February 27th — 9th Email
The same strategy for claiming freedom that I described in my last email in relation to feeling depressed can also be used with the oppression of anxiety and fear.
In my own life, I’ve become aware of a tendency to live with a low level anxiety lurking just beyond the edge of my consciousness. Without really recognizing what I am doing I keep my focus on my “to do” lists as a way to keep the prowling predator of my anxiety at bay. The result of this is that in focusing on the possible threats of the future I sabotage the gift of the present moment.
As I said, this tendency I am describing occurs on an unconscious level. The good news is that as I bring my anxiety to the conscious level it becomes evident to me that this is not the life God wants for me as God’s beloved child.
When I asked 100 year old Grace Agre recently what her favorite verse was, she answered with the words of Jesus, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) By calling to mind the promises God has made to me – such as this beautiful verse Grace reminded me of — I reclaim some of my God-given freedom as a beloved child and begin to relax a little more and smell the proverbial coffee.
Looking clearly at the lurking anxiety, I recognize that many if not most of my fears are not very realistic. I remember that God is ultimately in control and my obsession with keeping things “under control” is in a peculiar way an attempt to usurp the place of God.
What role does anxiety and fear play in your life? Is it possible during Lent to open yourself to God’s grace in such a way as to loosen their grip on you?