Anxiety is my friend. That may sound kind of weird, but I have lived with anxiety all my life. I stopped fighting it a long time ago and now just accept it as part of my personality. I realize the anxiety is there, I “talk” to it, tell him everything is okay and it drops to almost nothing. One way anxiety manifests itself in me in my life is to sometimes “speak before I think.” I am also a raging extrovert and sometimes those two together cause comments or flippant statements to come out and sometimes at the wrong time.
I have to say, however, I am miles and miles beyond where I used to be. I have learned the art of quietude and I can listen very well and the anxiety and extroversion go away. I think that is what helps me do well in the patient room and in private moments of counseling or assistance. It is my growth in God, my love for the Lord that relaxes my anxiety and gives peace to my soul. I hear the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:24,“Don’t be anxious about tomorrow….look how God takes care of the flowers and the birds of the air, and aren’t you much more value than they?” (My interpretation of the words of the text). Anxiety is living out of tomorrow I think. Or it’s living out of the next moment and we lose the present moment.
I think guilt and shame from the past coupled with anxiety about what is next cause us to miss out on what God has for us in the moment. Isn’t that what we do on a weekend? We slow people down. We take out 3 whole days of our life to bask in the glow of Christ. Is there anything better? Why aren’t all our weekends full to the max in both team members and candidates/pilgrims? Everyone, deep down, wants and needs this very thing. Once the weekend starts, we want to be sure that our actions, words and deeds don’t create more anxiety on the person. Through prayer, fellowship and conversation we work to alleviate that anxiety on Thursday night or Friday morning.
One way to look at it comes from an NFL player. I don’t have the exact quote but I read that the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks NFL team isn’t worried about that last play of the Super Bowl. He talks about living in the present, taking each moment as it comes. That’s a goal for all of us I imagine, live more in the moment. Give up trying to control; we really don’t have any.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
NLS Spiritual Director
Pastor Doug Givan
St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)
St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)