Anxiety – 1. a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concern about a possible future event 2 Psychiatry an abnormal state like this, characterized by a feeling of being powerless and unable to cope with threatening events, typically imaginary, and by physical tension, as shown by sweating, trembling, etc 3 an eager but often uneasy desire – Webster’s
Webster’s Dictionary indicates anxiety can be a result of an over active imagination. I have no idea why I am such an anxious person. While I consider myself a positive person, I do tend to think of everything that could go wrong. I am definitely an introvert and can feel some mild social anxiety in a large group of people I do not know. I worry when I know I will have to speak to a group of people. I worry about family members who are struggling with health, or financial problems. I worry about the day when both my parents are gone.
Hand in hand with this anxiety is a strong streak of perfectionism. Perhaps perfectionism and an introvert personality are the roots of my anxiety. I strive to please and don’t like to disappoint. Sometimes I tire of being dependable. I worry that my anxiety reveals that I do not trust God enough with my life. I do feel that I am getting better at trusting God. The daily praying of the Psalms from the Liturgy of the Hours serves as a way to bookend my day in prayer. While it is simply impossible to pick one Psalm that speaks the most to my anxious nature, I can share one that is an essence of comfort to me.
1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
3 God will not allow your foot to slip, your guardian does not sleep.
4 Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.
5 The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life.
8 The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever. – NAB
At Mass, one of my favorite parts are the priest’s words at the end of the Our Father. I pray them interiorly as he speaks —
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. – Liturgy of the Eucharist
In the Admonitions of St. Francis, # 28 reads as thus
XXVII: Virtue Puts Vice to Flight
1 Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
2 Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor disturbance.
3 Where there is poverty with joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.
4 Where there is rest and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor restlessness.
5 Where there is fear of the Lord to guard an entrance, there the enemy cannot have a place to enter.
6 Where there is a heart full of mercy and discernment, there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.
(Francis of Assisi: The Saint – Early Documents p. 136-7)
I don’t think it is any coincidence that the lessening of my anxieties over the last few months is a result of a renewed commitment to praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I had let this practice slide more than a couple of years — blaming my full-time college + full-time employee schedule. I knew I was out of step when I see the priest wearing red vestments and don’t know whose feast we are celebrating. During Lent of this year, I renewed my commitment and now it comes first on rising, first when I get home from work, and before I turn out my lights at night. My spiritual calendar is once again in harmony with The Church.
For further consideration, check the links below. You can listen on your computer – an iPod is not necessary. I highly recommend Fr. Jay — the iPadre.
Fr. Jay Finelli – The iPadre podcast episode #115 – Office Hours
Catholic Answers Live – Is Anxiety Ruining Your Peace?