Ronan Scully of Self Help Africa
Anxiety or worry is an illness of our time. It comes from our inability to do well in the present moment. So as we start into the second half of our year, I have put together some thoughts that might help us relook at some of our life choices and help us refocus on this journey called life.
Each day we get up from our rest is a time for giving thanks for blessings received, asking forgiveness for transgressions committed, forgiving those who have aggrieved us, and asking God for his grace and strength for the future as we face into what we now call the "new normal". We are aware of needing to make decisions about both our past and future. We cannot reject the past, but we can allow it to be redeemed. We cannot determine the future, but we can allow it to be permeated with the love and the mercy of God. I can look back on the first part of the year and the resolutions or new beginnings that I made and see how often I have failed to live up to those.
I can look forward in hope that after the worries of the past two years I can try to live my resolutions or new beginnings better, but, most of all, I can decide, here and now, to try to live today as it should be lived, because 'today' is all we ever really know. So, for me, let's continue with our 'new normal" and a renewed sense of purpose about what I am called to be and do and to try and love deeply from our hearts and have the courage to "be not afraid".
Faith over Fear
When trying to truly love always it will entail many hardships and costs. But you have to keep trying. I know myself for I have failed miserably at times. True love when it's for real gets its hands dirty. It takes a chance. It goes out on a limb. Love makes a statement and leaves a legacy. It does the unexpected, surprising, and stirring. It performs acts that steal the heart and leave an impression on our souls. Often these acts are never forgotten. A lot of the time we are afraid to love and to have the courage to truly care for others. Being afraid is an uncomfortable feeling, especially during times in our life when things are uncertain, when we don’t know what might happen and we become filled with uncertainty and worries about the future. While many things remain outside our control, our mindset is key to coping with difficult circumstances and confidently facing the unknown. Uncertainty is all around us, never more so than today as we see mental health problems, homelessness, poverty, food insecurity and war and conflicts all around us. Whether it concerns the global pandemic of the coronavirus, the various conflicts and wars in our world, the economy, our finances, health, and relationships, much of what lies ahead in life remains uncertain.
Yet as human beings, we crave security. We want to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives. Fear and uncertainty can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless. It can drain us emotionally and trap us in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios about what tomorrow may bring. We’re all different in how much uncertainty we can tolerate in life. Some people seem to enjoy taking risks and living unpredictable lives, while others find the randomness of life deeply distressing. But all of us have a limit. If you feel overwhelmed by uncertainty and worry, it’s important to know that you’re not alone; many of us are in the same boat. It’s also important to realize that no matter how helpless and hopeless you feel, there are steps you can take to better deal with uncontrollable circumstances, alleviate your anxiety, and face the unknown with more confidence. For me I put my faith and trust in God and strive to "be not afraid." As Mark Twain wrote, "I have been through some terrible things in life, some of which actually happened." It is up to us to try to choose faith over fear. When life seems to be out of control, let us try to choose to be calm, cool and collected.
Have the Courage
“Do not be afraid” offers us hope, strength and courage when we are in doubt or struggling in any way. Mother Teresa said “Inhale courage, Exhale fear.” We are all capable of following the belief that God is always with us, trusting that we will receive love and always more love. Fr. Richard Rohr phrased fear in an acronym: False, Evidence, Appearing, Real. Maybe we should think about these words and realize that we can face up to what we think is fear. By living an authentic faith life we can face hardship, can be empowered to live more generously, more trustfully and yet, more courageously. Let's have the courage to try. Have the courage to do it. Have the courage to be you. Have the courage to be who you really are. Have the courage to follow your heart. Have the courage to love. Have the courage to hope. Have the courage to care and protect. Have the courage to believe in forever. Have the courage to leave masks behind. Have the courage to believe in God. Have the courage to pray. Have the courage to look beyond appearances to souls. Have the courage to conquer fears and addictions. Have the courage to live a life of love, charity, faith and compassion. Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to say yes. Have the courage to forgive. Have the courage to seek forgiveness. Have the courage to say sorry. Have the courage to stand up for the truth. Have the courage to call out fake news. Have the courage to ask for what you need. Have the courage to ask for help. Have the courage to challenge wrongs. Have the courage to walk away. Have the courage to believe in true love. Have the courage to have confidence in yourself. Have the courage to go after your dreams and beliefs. Have courage to live the life you want to live. Have the courage to act mercifully. Have the courage to live humbly. Have the courage to live a life full of faith. Have the courage to truly live a life worth living.
Thought for the Week
As your thought for the week, don't ever forget for even a second how very important and how very special each and every one of us are. Please try to love deeply from your heart always and for the good of everyone. In the end, the goal of real life is love. Look at your life's experiences and see what you are doing about them and as the saying goes, go after your dreams and do not be afraid, for Life can be and is short! These last few years for all of us at a personal, local, national and global level have been filled with worry, anxiety and fear as we have witnessed so many worrying things happen in our world, seemingly at times out of control. We have perhaps experienced firsthand the impact of what it is to lose a loved one. It is only natural that we are afraid. Perhaps, now more than ever, we need the encouraging and affirming words of Jesus, ‘Do not be afraid.'
So may everyday be a thoughtful courageous day for you. May the light of your soul guide you. May the light of your soul bless the work that you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, courage and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, courage, trust, faith, possibilities and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected. May God always control the boat of your life and grant you the grace to continue trusting in Him and to be able to resist life's strong winds and storms. May you always go with Him and let Him guide you always. May the measure of your maturity be your love for God and your love for others. “Pray, Hope, Love and Don’t Worry!!!” Amen."
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