God calls us to live fully alive and yet few of us know what that really means. We’re drowning in problems we don’t know how to solve. We are struggling to catch our breath, let alone take on big missions for the Lord. We find ourselves saying, “I can’t, Lord.”

In this episode, you will discover what to say instead so you too can live fully alive. 

As a bonus, learn how to help your students if they’re struggling with their math homework!

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Hello friends. Welcome to episode five of Made for Greatness. I am your host today, Lorissa Horn, and I am so happy you are here. I am also really excited to dive into this week’s episode and I have some personal stories that I’m going to be sharing with you today. But before I get to those, I want to talk about a couple concepts to kick things off. So please stay with me and I hope and pray that there are some powerful takeaways that you can start applying to your life right now. First of all, I want to talk to you about what it means to live fully alive or what it means to feel fully alive. We hear this concept and Sterling and I are going to be talking about this over future episodes in this work that we’re doing, because truly we want to bring tools to Catholic moms to help them live lives, where they feel fully alive.

So where do we get this idea of being fully alive? One, like if you look back even as early as the first century they’re saints like St. Irenaeus who has this amazing quote in it. And he says, the glory of God is man fully alive. Oh, this is not so good. I’m going to repeat it. The glory of God is man fully alive. And then we even see it throughout the scriptures. But one in particular John chapter 10 verse 10, is this where Jesus says the thief comes to kill steal and destroy, but I have come to give you life and life to the full. So I don’t know if you’ve been listening at all lately to father Mike Schmitz, but if you’ve listened to, as his homilies lately or any of his videos, this is there’s a concept that he keeps kind of coming back to.

I think it’s really significant. He talks about that. We are, we were created by God on purpose that we’re not just some random accident. We didn’t just come into existence by a couple of atoms crashing together. And that we were created by God on purpose that God has a plan for our lives, a plan that he brought us into this world at this time, he’s given us gifts and talents and he’s given us a mission. And ultimately our mission, our goal obviously is to get to heaven, to be with him for all of eternity and to love him and to be loved by him for all of eternity. That is the goal. That is our purpose, right? So w I love, I love what he’s trying to tell us in his messages that because we were created on purpose and created for a purpose, then we are called to live on purpose, the world called to live intentionally.

And that in order for us get to heaven, it’s going to require us to live intentionally, to have a plan, to set goals, to, you know, to work towards that ultimate goal. And we do that by living on purpose. Now in a lot of ways, like I think about this, and I think that when I, when I’ve experienced that feeling or that sense that I am feeling fully alive, the only way I can really describe it is that it seems to me anyways, that when my gifts and my talents and the passions that are on my heart align with God’s mission for my life, that is, those are the moments that I feel fully alive when I’m using my gifts and talents to glorify God when I’m using them to live out fully my vocation, to love the ones that God has entrusted to me to help lead others, to Christ it’s in those moments where I feel like the most fully alive.

And I can also say that it has been those moments. I had been living very intentionally. Like I been very conscious and aware of my actions and how I’m living my life and the choices that I’m making in order to step into being the woman that God has made me to be. Saint Catherine of Sienna has a quote. It’s an amazing quote, but it’s, and it’s so beautiful, but it’s this be who God made you to be, and you will set the world on fire. I think Saint Catherine of Sienna understood what it meant to be, to be, to live fully alive. And the thing is, is that we also know when we’re living our lives, where we don’t feel fully alive when we feel like we’re just going through life and it’s, and it’s drudgery, we get up in the morning and we’re just like, Oh, another day.

And it feels like we’re being like, we’re weighed down by the, the burdens of the world. And it’s hard to get through the day. And it’s day after day after day, and I’ve had many of those days. And so when I have those moments where I feel fully alive, I think it’s pretty profound. And I can also say that I have had more and more of those moments, particularly in the last few years, after diving into life coaching and becoming really aware of my thoughts, my words, the things that I’m telling myself, as well as the ways in which I’m setting myself up every day to step into being the woman that I know God wants me to be and living out the mission that he has for my life. To me, this is so exciting. So when I feel like I am living in a place where I feel fully alive, it feels to me like contentment.

