said, but I did become aware of how I need to pray for you.”
It wasn’t salve, but I’d take it. “How is that?” I asked.
“I’m asking God to enlarge your capacity for pain,” he said.
He continued, “Brian, I’ve known you for a long time. I’ve heard your dreams and the call you believe God has placed in your heart, and I believe in you. But if you can’t handle pain, if this is all it’s going to take to defeat you, well... you’re through. So, I’m asking God to expand your capacity for pain so that the call and the dreams will live!”
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but was exactly what I needed to realize.
The vision train doesn’t run solely on strong rails, but most often on weak rails getting stronger.
You know this. You’ve already bore up under more pressure than you thought you could or you wouldn’t be where you are. There’s still more in you than you realize.
Remember the promise:
“The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.” (Deuteronomy 33:25)
Don’t quit because you don’t think you can continue. You’re stronger than you think you are. Peace.