Are we broken or at capacity?

I’ve been there personally and I get it, but it seems like I encounter people all the time who feel stuck in life and overwhelmed by circumstances. If you probe a little and ask how you can help or what they need, often the reply is something along the lines of “I really need a better job,” or “I just need more money.”  The truth is, often times we could probably use a better job and more pay, but when it comes down to it, a shift in our circumstances isn’t likely going to solve the real problems lurking beneath the surface. 

I’m talking about brokenness in our capacity. Capacity is one of those words with a dual meaning. It can be referring to the maximum amount something or someone can produce and it can also mean the maximum amount something can contain. When someone feels stuck or overwhelmed, it’s not uncommon to hear them regularly saying things like “I can’t handle any more,” “I just can’t deal,” or “That’s all I got.” 

Jesus shared a parable that I think deals with being stuck, overwhelmed and broken. He says, “No one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”  

I believe that God’s heart toward us is for refreshing and renewal, but often times our hearts are set on remaining and complaining. We can so easily get stuck in old patterns of thinking and doing, and we miss the new thing that God is doing. Instead of experiencing an increase in our capacity and an overflow in our life and relationships, we settle for stuck, overwhelmed and broken. The real tragedy in the parable is that the rigid old skins were broken and the new outpouring intended for them was lost. 

If you’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed, don’t just settle for a temporary shift in your circumstances. Join me in asking these questions, “Where am I stuck?” and “Why am I overwhelmed?” 

Maybe it’s related to old patterns of thinking, including an inaccurate view of yourself, God and others. Maybe you need to get off the hamster wheel of the need for the approval of others. When you find your answer, remember that God’s heart for you is renewal… and new calls for new.

“Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” - Acts 3:20 (NLT)

— Greg Richards is lead pastor at Life Church on the square in Kaufman. More info at

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