I’m almost embarrassed to say it out loud because it’s so abstract. And because it doesn’t have the same ring to it, the same depth as fasting from food or something more tangible and concrete.
But here we go anyway. This Lent I am giving up worrying.
Yes. That’s right. It sounds a bit silly doesn’t it? But I assure you, it is incredibly real. For anyone who has struggled with anxiety, you’ll know what I mean. Fear can capture us in a headlock of massive proportions. It binds us and won’t let us go. And as irrational as it may be, in that moment, anxieties and fears are so very, very, very real – as real as you and me.
For me it has often been a silent and hidden challenge. One I’ve suffered with on my own (and with those the very closest to me). It’s not an obvious thing. But it comes up. All the time.
And I’m exhausted by it! And as the time approached for Lent to begin, it came to me that this would be my 40 day journey to resurrection.
That I can focus on this area of my life and be mindful to let go. Not of food or social media or coffee or chocolate. But of the fear and worry that perpetually rob me of joy. That perpetually hold me back from trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of God. That keeps me from being the creature of freedom I was intended to be.
I thought about it a lot in preparation. Because, as a friend mentioned just yesterday, it’s not really the kind of thing you can tick off and say, “nope, didn’t eat today. Nope. Didn’t turn on the TV.”
What I am doing is being mindful every day of the fears and worries that lodge themselves in my heart. The moments where my heart beats faster and where I dwell on things. And I force myself to stop. And meditate on Philippians 4:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And pray this beautiful Jesuit prayer (thank you Jesuit Prayer App!)
Lord, deepen our desire and our confidence to go forward as your servant. Release us from feelings of inadequacy that prevent us from living for you with bold vision and determination. And as we travel through the morning, afternoon, and evening of our day, place on our hearts the finger print of your tender love: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
And I do hope and pray that as Easter approaches, there will be a transforming experience of redemption in my life.