Anxious and afraid?
let God clothe you with truth
People carry many anxieties: worries about the future;
fears about family issues, health or finances; concerns about the
past. In nearly every facet of our lives, anxiety shows its frazzled
face. Many of those concerns and worries may be realistic, but our
problem is that we do not deal very well with them.
month’s exercise will have two parts. In the first, we will
focus on letting anxiety “uncover” truth. In the second,
we will pick up that garment of truth and clothe ourselves in it
as a protection against anxiety.
Like the man in the bomb story, we have anxieties that often stem
from a distorted perception of reality. We are focused on whatever
is creating fear in us and we forget to see the bigger picture -
and even more importantly we forget to see God. In John’s
Gospel, Jesus was getting his apostles ready for his departure.
He could see they were anxious. He said to them, “Peace I
leave with you, my peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be
troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
Our Lord knows we struggle with anxiety. At Mass, we pray, “Deliver
us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your
mercy, keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety, as
we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.”
letting anxiety uncover truth
To begin this exercise, go to a quiet place where there will be
no distractions. Turn off the cell phone. Turn off the TV, radio
and computer. Bring a pad and pen to jot down some reflections.
Be still and listen to Jesus say to you, “Peace I leave with
you, my peace I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled or
afraid.” Spend a few minutes until you feel this seep into
your soul. Identify your anxieties - What makes you nervous?
What makes you afraid? What are you worried about? Name them. Write
them down. Pray, “Lord, protect me from these fears and worries.”
Choose the most troubling anxiety and go a little deeper. Do you
understand why you are afraid? Sometimes, we are afraid because
of a good we believe we have is being threatened. Or, we are afraid
When I did this exercise, I wrote down “anxious about my
messy desk.” It uncovered a few things in myself - self-image,
how others view the mess, and even the gnawing thought that I may
have forgotten someone in the pile who needs God’s help. OK.
Talk to Jesus about it. Our anxieties can uncover truth -
and truth sets us free.
During this exercise, you may realize that you are standing in
the highway with a Mack truck coming at you. Don’t just stand
there - God is using your anxiety to tell you to get out of
Write down what you have learned about yourself and write down
any resolutions that come to you. In my case, the messy desk will
have to go.
When we pray for protection against anxiety, we need to be willing
to cooperate with means to gain that protection.
clothing an anxious heart with truth
In the second part of this exercise, the power of God’s
word and love strengthens and heals us.
Pray, “Lord open my heart to your truth.” Now listen
to God’s word.
• You are worth far more to God than you realize.
Read Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34 - “I tell you,
do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the
body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not
sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father
feeds them. Are not you more important than they? … Do not
worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient
for a day is its own evil.”
• You belong to God’s household and your sins are forgiven
Read Ephesians 1:3-8 - “Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every
spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before
the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before
him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus
Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of
the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him
we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.”
• God does not change his mind.
Read Romans 8:31-39 - “If God is for us, who can be
against us? … What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness,
or peril, or the sword? … For I am convinced that neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things,
nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ
Jesus our Lord.”
• God wants you to give your cares to him.
Read Philippians 4:6-7 - “Have no anxiety at all, but
in everything, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of
God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus.”
End the exercise by praying the Our Father. And may the peace of
the Lord be with you.
Email your questions and comments to:
Father Bill Ashbaugh