By Allison Gingras
Fear and anxiety often overshadow my life. I tease that the title of my next book will be, Waiting for the Other Shoe to Fall. Sure. I trust and love God; and I try hard to be open to whatever God has for me — as long as it is good, healthy, and includes minimal (or no) discomfort.
The Fear of the “May Happen”
Unlike Jesus entering into Jerusalem ready to fulfill God’s Will, I spend far too much time avoiding God and his Will. Perhaps I am hoping that if I am reticent and well-behaved, I will never have to face whatever cross may be lurking before me. My struggle has become my fear of the cross. I am profoundly aware the energy spent worrying about what may be instead of recognizing all the good things God has in store for us.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Embracing My Actual Cross
A few years ago, as I shared my wavering trust with God due to my anxieties, a priest gave me a very unusual penance. He advised me to pray the Our Father three times. Ok, that’s not the unusual part.
What was strange is that he said when I reached “give us this day,” I was not to say “our daily bread,” but rather I was to make it personal and insert, “a love of the cross that God has for me.” I was to say, “Give me this day, a love of the cross that God has for me.” He was telling me to trust that those crosses chosen explicitly for me would be the perfect size and weight. He was gently encouraging me to be present at the moment and not anxiously anticipate what may come.
Walk in Her Sandals
Today, the WINE Book Club will begin reading, Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion Through the Eyes of Women. During this first week’s readings, we’ll witness Jesus come into Jerusalem. Jesus hailed as a King, within that same week lifted on would embrace the cross explicitly chosen for him. As Jesus enters Jerusalem, we do not read how he is anxious and worried; instead, it appears he allows himself to be present in the present moment.
The good God will bring from the cross will elude many of his disciples as they watch the week unfold; much as God’s plan of sheer goodness eludes me when I face my cross. Usually, I want to flee like Peter, pretending if I don’t acknowledge what is happening, I cannot be affected by it. My prayer as I read through chapter one and contemplate Palm Sunday; will be to embrace my God-given gift of receptivity better and joyfully accept whatever God has for me on this journey.
Lord Jesus, help me to be open to what the Father has for me. Help me to best use my glorious gift of receptivity to fear not and to bear witness to your redemptive work!
Allison Gingras – ReconciledToYou.com – shares the beauty of the Catholic Faith with honesty, laughter, and relatable examples from the everyday, ordinary life! She has created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (Gracewatch.Media/Connected) which includes her book, The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites Us into a Life of Grace. She hosts A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on BreadboxMedia.com Allison cherishes her role as WINE Steward for WINE: Women in the New Evangelization, helping with the WINE Book Clubs and Virtual Vineyard.
I can so relate to your message here! Thank you, Allison! Happy Lent!
Thank YOU Gwen!!! I love that I am not alone in this crazy journey :))) HAPPY Lent to you as well. I am such a Catholic Dork, it is like Christmas MORNING excitement in my heart today !! LOL
I seem to be getting this message about “don’t worry” or “don’t fear” from several angles, so I think this is perfect for my Ash Wednesday! And someone said the antidote to negativity is feeling gratitude, so I am trying to think of things I’m grateful for when any worry/fear creeps in! Thank you for this perfect message!
What wonderful advice. I seem to be stuck on the difficulties and disappointments from my past, which are so not outweighed by the blessings. I too will focus on gratitude over fear and worry!! Thank YOU so much for your kind words and for being a friend of WINE!
To me it’s letting go of the control I believe I have in any given situation. It’s about trusting God. He has the full picture of my life. I’m liking only at a snapshot.
Today after I read your comment I was thinking. I do not have control (or the amount of control over every situation I want lol) but I AM LOVED. Trusting God begins in remembering HE loved us first and will forever. AND I Love that analogy — YES we see one frame, but he’s got the whole movie!!! <3
Allison – you have said what so many of us feel as well. Thank you!
Thanks Alyssa, that means the world to me!!
“Give me this day, a love of the cross that God has for me.” That is really beautiful. By sharing a part of your penance with us, you are affecting change in us too. I don’t really share my penance openly, so thank you for that. And RE: “not being in control”; I offer that you do have control. Knowing God is in control, we can accept it or not. So when you accept that God is control, you are in control b/c you’ve made the choice to. You are not powerless b/c of God’s Love. Happy Lent!
Tina – YOU are brilliant. YES you are right, I do have control and I DO accept the God has me in the palm of his hand!!! thank you <3
I JUST love LENT... that makes me a Catholic Dork I think, but happily I accept that too. ha ha
God’s great providence (and maybe even a little sense of humor). This was in my email today, IN case we thought He wasn’t paying attention:
“Is My hand too short to random?? Have I not the strength deliver?” Isaiah 50:23b
LISTENING TO GOD THE FATHER
In the beauty of the morning, My light dispels the shadows of night. In like manner My Spirit, the light of the world, dispels the shadows of your inner darkness. Where I dwell there is light.
Your doubts are doors into that darkness. Your questions are latches that open the doors into the gloom. Questions that cannot and will not be answered in this life lead to doubt and even to despair. But you can choose to set them aside and remain in the light of faith and trust. You can choose to walk by faith instead of insisting on walking by the sight of reason and answers to unanswerable questions. It is a humbler road, but one on which I journey with those who choose it. Be one of them, My child