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I’m been giving up Anxiety for Lent (through Easter, Sun. April 24th, 2011). It’s made quite an impact on people (probably the anxious ones : ) Someone told me they’re giving up beer for Lent, someone else their family. Wow.
The other day I met with my spiritual director, she told me that surrender has to go from Head to Experience. I think I’ve Given Up Anxiety for Lent in my head but not in my experience. She mentioned the spiritual discipline of Examen through Imagination and gave me the image on this post to meditate on.
So I made a list of the “real” things that make me anxious and the motives behind my worries. The goal is to fill those worries with love. As my director said, each concern needs to know the love of God.
My list is long, but they fall into three categories and two motives. I worry over:
B. Skill and
These are often motivated by:
I worry about the health of our children, that if we don’t have insurance, they will suffer and die. I worry I’m not skilled enough to get a job, I worry that our children won’t be able to enjoy little things like snacks in the cupboards for their lunches or cleats for fútbol.
These fears come from deep within me, growing up with few things, with my lovely grandmother who dealt with high blood pressure her whole life, from growing up without my parents since age 12, from going through so much trauma with immigration, going to college and not having a clue what I was doing, navigating teenage things like girls, school, image, clothes, God, faith mostly on my own.
It’s like the picture above, I sometimes doubt that the misty path leads to something good, I’m more prone to believe it will remain misty and in fact, will get worst and remain worst.
I sometimes doubt that “God will take care of me”, I fight to believe it, sometimes I do, some times I don’t. I’m okay with doubt, but I want to learn to meet God in my doubt.
After this, I took a separate sheet of paper and wrote counter thoughts, the positive attitudes and realities of my life. I hate to call them “truths” because truths change for me, it’s the Experience of Truth that actually change me.
Are you an Anxiety Junkie? See the list here.
I wrote down how God has brought me friends the last few months. I wrote how our children would do fine in a smaller house, I did. I thought about a lady who wrote me an email (she hardly knows me) and said she felt like helping us (not sure how). I remembered how a gentleman helped to pay for my father’s funeral years ago.
I thought of a friend at yoga who asked me “how are you feeling”. So kind. I thought of a couple that continues to say to me “whatever you need, we’re here for you.” It’s true that the world comes around those in need.
Am I healed? No. It’s not a healing I seek, it’s a companionship. My dream would be that I would realize that God walks with me, that he is with me every day, in my doubt, in my worries, not just in theory but in my Experience.
Some people get frustrated with this. They may say “just trust!”, or may want to fix it. You can’t. I have to walk this walk with a few close friends and God for the rest of my life, it has to be my own process of falling down and getting up again not because I should but because I can. I will get better, I actually have already, but this will be my lot for the rest of my life. I accept that as a gift not just a curse.
That’s the Real Giving Up Anxiety for Lent.
So what is your list?
Look back at the picture above, what does it tell you. If nothing, that’s fine, but if it awakens something in you, something deep within your soul, listen to it. In these economic times, everyone has a story to tell.
Some people decide not to worry, they are warriors not worriers. Can you write a list of the real things you need to give up for Lent, and can you write a second list of the real Experiences or Truths where you have not felt alone. I think that would help.
Have a great day.
Into the future,