One of my most popular posts is about ANXIETY. It is something that all of us have to deal with to a greater or lesser degree in the world in which we live today. Our lives often seem out of control with the fast pace we are forced to tolerate. We often feel as though we are on a carousel strangely spinning faster and faster. All we want to do is stop it and get off. You can get off.
Acknowledge that you are not in control at all. Any control you feel you have, and are clinging desperately to is a farce. The world may seem to be hurling itself into oblivion, but God is still (and always will be) in control. Those who love Him can also trust that He has their best interests at heart. Because He is not restricted by time or space, He can see the big picture. He will only allow to happen to us what will benefit our eternal life. We can take comfort in that knowledge, even when the journey is tumultuous and strewn with suffering.
Lay all anxiety at the foot of the cross. Give it to Jesus. Tell Him it is too big to carry alone. Return to the cross in your mind as many times a day as needed to relinquish your fears and burdens. Fear is not from God. If it is not from God, it must be from the evil one. Use your sacramentals (holy water, rosary, etc.) and the sacraments to avoid the temptation to despair. Use them to obtain grace.
Actual grace is a wonderful thing – it is strength for the moment. We cannot store up actual grace for what might happen in the future. Therefore, we should not worry about what will happen tomorrow. “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) We can rely upon the fact that God will provide us the grace needed to survive and even thrive in the current struggle – one moment at a time!
I am reminded of two of my favorite prayers for times of great anxiety –
The Serenity Prayer
- God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
- The courage to change the things I can,
- And the wisdom to know the difference.
- Infant Jesus 9 hour novena
O Jesus, Who has said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened,” through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted. (Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary Thy Most Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask Thy Father in Thy name that my prayer will be granted. (Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass away,” through the intercession of Mary Thy Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted. (Make your request)
When I am really stressed, I say the 9 hour novena. I set a timer, and every hour on the hour, I pray it. My problem may not be gone by the end of the day, but by the 5-6th hour, I experience an incredible peace. I believe this is what Jesus was talking about when He said, ” I leave you peace. My peace I give to you – not as the world gives do I give to you.”
My best prescription for anxiety (by experience) is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I know that Jesus is really physically present because of the calming effect that adoration has on me. Since I live a stressful life like most, I run to that adoration chapel multiple times a week (sometimes multiple times a day if necessary). There Jesus gives me the peace to go about my day with true joy – and to literally stop and “smell the roses.”
All that being said, sometimes, through no fault of our own, we still battle anxiety. It is not a shameful thing to ask for help. It’s a good thing to recognize our limitations and to ask for assistance when needed. Sometimes medical intervention is recommended for a time to get us over the hump. Know that you are not alone!