For our Book Club, Deanna Bartalini considers our need to accept God's love as we strive to get rid of worry.
We’ve been reading Give up Worry for Lent now for a few weeks and hopefully, Gary’s words are not only resonating with you but prompting you to try his suggestions. This letting go, trusting God, and giving up worry is a slow and steady process. And as it has been said, you may often find yourself slipping back into old habits or thought patterns.
My favorite line in this chapter is on page 59, “when we are faced with a challenge, Jesus expects us to do our best and let him do the rest.” I’m good at doing my best, usually. When I like what I’m doing and things are going smoothly, it’s easy to do my best. I struggle with letting Jesus do the rest. Big-time ride on the struggle bus, as they say.
As I read each day’s offering, I can feel a small shift in my spirit and in my thoughts. Worry is useless. It robs us of our joy and peace. The peace is there for us if we surrender, are honest with God, go to Jesus with our concerns, and believe, deep in our souls, that he cares about those concerns. As Gary says, “He cares about you as if you were the only person alive.”
The title for the reflection for Day 23 is “Putting Limits on God,” and as I read that, my thought was, “That’s wrong and I don’t do that.” Right, well, maybe I do every now and again. Because God is busy, and my problems are not so important. I put limits on God when I don’t ask Him to help me with everything from finding a parking spot to my daily schedule to my next project. He cares more than we want to believe. It’s a bit overwhelming to contemplate how much God loves me. I think trading worry for peace is easier when we accept God’s great love and His desire to help us with His gifts of grace and mercy.
I’d like to urge you to follow Gary’s suggestion about a daily conversation time with our Lord.
Make the commitment to spend a fixed amount of time each day in conversation with Jesus. How much time? Ten minutes is a great place to start. (77)
Take the time not for praying your prayer list or Rosary or reading Scripture but to sit and rest in Him. I often say this prayer when I go into a time of quiet, “Thank you, Lord, for this time, this place, this space. Fill me as I sit with you.” Ten minutes can make a difference in your mood and attitude. It can help you turn from worry to peace.
I can’t wait to finish the daily reflections and see how this time of prayer and reflection helped me give up worry and find peace in Christ. How about you?
Questions for reflection
What holds you back from accepting God’s grace, mercy, and love? I think this is a foundational question for our lives. Your answer may show you a connection between those things and what you worry about. These may be things to confess or ask God for healing.
On Day 23, Gary suggests taking one going to God with the most impossible problem in your life. I’d like to offer a method to get to that problem. Make a list of your problems. All of them, from the overflowing laundry to your child’s teething to family members who are sick. Pray over that list and consider which one, if solved, would help other things in your life be a bit easier.
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Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
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About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, writer, speaker and content creator. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com online community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through live, interactive faith studies. Her weekly Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.