As the very beloved Fr. Savio said to me recently, when you feel the weight of anxieties, all you have to do is reach out to God. When you feel anxious, the devil is trying to weigh you down. You can overcome him by taking that small step and reaching out to God. As Fr. Savio exhibits so well, there is always a positive outlook to our troubles…God is always with you.
So, how? How do we reach out to God? I would like to give you a few ways that the saints and fathers of our church recommend and ones that I find helpful for me when I am feeling the weight of the world:
The beauty of prayer is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay! You can talk to God like you are talking to a friend. He will always have time to listen to you. A simple prayer, found in Matthew 6:9, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one." Also, don’t forget your rosary, as it can be helpful for many scripted prayers. (Mathew 6:9-13, NRSVCE)
Read the Bible –
We have so many lessons to learn. Even as we get older, our perspectives change, and we view stories differently and ask different questions. I challenge you to look up one of your favorite childhood Bible stories. I bet you think about something differently or ask a question you may not have asked before. By spending time in the Word, we can learn something new, which may help us overcome or, at the very least, bring peace to our current situation. One of my favorites out of Matthew, Mark, or Luke is when Jesus ventures out with the disciples on a lake, when a raging storm overcomes them, and Jesus is fast asleep. The disciples woke him in fear of their lives. Then Jesus replied to them, “Where is your faith?” When Jesus calmed the raging winds and rocky water, the disciples were in amazement. What would you have thought if you were on the boat? Would you have feared the weather or held faith in the Lord? What would have been your reaction to Jesus walking on water!? (Mark 4:35-41, NRSVCE)
I have been told that often people carry around cumbersome burdens as they simply feel like they have no one to talk to. Talk to God. I would also encourage you to reach out to your local parish for spiritual direction or confession. In the meantime, write all your thoughts and feelings down. It can help you process the emotions you are feeling. Often, just writing it down can help you feel some relief.
Listen to Songs/Sing –
As many before me have said, music can draw us out of difficult emotions…and the beauty of music can bring us closer to God. We are not alone in our feelings. Music can help in expressing what we feel. There are so many songs in which you may feel a connection, and often the genres do not distinctly matter. Whether you are cruising down the road with the radio blaring or finding a quiet place to sit and reflect with soft background music, it can help you relax and clear your mind. A recommendation of mine is Lauren Daigle’s Turn Your Eyes. An old song with a new twist. The song goes a little like this, “Oh soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?, There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free.”
I hope that these recommended opportunities to reach out and connect with God help you find comfort. The last thing I want to leave as an encouragement. The Lord replies to the disciples in John 16:33, “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! (NRSVCE)” We can turn our grief in to joy, turn that negative into positive, turn the closed door into an open one.
May we always find peace in knowing that Christ the King is in control.