The formula to overcome worry is easy. But let me be honest with you, you can read book after book, go to spiritual conferences, meditate all day long, or pray incessantly, but we are human beings with real concerns and fending off worry could be a life-long task. The antidote to worry is building the muscle of faith, a child-like trust on God. This child-like trust in God IS the answer. Simple. Real. Proven.
From my experience, what makes it difficult is the human Will combined with our internal mechanism for self-preservation. Our mama-bear and papa-bear instinct to protect and defend tends to get the best of us.
We worry because, although we know God has a plan, we don’t know what that is.
We worry because there are serious life-threatening situations at stake.
We worry because it is our nature to protect ourselves, our children, and our families.
We worry because, although there’s no evidence of such things happening, our mind is bombarding with “what-ifs.”
We worry because we understand that the we may not have the knowledge, skills, or abilities, to resolve the issue at hand.
The obvious response is to pray. But petitioning to the Lord to solely fix this or that in our lives is not enough.
Here’s a formula – it’s for illustrative purposes only. I’m not a theologian, much less a mathematician. When we pray to God as we are overcome by worry and anxiety, here’s the formula for prayer:
33% Trust in God (a.k.a. Faith)
33% Willingness to Endure this Trial (a.k.a. God’s Will not mine)
33% Heart Lifted Up to the Lord (a.k.a. love God with all your heart, soul, and mind) Matthew 22:37
What I have found in my life is that, along with asking God to remove the pain associated with this trial, we must be equally willing to endure it. Even Jesus, in the Garden at Gethsemane, simultaneously asked God to take this cup away from him while placing Himself at the feet of God’s Will. That’s where this formula comes from. Luke 22:42. I wish I could tell you that this formula will get us what we secretly desire – freedom from pain and suffering – but it won’t – at least not in this life. The question is… given what God has done for us offering His only Son for the salvation of humanity, are we willing to do anything to be with Him in paradise?
For many years, I was afraid to say the words, “I love you, Jesus.” I could tell others that I love Him and I would do things because God asked me to, but I couldn’t say the words directly to Him. Why? Because I was afraid that if I said this to Him, He would ask me to prove it and bring some terrifying trial my way or ask something of me that I was not willing to do or ask me to let go of something I was not willing to give up. Come to think of it, it was quite silly I actually thought like this because I was going through trials anyway and wasting them by not offering them up to the Will of God when I had the chance.
But looking back, God was merciful with me. He would allow small-ish trials when I was younger and slowly increased the intensity, if you will, of the trials as I got older. You know people say that God would never give us a trial that would be too much for us to endure, but I think that’s false. It’s my personal opinion that every trial is meant to be beyond our capacity to endure it – even if it’s just a little – otherwise it wouldn’t be a trial at all. It wouldn’t fulfill God’s purpose for having trials which is to give us opportunities to trust in God, offer our willingness to endure the trial and commune with Christ, and to lift-up our hearts to the Lord.
It doesn’t mean that God won’t answer a prayer to remove the painful circumstance in our lives. He is a Father who wants us have peace, joy, and abundance in our lives. Of course he will give us relief in this way but not always. God wouldn’t do us the disservice by removing all the crosses from our lives and retracting Redemptive Suffering. There wouldn’t be a soul in Heaven if he did that!
The best advice to deal with worry and trials comes from St. Therese of Lisieux. Her answer is simple yet takes great determination to achieve. But once you embody her little way, the doors to heaven will fly open. She said, “Jesus has chosen to show me the only way which leads to the Divine Furnace of love; it is the way of childlike self-surrender, the way of a child who sleeps, afraid of nothing, in its father’s arms.”
My dear brothers and sisters in-Christ, before you rest your head, empty your mind of worries by writing a love letter to God and placing all trials at the foot of the Cross. He will not abandon you.
You know the exhaustion of my body and the pain in my heart. Lord, you know many times I fail and feel overwhelmed with worry. Help me to find rest in you and to renew my heart with child-like trust in you. Send me the grace to find peace in the calling you have for me at this time and to always remember that you will not abandon me. Please help me to see that I am enough, even in my brokenness, to be your instrument of Faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle…
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus… Have Mercy on Us.
Our Lady of Sorrows… Pray for us.
Saint Joseph… Pray for us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux… Pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta… Pray for us.
Our guardian angels… Watch over us
In the name of the Father…
My dearest Catholic Servants, please don’t hesitate to let me know your special intentions so we can pray for you during our next family Rosary. My email address is Alexandra@thecatholicservant.com.