I’m so busy! When somebody asks, “How are you doing?” I realized my response is often, “Busy”, or “I have so much to do”. Could there be another way to look at this?
One Sunday afternoon, I was feeling anxious about my day. How could it all fit together? I went to mass, stopped at the grocery store, made lunch, went to a bridal shower, had plans to lead a prayer group in the evening, and my friend’s biggest race of the year was that same day. And it was a Sunday! Wasn’t this supposed to be a day of rest? I found myself wondering this more than once. Did I plan too much into my day? Was I over-committing myself? Did I need to stop all activities so I could slow down my life?
I’ve tried to slow myself down in the past. I’ve tried doing less activities. But somehow I found myself continuing to pack activities into my day. The feeling of anxiety was coming from all of these thoughts:
I have too much to do.
I’m over-committing myself.
There’s no way that I can get this done.
I took a moment to ask myself, “Is over-committing myself a fact or a thought?” Believe it or not, the sentence, “I’m over-committed,” is just a thought. So many moments of my life, I’ve wanted to say, “The fact that I’m over-committed is a fact! I can give a lot of reasons to prove that this is true.” But there is no rule saying what being over-committed looks like.
A quick google search will tell you the word over-committed is defined by(1) “to do more than one is capable of.” What is one capable of? Each person has a different capacity. Therefore, “I’m over-committed,” is just a sentence in your brain. Additionally, I found that saying, “I’m over-committing myself,” wasn’t leading me to stop “over-committing” myself. In fact, I really enjoyed all of the things that I was doing. I wanted to be able to do all these things.
As I was driving to my friend’s race that day, I watched the runners run past me. Not only was this a race, but it was an Iron Man. In an Iron Man, the racers swim 2.4 miles, then they bike 112 miles, and finish with a full marathon, 26.2 miles. These racers were on the last part of their race, and they were still moving. They had started at 6 AM and now it was 4 PM in the afternoon. They hadn’t stopped moving for 9 hours. This is impossible. There is no way they can finish this race. How is their body capable of moving this way for this extended amount of time?
As I was reflecting, I believe the Lord spoke to me… “They were made for this! And you too are made for this. I’ve created your bodies in a way that it is possible to complete this race. And you too, with the proper training, are capable of this same thing.” My mind turned back to my day. Could it be that I am capable of doing all the things that are in my busy day? Yes! I’ve done it before when it didn’t seem possible, why would I not be able to do it now? I began to recall times in my life where this statement proved to be true. God made my body capable of doing all the activities I’ve committed myself to.
If I just started running in the Iron Man race that day, it is likely that I would not have been able to finish. However, for those racers, they had been training. Their bodies learned how to respond on these intense race days. By the time they got to the running part of the race, I’m sure they were tired. However, “Can I give just a little bit more?” should be the question they ask.
And for Jesus too, He would have had to ask that. How much more can I give? The fact is: our bodies are made for giving. We too are made to receive, but Saint John Paul II often quotes from Gaudium et Spes that (2) “Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” It is in giving that we truly can understand who we are and how we were created.
So, the next time you find yourself saying, “I’m too busy,” I invite you to say, “I was made for this. I can give just a little bit more.” For if we haven’t given of ourselves to the point of dying on the cross, then we haven’t fulfilled our mission as Christians yet.
Now, I’m not saying that we should just commit ourselves to things for the sake of committing to them. But I do think that after assessing and discerning the things we’ve decided to do, we can confidently say, “I was made for this!”
So I ask you, where in your life has this proven to be true? Where have you seen your body capable of the impossible? Where have you completed the tasks of your busy day before? Recalling these moments help us to remember how capable we really are.
So, to bring this full circle, when someone asks me how I’m doing, instead of saying tired or worn out, I try to respond with: I’m living a full life, I’m taking care of the details one step at a time, there is never a dull moment, etc.
For you really are capable of more than you realize!
“I am not afraid. God is with me. I was born to do this!” – Saint Joan of Arc
(1) – Google search, overcommit. Accessed 6 June 2023.
(2) – Scola, Angelo. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes ; Introduction by Angelo Cardinal Scola. Catholic Truth Society, 2012.