Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Phil 4:6-7
Anxiety, stress, and worry are silently destroying lives. Some stress about the past, others the present, and many of us worry about the future.
As just a few examples we might wonder, with anger in our hearts, why our boss (or co-worker, or really anyone) was such a jerk to us last week. We might worry if we’ll be able to send our kids to college. And, of course, what about the leak currently under our house that will likely cost thousands of dollars to repair (true story in the Pereira household)?
We all have issues. No one’s exempt. And, sadly, these obstacles – past, present, and future – aren’t ever going away.
So, the way I see it, we have two choices when it comes to dealing with these obstacles. We can accept and deal with them. Or we can allow them to cripple us into submission.
The Stoics often wrote about “amor fati” which, translated from its original Latin, means the love of fate. One of my favorite Stoics, Epictetus, once said, “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”
I especially love this quote since “loving our fate” doesn’t mean we have to sit around all relaxed and carefree. Instead, it simply means accepting what life throws at us while doing our very best to take the appropriate action.
Put another way, instead of worrying about whether we’ll die of a heart attack we’d be far better served by cleaning up our diets and mixing in some exercise. We can, after all, control what we eat and how we move our bodies.
And instead of worrying about money, we’d all be better off channeling our energy into creating and following a budget (Pro Tip: Mint.com is incredible). Again, we can control what we spend and what we don’t spend.
Oh, and what about the next time we get cut off in traffic? Will we get upset, honk our horn, and possibly communicate via a single finger “hand signal?” If you choose to get upset, and react in anger, what will you have accomplished? Not much. So, instead of getting upset try to accept the situation as it is and move on. And if you’re feeling up to it… say a prayer for the person that cut you off. Perhaps they’re rushing to be with a dying family member. You just never know.
Finally, and most importantly, instead of worrying and stressing about the state of our spiritual lives we’d be far better off getting to confession, if needed, before making our Lord, and His Holy Catholic Church, the center of our lives. This, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is within our control.
And as cool as the Stoics were… they’re no match for the Holy Prophet Isaiah who may have summed things up best when he wrote:
Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. -Is 41:10
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!