Sunday, April 13, 2014

Do Not Be Anxious

    "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

   "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Matthew 6:25-34

Sadly, life is filled with anxiousness.  No matter how much we try to avoid it, there is always something to worry about.  For me the week before last, it was our drama club production and would everything go well.  This last week brought a whole new set of worries.  Would I ever figure out how to make this DVD of the play?  Would my friend forgive me for the miscommunication we had?  But those were trivial worries.  I had a bad week, but it turned out well in the end.  My friend forgave me; I figured out how to make he DVD; and the play was a success.  I had faith that all would be okay and things would work out, but yet I was still anxious over these things.

Truthfully, my worries are trivial in comparison to many of the issues that friends of mine face.  I have a friend that was laid off from his job unexpectedly.  I also have a friend who's boyfriend suddenly wanted a break, but won't explain why.  I have another friend who began dialysis a few weeks ago and is expecting to go back to work tomorrow, and I hope he has recovered from his surgery and is doing well with his dialysis treatments.  I have another who recently lost her best friend.  I am anxious about them and want to do all that I can to help, but there is not much I can do right now but lend my support and prayers.

I have another friend who has pancreatic cancer and is going through another round of chemotherapy. She has survived longer than anyone had ever expected her to, and yet she still comes to work and teaches each day.  She is the most inspirational person I have ever known.  She never complains, and most people don't know just how sick she really is.  Some don't know she is sick at all.  She takes life in stride, and she has put her faith in God and carries on.  Through her, God rewards all who know her, because to know her is to be inspired by her.

When I think of all these worries and all the problems my friends have, and I could name a myriad of other problems, I realize that those who are truly good people, even those who are either not devout Christians or are not Christians at all, will have their reward and be taken care of.  I believe in a universal good, for me that is God, for others it is something else, and for others it does not have a name, but it's that force of universal good that provides for us.  There is the saying that good guys come in last, but truthfully, though the good guys may have hard times, they always come in first, because it is the reward in the hereafter that is the true reward.

My mother is often a miserable person. (I love her dearly so let me explain what I mean by that.). She suffers from depression and fibromyalgia.  She's in constant pain and she worries about everything, including the state of her gay son's soul.  It weighs heavily on her mind, and she can't let it go.  She's known for ten years now but cannot reconcile the thought.  I'm not sure she ever will.  We keep our "don't ask, don't tell, don't bring it up" policy and it works as a weary peace, yet it still bothers her on a daily basis.  With her problems and worries, and like I said, she's always worried about something, she would be so much better off of she just put her faith in God and let him sort out the mess.

For most of my life, I have been a worrier like she is, but I made a change in my life.  I realized that some things you just can't prevent happening.  They are going to happen, and there is nothing you can do about it.  Some of those things will be wonderful, some won't be.  However, I put my faith in God that things would work out for the best, that it would work out the way God intended. As long as I had faith that God had a plan for me, and that sometimes that plan included bumps along the way, I would not worry so much.  I simply put my faith in God.  The same thing happened when I came out to myself as a gay man.  I prayed and I meditated on the issue, and I firmly believe that God let me know that it was okay, that he loves me no matter what, and that it was all part of his plan. I firmly believe that being a gay man is part of God's plan for me.  Though it may sound cliche in the gay community now, it does get better.  If God had wanted to give up on me, he would have when I attempted suicide at age 16, but he had greater plans. I do my best to live up to His expectations.

So whatever your worries may be, whatever bumps in the road of life you may be facing, please remember that God has a plan for each of us.  We need to pray that we follow his plan, and have faith that all will work out the way that God intended.  I have had hard times in my life, but God has never failed to get me through them.  He won't fail to get you through the tough times either. 


silvereagle said...

Professor.....A wonderful way to begin the day here, reading this post. Your best ever!!! Thanks!!

And paste these words on your mirror:

"So whatever your worries may be, whatever bumps in the road of life you may be facing, please remember that God has a plan for each of us. We need to pray that we follow his plan, and have faith that all will work out the way that God intended. I have had hard times in my life, but God has never failed to get me through them."

JustinO'Shea said...

An excellent read for this morning. Thank you.
Anxiety. . .one of the "cures" or solutions for my anxious times/thoughts is to stop myself. .still. . and get back into living in the present moment. I realize when I am anxious is because I have moved into my imagined future --which scenario does not exist! - and have moved out of reality.
That, for me, is a very sobering thought. . .so I move back into the only reality I have: the present and work at living that NOW to the best I can. Worrying about the future is futike, total waste of time, a bad habit.
Living my NOW the best I am able, and making choices anbd decisions which are 'real' is my best insurance for the future.
It still amazes me how many of the students and others with whom I work at the clinic are so consumed with anxiety about all kinds of imaginary futures. I guess the best I can do for them is to walk with them back into the present moment, , their here and now. . .our own existential reality.

ciao ciao. . . .justin

Michael Dodd said...

Sometimes I take a deep breath and tell myself quietly, "I am here now." I may have to repeat it a few times, but it often helps bring me out of anxiety mode when my brain has projected me into a dangerous imagined future.

A wise mentor once told me, when I was fretting about how I was going to deal with something I feared would happen, that I did not have the grace to deal with it. I was floored. Then he explained that when/if the event happened, God would give me the grace then -- when I needed it. At the present moment, God gives the grace I need for this moment. My task is to correspond to that grace right now and not let it pass me by because I am not paying attention.

The feared event never happened, of course. But I still remember that grace comes when needed.

fan of casey said...

Dear Joe:

You should worry about the things you can control and influence and leave the rest to others. My mother is a worrier too but I find so much energy is lost to worrying about things we can't control.

I am one of the sick ones you wrote about. You should not feel guilty about not doing enough. Your well wishes and thoughts are enough.