Have you genuinely learned to take it easy or does life seem to be the survival of the fittest? Oh, sure you probably know how to relax on the beach, if that's your thing, or enjoy a movie, but can you take it easy in the middle of the events that happen in life? You can be taught how to do this.
We can learn from many aspects in life that we perhaps fail to notice. Animals are one example of existing and trusting in a higher power of which they're unaware. Although creatures prepare for confrontation if it's needed, they seek peace. Mammals that depend on other wildlife for food attack so they can survive. Then they sleep or play, fretting little if at all.
Pets, wildlife and insects seem to act in accord with the advice of Jesus more than humans do. Matthew 6 presents a lengthy treatise on non-worrying. The Scripture goes into much depth in explaining why one has no reason whatsoever to be concerned about what will happen to him. Matthew talks about anxiety and uses examples of objects we are familiar with to show people what to do. Verse 34 in the chapter says: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
If we try to force ourselves to stay calm in all circumstances we fail, because it's like happiness: If you chase it, you will never find it. But if you realize this fact and relax -- which isn't easy -- the best happens. Even though we can't always see the value in suffering, there's a hidden blessing that you will eventually recognize. So understand: "Don't worry, tomorrow truly will take care of itself." Your feeling anxious does nothing to improve the circumstance. God, in his time allows every event, tragedy and occurrence to make a difference. You may be unable to see how, presently, but keep the faith and open your eyes and ears to see what the Holy Spirit shows to you.
There are many causes for being anxious. A main explanation is fear. If you look at why you're scared, it's almost always because you fear something unpleasant will be the end result. If you have a sick child, you fear he may become worse. If you lose your job you fear you may be unable to find another, one you like or that pays a comparable salary. If your husband or wife dies, you face many challenges, depending on your makeup. You fear loneliness, perhaps financial deprivation, the idea your companion is no longer with you and genuine sadness. Those emotions take time to heal. You must become reoriented to a life without your significant other and face numerous other adjustments.
Those undergoing divorce experience many of the same fears. Both take their toll. Yet Jesus says: "Do not be anxious about tomorrow." He isn't merely talking about food, shelter and clothing; he's referring to people's emotions, health, job situation and whatever other hurdles you may encounter. Try to take it easy, and let Jesus help you overcome your anxiety.
When you desire a goal and often times think you will never attain the prize, take it easy and don't push so hard to make it happen. There are forces at work of which you're unaware. So many times when one does his best and then hands it over to God, results fall into place even though we seem to be doing little. This doesn't mean you should become lazy and fail to attain training, counseling or whatever else common sense tells you that you need. But the worst thing we can do when we're nervous, sad and afraid is to panic. When you panic you become incapacitated and freeze up.
Remember to take it easy regardless of what happens. Something positive can happen when you're seemingly doing nothing.
Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.