About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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"If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm. The words of the preacher must be measured, so that the Lord, more than his minister, will be the center of attention."
— Pope Francis (11/24/2013)

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Day 64: Observing Anxiety vs. Trust in us and Around us
published 25 February 2012 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

What you will read now is part of a series of 100 spiritual challenges. Each blog can be viewed separately, but for maximum benefit a reader needs to start with the introductory blog of November 18, 2011, and then continue step by step. Day One begins on Sunday, November 20, 2011.    [ Click here for 100 STEPS ]

Theme 10 The Challenge of LovingTrust vs. Anxiety and Worry

“Perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18
When we read accounts in the New Testament of disciples going to martyrdom, we marvel at their fearlessness. Surely awaiting being eaten by lions or being crucified would make us feel total horror and despair. Yet the martyrs were full of trust that Jesus would help them in their torments and bring them to eternal happiness.

Many are our fears. They range from fear of being late for an appointment, fear of failing examinations, fear for our loved ones in trouble or danger, all the way to fear of terminal illness or fear of violence including, for some, the fear of violence of members of our own households; finally, fear of eternal punishment for us or loved ones.

Yet, we are taught that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”(Psalm 111:10) Since we are weak, sinful creatures subject to all kinds of evils and sufferings, we are called to work out our salvation “in fear and trembling.” (Psalm 2:11)

Even small threats to our security or welfare can trigger an immediate sense of fear. This fear can be positive when it causes us to be careful, plan well, and do whatever we can to avoid failure. Trusting in God in such situations helps, but may not remove a certain tremulous weakness.

In 12 Step Emotions Anonymous they say that that severe anxiety about being rejected or fear of falling apart shows that one’s emotions are out of control and that we need to bring them to God who alone can heal us of such fears. In Theophostic Prayer Ministry, which I am studying, such anxiety is analyzed in this way. The fearful person is to try to locate the first time in childhood that he or she felt anxious. Then ask, “what was the lie the devil was telling me?” For example, the lie could be that if I was lost in a grocery store my mother would never come back. Then we are to picture, say, Jesus in that same situation holding one of our hands and guiding our mother back to us. In Unbound deliverance prayer the leader has the person in emotional turmoil make this kind of petition, “I renounce the spirit of anxiety and lay it at the feet of Jesus.”

We need to avoid sinking into a quicksand of fear when challenged by situations we cannot control. We need to beg God to give us trust in His perfect love; in His provident care, even when results are disappointing or tragic. In the end, even if the worst things happen on earth, what matters most is our salvation and the salvation of those we love. We believe that God loves us and them even more than we do. When our fear becomes tortuous, we need to cast ourselves in prayer into His loving heart.

Observing Anxiety vs. Trust in Us and Around Us

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Dr. Ronda’s examples: I noticed a cause for anxiety in myself is looking for hidden motives vs. believing what others say about what they think or feel. For example, I imagine that if someone says the slightest critical thing that they don’t like me. But, when questioned, this person says, “I just made a comment. It has nothing to do with liking you. I do like you.” Why shouldn’t I believe that? If I bring it to God in prayer, it is easier to believe what triggers some kind of childhood wound. One friend remarked about this type of anxiety, “two-year olds think that way. They ask for reassurance any time they are criticized.” I noticed that when there is any emotional insecurity in my life I get sufficiently upset to have the fantasy that I am falling apart. I saw myself obsessing about the reaction of an authority figure to me. I recalled a 12 Step method that involves writing out an anxiety and putting it in a box you call “the God box.” You say “God take care of this.” I made this God box and put in the name of the person I am afraid of. I notice these anxieties in others around me: fear for a daughter far away and the cat’s fear of a neighboring cat.

Prayer: Jesus, my Savior, what does “savior” mean if not that You will save me from everything that frightens me, one way or another. The worst that could happen is that the worst happens in earthly terms, and then You will gather this little wretch into Your embrace and nothing will ever hurt me again. When waves of anxiety come over me, remind me to picture You and to believe that “God alone is enough,” as St. Teresa of Avila used to say.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda Chervin by visiting RondaView. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website, rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.

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