I feel content in the present moment. I feel a sense of joy. I feel alive. I feel an exhilaration. It’s like, I can’t wait to wake up in the morning, even if it’s to get up early, even if I have so much going on, I can’t wait to tackle the day, knowing that God is going to show up and knowing that he’s going to use me as his instrument. And he’s going to allow me to fulfill, you know, to work through me. As I fulfill my mission of living for him, this to me, like there’s nothing more exciting than striving to live my life in a way where I feel fully alive, because I’m fulfilling my mission for him. Yeah. Now with that, I want to dive into a little bit on how our brain works, because this stuff is fascinating to me. And I think it all correlates together.

I want to talk for a moment about our thoughts. Do you know that the average person has anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 thoughts per day? Our brain is an extraordinary instrument and God is amazing on how he created us with these extraordinary brains. So we have all of these thoughts. Now, our brain has a number of goals like our brains function. Number one is to keep us alive, to keep us safe, obviously to keep us going and functioning throughout the day. The other thing about our brain and the way our thoughts work is that our brains goal is to be as efficient as possible. You can imagine with having up to anywhere around 10,000 thoughts a day, our brain has to be efficient. So what’s very fascinating is we have different parts of our brain that, that works in different ways, but when we’re learning something and we’re engaging our brain in a new way with new thoughts, trying to figure things out, that’s the prefrontal cortex part of our brain.

But as we learn things, and as things become easier and easier, then they move to different parts of the brain and our brain makes it more efficient. And sometimes those thoughts can become almost like subconscious thoughts, for example, in the morning, when you wake up and you have your morning routine, chances are, you’re not thinking really deep thoughts about that. You’re probably just kind of going through the motions. In fact, when you brush your teeth, for example, you’re not putting a lot of deep thought into it. You’re not thinking to yourself, okay, I’m going to grab the toothbrush and now I’m going to put toothpaste on it. And now I’m going to turn on the water and I’m going to put the toothbrush under the water, and then I’m going to put it up to my mouth. You’re not thinking about it, you’re just doing it.

But the reality is, is your brain is actually thinking about it, but almost at a subconscious level, you just think you’re, you’re going into an automatic, you know, place where you’re just doing it without thinking, the reality is your brain is working. Your brain is working on your behalf at a very high functioning and efficient level, which is just so cool. But this is the dill. We don’t realize truly how powerful our thoughts are, because, so we’re not thinking about our thoughts. We’re just going through our day. And until we stop for a minute, and sometimes what really look at some of the thoughts that we have, we don’t realize how powerful those thoughts are and how they can impact us. So today I want to talk about two words, actually, that I can look at my life and I can look at these two words and how these two words have created so many thoughts in my mind that have actually held me back in many ways, these words are I can’t, or I can not.

And the thing about our brain is when we tell ourselves I can’t, or I can’t do something, the crazy thing is, is that our brain believes us. We believe everything we tell ourselves. So if we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, our brain believes it. And our brain instantly says, okay, you can’t do that. And then it stops thinking about it and it starts thinking, okay, well, what can, what can you do? Sort of like, so let’s shift it to something else. You can’t do that. Let’s move on. Your brain will also try to prove to you why you can’t do it. So, for example, if you said, I can’t lose weight, your brain will just say, yes, you’re right. You can’t lose weight. And look at all these other times that you tried to lose weight and you didn’t. So let’s just move on to something else.

Your brain will shut down and will stop looking for answers or solutions. When you say you can’t do something, it’s crazy, fascinating on the opposite end, the moment you say I can, or the moment we say I can, our brain starts working to figure out ways that we can do something. So if you’re struggling with a situation or a challenge, and you say, okay, this is really difficult, but I know I can figure this out. Your brain is instantly going to start searching for all the ways you can find a solution. It’s amazing. So what does this have to do with like what I, what I want to share with you today? I’ve had a number of experiences in my life where I can look back and I can see all the times in my life that I allowed the words I can’t to keep me from stepping into being the woman that I believe God has called me to be.

