Once again, God took my plan for today’s blog and changed it… and once again, I know He must be right! (And I know I will eventually get back to my original plan – for last week!)
He even used my best friend to deliver the message – again.
Regardless of your political persuasion, the situation in the United States is distressing. We are seeing normal-functioning “adults” breaking down in public. They are succumbing to mass-hysteria and, in some areas, their behavior is approaching anarchy – and not in a good way. Indeed, no matter what you think of President Trump, this situation is extremely dangerous in its own right. It will deepen the divides already affecting this land. At worse, it could cause the whole country to pull apart at the seams or even fracture where it once seemed strong. Don’t get me wrong – the future of our country is at stake! And it is not the President’s fault.
But this is not meant to be a political post. Rather, it is about our reaction to what is happening “out there.” How do we keep from worrying? Even when it looks really bad from our personal perspective?
Remember Yoda…(same quote, twice this week!)
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
Even in my short life, I have found this to be very true. When people are scared, they become angry and begin to feel hatred towards that which they fear. Everyone suffers for the fear of the loudest group.
Worry equals fear
In essence, worry is simply a lesser-developed form of fear.
It is one of our primal instincts, part of our animal nature.
When we worry, we feel the effects of fear.
Fear constricts our bodies… from our gut to our lungs… from our heart to our brain… NOTHING works as well because we are afraid – and we’ve been reduced to our animal nature.
When we worry, we tend to get a distorted view of reality. It’s like when the sun goes down and the shadows are bigger and deeper… everything that moves is a burglar or a bear… Yet, when the sun is out in the daytime, nothing seems quite as bad. Nothing is as bad during the day as it is during the night…
Furthermore, when we have a distorted view of reality, and we are in the “fight or flight” mode of our animal instincts, we tend to make the wrong decisions! Any decision made in haste is apt to be the wrong one.
Sometimes the media does its best to make things seem really scary, it is natural to be afraid – just a little… Yet, they take advantage of this and often blow things way out of proportion. Why?
Fear helps to sell newspapers, magazines and news programs. When we are scared, we look for reassurance. We need it like an electric blanket on a cold night… and the media is there to provide it for us. Of course, they cannot reassure us completely – or we would no longer have the need for their “medicine.”
On the other hand, there is one who would reassure us completely without bargaining our souls for a “quick fix.” God wants to help us, if we will only allow him. Yet, the biggest problem with worry is that it takes us further away from God. When we worry, we are not trusting Him. Though it is difficult to trust when everything seems to be falling apart all around us, it is that which we most need to do!
We must take courage, and the way to do that is to pray. Courage is just fear that has said its prayers!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6-7, NIV
God will provide what you need
That is not to say that God will do things instead of you. But He will assist you when you need it the most.
One thing you can do for yourself is to dig to the truth of the matter which frightens you. I once read a charming folk tale to my daughters about a village where a fierce mountain lion was frightening the people. No one ever saw him, but they knew that it was there – ready to eat them. When the source was eventually discovered, it was just a kitten yowling through a log. Shedding the light of Truth into the scary alley may just show you that the huge lion was just a little tom kitten testing his reflexes. Even if the cat turns out to be as big and fearsome as you thought, God can give you the courage to know how to best handle the situation – if you only ask – and then obey what He tells you to do.
When, recently, I was homeless with my daughters, living in a crisis shelter, I would pray earnestly for God to find me a job and us a home. That still, small voice answered immediately to remind me of how God clothes the lily in the field – and feeds the sparrow – and that he would take care of us too. I was not to worry any longer, it was in His hands. Indeed, we soon found what we needed – not where we expected to find it, but where we needed to be.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Teresa) worked tirelessly to get the Sisters of Charity’s first orphanage built. She worked in the face of poverty and fierce opposition. Yet, God never failed to provide for her – even when things looked impossible. She knew the truth of the modern term: “Let go and Let God.” And she taught Padre Pio’s truth of “Pray, hope and don’t worry,” to all those around her. She never let anyone see her worry. She put all her trust in God, because she knew that if she kept her promise to Jesus, he would keep his promise to her.
The same is true for all of us. After all:
“Fear is useless; what is needed is trust.” Jesus, Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36,
New American Bible,*not current version*
Persistent worry and anxiety can be a symptom of mental illness – which can be helped and treated. If you or someone you love is always fearful and worried, it would be best to look into further help.
http://www.catholicireland.net/why-let-worry-rule-your-life/ (excellent use of quotes in this one!)