I want to stop telling people I'm busy. It's actually one of my pet peeves. You know, when you ask someone how they are, and they say, "Oh, I'm so busy!" Yeah. That's the worst. It always makes me want to scream. Everyone is busy! I think. I'm busy. You're busy. My roommates are busy. My mom is busy. Everyone is busy.
Can we all just make a pact to stop answering questions in this way? There are several reasons that I think we should.
Saying that you're busy doesn't say anything about how you actually are. It doesn't answer the question. You asked about that other person, and how they felt today. They answered you by telling you about their schedule. This answer doesn't tell you about the state of their soul. It tells you what they have in their planner or on their plate.
Is there a reason behind this? Can it be that we tell people about our rushed rhythms because we don't want to talk about the state of our harried hearts?
Or is it that we aren't even aware of what we're feeling -- that we are so unaware that all we know is the rushed feeling in our souls? That the only way we can express the low hum of chaos in our hearts is by telling people I'm so busy?
Have we numbed ourselves to feeling? Have we buried our selves long enough so that we have no other way to describe our inner lives other than the word busy?
I catch myself doing this. I sense the low-grade buzz in my heart. It's like a gnat buzzing around my head. I know it's there, but I've got no idea where. I hear the symptom, but I cannot, for the life of me, find the cause. Or maybe I sense my own deficiency, my own lack of attention to my heart. So, when someone asks me how I am, rather than bursting into tears or vomiting all my emotions upon the poor soul or launching into a tirade of how I really am, I say, "Busy."
Just one word. More cannot be spared.
I was out on a walk tonight, and it occurred to me that I just need to get out of my own head sometimes. I have all this stuff buzzing around in the space between my ears that sometimes I just want to take my brain out and put it in a drawer until it just shuts up. There are some days I want to say to my mind, "Look, you're cool and all, and I appreciate the whole thinking thing, but I would really appreciate it if you just went over there for like two hours and just left me alone. I'll call you when I'm ready to go back to thinking."
I stew too much. I dwell on things too much. I am a chronic overthinker. But it's all inside my head. No one knows about it. And it's often on the subliminal level, so that when someone asks me how I am, I have no idea how to answer.
Or maybe there's so much happening that I haven't had time to pay attention to myself and to actually figure out how I feel or what I think or what God is trying to tell me because OH MY GOSH. So when someone asks me how I am...
I have no idea how to answer.
So, to make it sound like I kind of have it together, I say, "Busy."
God forgive me.
Granted, there are time when we probably shouldn't say how we actually are. If you feel like murdering someone who just made you spitting mad, I would not recommend giving vent to that feeling. But may we have the courage to tell someone about our hearts, not our schedules. And when we do, may we know that we fall back again and again on the grace of Jesus to bring us through the mess of our own brokenness.
May we pay attention to what is happening within us. May we know that we are safe in Jesus, and may this safety spur us to be able to talk about what's going on inside our souls.
May we brave the adventure of sharing the mess inside of us with our people, with our community -- because that's how community is built.
It won't always be pretty. But it will be honest. And it will be brave.
And at the end of ourselves, in the middle of our mess, Jesus opens wide His everlasting arms and says that it's okay.
Let's not be busy.
Let's be grace-filled.
Let's be vulnerable.
Let's be free.