And that’s a little bit about what some, I’m going to share some stories with you on that. But first of all, I want to share an example with you of my son, because I think as mothers, this is really important. And this is one of the things, especially in the last few years that I’ve really tried to teach my children. My children know that in our house, the words I can’t aren’t really welcomed. Let’s just say that. So I want to share with you, this happened a couple of years ago, my son Joshua was working on his math homework. We were in the kitchen. I was making dinner. He was at the computer trying to get through his Khan Academy, homework assignment. And he was sitting there and I could tell just from his body language that he was struggling, he kept getting problems wrong.

He was getting frustrated and I just kind of was observing him. I was watching him. I wanted to see if he could do it, you know, eventually get through it. And he just kept getting more and more frustrated eventually, probably after about a half an hour or so, he just threw up his hands. And he said to me, mom, I can’t do this. This is too hard. I just can’t do it. And he just got frustrated and he, he put his head down and I could tell he felt just defeated with it. So I walked over to him and I said, first of all, Joshua, listen to yourself, listen to what you’re saying. I said, you know, like when you say that you can’t do it, your branch just shuts down and it stops working for you. And so I said to him, this is what I want you to practice saying right now.

I want you to say this math is really challenging, but I know I can figure it out. And when I do it will be easy. So I had him repeat that after me. He kind of said it as he was rolling his eyes. But then I said, listen, math is one of those things that no matter, like where you’re at, like math is always hard until you figure it out. And then it’s always easy. Like once you figure it out, it’s easy. For example, when we were all in the first grade, figuring out two plus three was hard, but then we learned it and then it was easy. And now it’s still, I mean, like that’s so easy, right? Same with multiplication division. Then you move to algebra and all of those things. And as you learn it, it becomes easy. And then you’ve got it.

And that’s how it is with literally everything in our lives. Everything is hard at first. And then we figure it out and then it becomes easy. And what we want is we want our brand to be working for us on our behalf. The moment we say, we can’t do something, we shut our brains down and it stops working to serve us in that capacity. So I looked up the math problem. I’m, I’m fairly decent at math. I’m the one that the kids come to you for a math homework, if they need help. And I walked over to the computer and I said to Joshua, I said, listen, this is going to be easy. We’re going to figure it out then. Yeah, he’ll get it. And then I read the question. And honestly, like, I couldn’t, I didn’t know the answer. In fact, when I read this math question, I was like, I have, I have no idea.

I had never seen a math problem like this, but I didn’t want to come across. Like, I didn’t know. So I just said to him, listen, we can figure this out. And I said to him, I said, now Joshua Khan Academy, there there’s videos, right. That you can watch. And he said, yes. And I said, well, let’s watch the video. So he plays literally a 32nd video on how to do this math problem. We watch it. And I’m not kidding you. Yeah. It was the easiest math problem ever. It was just that it was a totally different concept. Once we watched the video, it was so easy. And so obvious that he went back to his problem. He, he went back to the problem. Got it. Right. Then he went to the next problem. Got it. Right. Went to the next problem. Got it. Right.

And I looked at my son, Joshua, you’re getting these all right. And he said, well, yeah, mom, it’s easy. Now I, now I understand it. So now it’s easy. And I asked him, I said, if you got a test tomorrow with 50 of these questions, how many of them would you get? Right. And he said, well, I, of course I would get all of them. Right. And I said, so what’s the difference between now and five minutes ago, when you said you couldn’t do it. And he said, well, I just, I didn’t think I could do it. And I said, Joshua, you know, that Khan Academy has these videos. And I said, why didn’t you watch the video before I, I walked over here and he said this. He said, honestly, mom, I thought that this problem was so hard and that I couldn’t do it.

And I literally thought that even if I watched the video, I still wouldn’t understand it. And I said to him, I said, see, this is how our brain works. It convinces us. Like we believe once we say we can’t do something, we literally believe that there are no solutions or that we won’t be able to figure it out or that it’s too hard or we won’t be able to do it. And so this is why, like, this is what I want to say. Like when we’re teaching our children, like the power of our words, the power of, of how those words affect our thoughts. Every time we have a thought, we have our, there’s a neuropathway that’s formed in our brain. And the more we have that same thought that then it turns into a belief. And so if we’re saying something to ourselves, like I can’t do something.

