We live in uncertain times.
The present economic crisis has many people worried about their present and future financial situations.
With the recent job layoffs, some are concerned about their own company’s ability to sustain the present workforce.
Meanwhile, drug-related crimes have rendered many neighborhoods unsafe. And the fear of catching the so-called “swine” flu has made us mistrustful when we deal with others.
We also live in constant fear of what terrorists might do next.
Stress can be detrimental to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Stress can play havoc on our immune system, elevate our blood pressure and speed up the aging process.
A person under constant tension can experience various sicknesses, depression, lack of energy, heart attacks, a feeling of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.
What do we do in the midst of today’s tension?
First, we have to step back, look at the “big picture” and be positive.
St. Teresa of Avila had some great advise for us, “Let nothing disturb you; let nothing demoralize you. All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. Those who have God lack nothing. God alone suffices.”
Jesus told us the same thing when he said, “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!” (John 16:33)
Again in John’s gospel, he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
An unknown author left us with this following poem:
“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
“When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
“When the funds are low and the debts are high,
“And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
“When care is pressing you down a bit
“Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
“Success is failure turned inside out,
“The silver tint on the clouds of doubt,
“And you can never tell how close you are,
“It may be near when it seems afar.
“So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
“It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.”
Noah benShea gives us the following advice:
• Don’t confuse having less with being less, having more with being more, or what you have with who you are.
• Prayer creates a path where there is none and turns your stumbling blocks into building blocks.
• Put your faith, and not your fears, in charge. Courage isn’t the absence of fears but how you wrestle with them.
• This too shall pass. Change is the only constant. To take a breath, you must release your breath.
• Do what you can, but never forget that letting go is very different from giving up. Of all the things you can make in life, remember you make all the difference in your life.
• Tough times don’t require you to be tough on yourself. Find the courage to embrace happiness.
Susan Piver reminds us, “My favorite definition of fearlessness is this: the ability to remain soft and open, even under very difficult circumstances. Most often, fear causes us to shut down to our own and others’ humanity.
“We just want to get away, but the quickest way out is to stay. If you can slow down a bit, you can see that fear rises, abides and dissolves on its own. Allowing this process is the mark of the spiritual warrior.”
St. Paul assures us, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31)