For Tuesdays during Lent, I’m going to talk about my faith and spiritual practice (or lack thereof). So this is the time to look away if you’re not interested in this topic. No worries, there will be an allotment post tomorrow and I’ll see you then!
Everyone seems full of panic right now. There is the flooding, the coronavirus, the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations, global heating and all other sorts of chaos that seems right around the corner. Everyone seems worried and anxious and scared.
This is not the part where I tell you that my faith in God takes all suffering away. Faith is not a magic wand for the hard parts of life and God doesn’t promise to make it all better (promises to be with you – yes, solve it all – no).
So what does faith do, if it doesn’t make everything better? Well is makes me a lot less anxious
We had a priest at Church who used to change the words to the Mass, instead of “protect us from all anxiety” he would say “protect us from all useless anxiety”, I noticed and I asked him why and he said that in his experience anxiety could be call to do something but that worrying about something you couldn’t change was useless and scary so he wanted protection from that. It’s true, when I am worried about something it’s usually a prompt to take action. So if I’m worried about money, it’s probably because I haven’t been paying attention to my bank balance, once I check it and know where I am then the anxiety goes away. That’s healthy and you can see the emotion is useful.
There’s another sort of anxiety that isn’t healthy and faith does help me with that, I don’t compare my life to others or worry overmuch about what much happen next. Not just because ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ but because I know that however good it is, it could all go tomorrow, but that however bad it is, it’ll all work out.
So be content with who you are and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you, He’ll promote you at the right time1 Peter 5:6-6
When I was confirmed I agreed to God’s Plan for my life and I say it every time I say The Lord’s Prayer – ‘Thy will be done/On earth as it is in Heaven’. So while my life is by no means perfect and it’s often not clear to me about what exactly God’s plan is, I know it’s there and when I most need it to, it’ll becomes clear.
That’s not to say I find it easy. I don’t. What I know is that at the times when it has felt unbearable, something has happened to make it bearable. At the times when I have been in the places that God wanted me to be, it has been transcendent.
This isn’t how faith works for everyone, but it’s how it works for me.
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.Galatians 6:4-5