And we say it to ourselves over and over it doesn’t just remain a thought. It actually turns into a belief. And so to me, this is why this work is so for ourselves, as women, as mothers, but also in teaching this to our children. Now I want to share with you some pretty, you know, standard. I can’t phrases, phrases that I know I’ve said to myself over the years and phrases that I think a lot of us say to ourselves. So here we go. Some of these phrases aren’t really that big of a deal, but some of them are, and it’s sometimes it’s not even until it’s brought to kind of our awareness, which is what I’m hoping to do today that we realize and say to ourselves, Oh my gosh, Oh, I, I do say that. Or I see how I am limiting myself by saying that or thinking that, or even believing it.

So, first of all, kind of a silly one, but I want to use this as an example. I can’t, I can’t function without coffee in the morning. That’s one of them like, that’s something that a lot of us believe, like I can’t function unless I have my coffee, but what about some of these? Like, I can’t get out of debt. I can’t lose weight. I can’t run a half marathon. I can’t get this laundry under control. I can’t get organized. I can’t ever be on time. I can’t have an amazing marriage. I can’t parent this strong-willed child. I can’t go back to college or get that masters degree. I can’t write a book. I can’t start a business. I can’t forgive that person that really hurt me. I can’t handle this coworker. I can’t handle this crazy busy schedule. These are just a few examples of how these I can’t phrases get into our thoughts and then actually eventually become belief systems.

And I believe that some of these thoughts can really hold us back from stepping into the life and to the mission that God has for us and being the women that he is calling us to be. When Johnny and I got married, I knew that I wanted to have a big family. And by big family, I thought that meant maybe four or five children. That’s what I was thinking would be a great size family. And so you can imagine how surprised I was when we got married. And then we started having children and we started like we had children really close together. In fact, I had my first five children in under five years. I have two sets of Irish, Irish twins, two sets of kids that are, were born within 10 to 11 months apart. And this was a lot for me, those first five years of having those children are a blur to this day.

And so I had my first four children and after I had Gianna my fourth daughter, I was at a point in my life where I was probably living as further, like as far away as I could be from feeling fully alive, all I felt was complete and total exhaustion, I had four children and under four years at that point I was working full time. I was barely sleeping. I was after, after having Gianna, I was struggling, struggling with postpartum depression, having difficulties in nursing. I was a mess. So you can imagine like how I might’ve felt when I was, it was eight weeks after Gianna was born. And I started feeling nauseous, really nauseous, like morning sickness. And I thought to myself, no way, there’s no way I can be pregnant again. Sure enough. I took a pregnancy test and saw those two purple lines show up.

And this was probably one of my darkest moments in my life, but I’ll never forget it. I remember falling to the bathroom floor and just laying like this heap on the floor, literally sobbing. I could hardly breathe. And all I could think about was like, Oh my gosh, like I can’t be pregnant again. And I remember literally like crying out to God saying I can’t do this. Like, I can’t do this God. Like, I have nothing more to give right now. I can’t do this. And I wish I could say that I was able to pull myself up off of that floor after a good cry and change my like mindset. But I didn’t, I was angry at God. I was angry at myself for even allowing myself to get pregnant. Like I was like angry at Johnny. I was angry at the world.

Really? Not just for a couple of days, not for a couple of weeks, but literally for an entire nine months through that whole pregnancy every day. Not just in the morning, but like every day throughout the whole day, I just remember telling like saying even out loud, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t be pregnant right now. I can’t do this. This is too hard. And I believed it. I literally believed I couldn’t do it. The crazy thing was is that I was doing it even as I was telling myself, I couldn’t do it. I literally was growing another human being within my womb. Like I was carrying a baby in my body growing this human being. So technically I was doing it, but the entire nine months I was battling God, I was fighting him. I was fighting my body. I was myself.

