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Posts Tagged ‘worry’

Until very recently, worry and anxiety have not been challenges for me.  I have the kind of mind that just doesn’t hold on the those kinds of things.  Unlike my husband, who is consumed with worry pretty much all the time, making him miserable, I have always been able to put problems aside to deal with whatever is right in front of me.

Lately, I’ve suffered from anxiety of the free-floating variety.  Because it isn’t rational, it doesn’t respond to rational techniques.  I tend to treat it by whiffing essential oils or going outside to sit in the sun.  What’s worse is when it attaches itself to legitimate areas of worry that I would have been able to put out of my mind in the past.  When that happens, and chanting my usual mantra (Cast your cares on God; that anchor holds.) isn’t working, there is one Scripture passage I turn to.

You know the jokes about Catholics–we don’t read our Bibles and we can’t quote chapter and verse like our Protestant brethren.  Of course that’s not true of all Catholics, and the fact is that most of us are exposed to a lot of Scripture via the Mass readings.  According to this source, a Catholic who attends Mass on Sundays and major feasts will hear about 41% of the New Testament and 4% of the Old (that doesn’t count the Psalms), even if they never crack open a Bible at home or in a study group.

So I know lots of Scripture, even if I don’t always know exactly where to find it.  But I always remember that the passage about anxiety is in the book of Matthew, Chapter 6:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.

Even if I have trouble believing it right in the moment, I know that if Jesus said it, it must be true.  Even if I can’t see how, I know He is working all things out for my good.  Even though I can’t always manage it, I want to live as though I really, REALLY believe these words all the time.

And thanks to a new prayer practice I adopted this Lent, I am growing in this area.  More than once, after I have shared my anxieties with God in my prayer journal, insight, answers, and comfort have followed within days.  I find my thoughts turning toward journaling when I am facing a knotty problem in my life or when I am overcome with worries and anxiety.  I find myself really trusting that it is all in God’s hands.

 

This post is part of the Catholic Women’s Blogger Network Blog Hop.  For more articles on faith and worry, click below.

How My Faith Helps Me Worry Less

 

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Take time just to be; remember, you are a human being, not a human doing.

I think I clipped it out of a Reader’s Digest long ago, and for years it hung inside the kitchen cabinet of my first house, along with similar uplifting sentiments:  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and discover that they were the big things.” “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” “We cannot do great things; we can only do small things with great love.”  There were many more, and they were wonderful, and I think I need to dig them out of my junk drawer and hang them all around my desk.

Because when someone remarked upon that first quote, which they read in the signature line of my email, I realized–not for the first time–that I no longer act like a person who believes that.  And that makes me sad.  Where did that person go?

Even though I worked part-time outside the home most of the time until my third baby arrived, there was time for twice-daily walks, for four-hour trips to the pool, for preparing a hot dinner and sitting down to it every night.  Even when I had three pre-schoolers there was time for afternoons planting bulbs, whole Fridays spent with my mom friends at playgrounds or homes or McDonald’s, hour-long story times every evening.

In those days I didn’t feel guilty about taking a walk outside to see what was blooming in my yard, or going out by myself every Monday night to write letters and X-Files fanfiction, or spending Saturday doing something fun instead of something productive.   I didn’t constantly feel like there was something I needed to be doing.

That seems like a long time ago and I have turned into one of those people I never wanted to be, a member of the “rat race” even though there are days I don’t leave my house.  No matter what I’m busy doing–and I am almost always busy doing something–I am neglecting something else, and often I am having to neglect the important for the urgent.   The only time I feel free to stop being a “human doing” is when we go on vacation–can’t do dishes, laundry, or work so I am free to relax.

I’m not sure how this happened to me.  It would be tempting to blame it on my having taken on the job as my husband’s legal assistant.  It’s true that hasn’t helped, since I probably spend 20 solid hours a week on it–maybe more.  But it’s an attitude change I’m really talking about, and that took place years ago.   I’d like to wind up this blog entry with a revelation or words of wisdom or a plan for change, but I am at a loss.  I’m open to suggestions, though.

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