And I was believing this lie that I couldn’t do it. And I have to say this. It makes me sad. Just thinking about it. I was miserable. I, I was struggling. It was hard for me. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t the hardest nine months of my life. It was, it was really hard. And I legitimately was in pain. I was, you know, didn’t feel good. I didn’t have energy. I was exhausted. All of those things are true, but the greatest misery from those nine months were caused in my head. I brought so much emotional distress to myself because I kept saying to myself, I can’t do this. And Oh, it literally like it breaks my heart now. Absolutely. When that little guy, when Matthew came into our world and after I gave birth to him, I fell madly in love with him within seconds.

And then I found myself for months after that, literally apologizing to my husband, apologizing to God for not trusting in him, not trusting in his timing, not trusting in his plan for me. I also look back and I think to myself, all, a lot of that pregnancy was wasted. Like I could have been offering up my suffering so much more instead. I just made myself so much more miserable by resisting that pregnancy and not just accepting it with grace. If I could do anything, I would give anything to be able to go back to that version of me 10 years ago. I wish I could walk into that bathroom and like show up to my, my past self. And I wish I could like stand there with, with my past self sitting on the bathroom floor. And I wish I could take her and look her in the eyes and say, Lorissa like, hold her in my arms and let her cry on my shoulder.

But then I wish I could tell her Lorissa. I know you think that you can’t do this, but what if you can, what if you can do this and what if you can do this pregnancy? Well, meaning what if you can enter into this? What if you can accept God’s will for your life right now. And even though this is going to be hard, and even though you’re going to be suffering and in pain, what if you can do it? And what if you can step into being the woman that God is calling you to be through this pregnancy. And I wish I could tell her you’re going to love this baby. And you’re going to grow so much and God is going to reveal so much to you through this child. So trust in him. I wish I could go back and say that.

And this has become my answer to myself. And even to others, when I hear my children or hear a student or somebody say, I can’t do this, my answer is always, but what if you can, what if you can do it, all of those can’t I can’t phrases. I just mentioned I can’t get out of debt. I can’t function without coffee. I can’t lose weight. My answer to all of those is, but what if you can, and this is the power of this work that we want to bring to you in this podcast, this opening our hearts and our minds. Like what if we can step into the big dreams that God has for our lives, these things that the God, these dreams, that God places on our hearts, maybe it’s to write a book, maybe it’s to start a business, maybe it’s to go back to college.

What if, what if we can do those things? And I want to come back to the scripture passage that I love so much, and it’s this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. These are such powerful, powerful words, because we really see all of the things that God is calling us to do all love with the invitation that God’s calling us to step into. Like, we can do all these things through Christ who strengthens us. And this is the type of woman that I want to be. I want to be the type of woman that says, God, okay, you’re calling me to do that. Okay, well, this seems hard right now, or I don’t know how to do it, but I do know that you can guide me. You can give me strength to do it, and you can open up doors and you can make things happen.

Now I do want to say this, even though we can do a lot of things. Like, for example, let’s say, you know, you let’s say you were to say to me, I can’t function without coffee. I might say to you, no, but what if you can, all of us can, we can all function without coffee, but the question is, do we want to function without coffee? And I want to bring this, this one thought to our attention in this, even though we can do a lot of things, there are times when we need to step back and say, okay, I can do this, but is it something that I want to do? Or is it even something that I’m feeling called to do? Because we’re not called to do everything. We are just called to do the things that we believe that maybe God is calling us to do, or obviously to live out our vocation, to do the work that we are being paid to do in our jobs, all of that kind of stuff.

But when it comes to other things, I’m not saying in this podcast that we have to say yes to everything. What I am saying though, is that we are called to discern. We’re called to look at the possibilities and to ask ourselves what if I can do it? And then we take it to prayer. For example, I had an experience happened to me last week, where it was a super busy week at work. I had a lot going on a lot of balls. I was juggling in the air and one of the school counselors came to me and said, Hey, Lorissa, would you possibly consider making a couple of videos that we can share with the student body, for student wellness week? And my first initial reaction was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve got so much stuff to do this week. And I literally, I looked at her and I said, if it was any other week, I could do it, but I am so sorry.

I just, I have too much on my plate right now. I just can’t do it. And she said, Lorissa, don’t even worry. I totally understand. We’ll do it some other time. I walked away from her and instantly I had a guttural reaction. I knew those words. Like I knew I said to her, I can’t do it. And I knew that wasn’t true. The reality is, is that I had a lot of stuff on my plate. That was true. But I was upset at myself for telling her that I couldn’t do it. And so I ended up walking down, we have a chapel in our school. I went and spent a few minutes with our Lord and I knelt and prayed. And I thought to myself, okay, this is something that I could do. I could do it. I could figure out a way to carve out some time, but is this what God’s calling me to do right now?

Am I called to do this? And so I took it to prayer and I asked him, I’m like, Lord, is this something that you’re wanting me to do? Are you calling me to use my gifts? And my talents in this way, is there possibly a message that you are wanting me to share with the students at our school and after taking it to prayer, I really thought to myself, okay, what if I can do this? And so what I decided to do was I, I thought to myself, I’m going to carve out 30 minutes tomorrow the next day. And I’m going to try to just really quickly put together these videos. And if I can do it great, if not, then I’m going to move on to other things. Obviously, maybe it’s not meant to be. So the next day at work, I carved out 30 minutes.

I sat down, I took about five minutes of notes, wrote down my thoughts. I opened my computer, pulled up my software for the video and I hit record. And I literally recorded these two videos. I didn’t even watch them back. I sent them to the counselor and just said, I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for, but if this is something that you want to use, go for it. If it’s not, don’t worry about it. And then I went on with my day and I finished all my other tasks. Now, what I want to say about this is

After I did it, after I made it the videos and sent them off, I something in me, like I felt energized. I felt excited. I felt excited. I felt like I had all of this energy to tackle the rest of my day and to get everything done and everything fell into place. And just by giving it a shot, stepping into it, using my gifts and talents to do something like this. And it was new and it was something I hadn’t done before, but just learning a new skill work, you know, putting together a video, sending it off. All of a sudden I felt fully alive. Like I felt like, okay, I can do this. I can do these types of things. People can ask me something and I can discern it and I can take it to prayer. And then I can respond based on what I really feel God might be calling me to do.

It was an incredibly powerful moment for me. And I find myself like the more I am willing to stop and recognize the power of my thoughts and the power of, of really taking things to prayer and responding, not from a place of like, Oh, I’m just so stressed and overwhelmed. I can’t possibly do anything else, but really looking at things that are being asked to me and saying, okay, God, is this, what is this something that you’re asking of me right now? Are you asking me to step into this moment? And if so, then I know that you’re going to give me the grace and you’re going to give me the strength and the ability to make it happen. And so this is what it means for me anyways, to fill fully alive, to, to be a person that is focused on the things that I can do and stepping into doing them and to doing them well, to waking up in the morning, excited about what lies ahead to be open and aware of how God is going to show up and how he’s going to call me to use my gifts and my talents to be his instrument and to impact the lives of those around me.

That’s what fires me up more than anything. And I want to raise children like I want to help my children become like to step into their lives in that same way, believing that they can do all the things that God is calling them to do and that their thoughts and their, the words that they say and how they think that, that they’re not going to be held back or limited by I can’t phrases that they’re going to step into life looking and knowing that whatever it is that they want to do or whatever, they feel like they’re being called to do that, they can do it, that they can find the solutions that they can ask for help, that they can be can do people. And so, as I close out this podcast today, I just want to remind us all that we were created by God on purpose, because he has a great purpose for our lives.

And one of the easiest and the best ways we can step into that life on purpose is by managing our minds, managing our thoughts and realizing the incredible power that comes when we choose thoughts that serve us and serve the mission that we are trying to accomplish. This is exciting work ladies. And I also believe it’s the most important work we can do on our minds, especially in helping us to become women who are fully alive. Women who are striving to be saints and being women who want to set the world on fire. And so my friends, this is what I have for you this week. If there was anything in his podcast that you found to be meaningful or helpful, and you think that someone else in your life might benefit from hearing it, maybe a sister, a coworker or friend, please share it with her. And if you have a couple seconds and can go to iTunes to rate and review our podcast Sterling, and I would be greatly appreciative. And finally, I hope you have the most amazing week ahead. Remember mama, you are made for greatness.