Anxiety, Change, and a Whole Lot of Trust

Not too long ago, I was surveying the to-do list of what seems a million things as my family adjusts to our newborn, my postpartum medical issues, and we prepare to move in the next month. The more I considered everything, the more I began realizing my breath shortening, my pulse getting quicker, and my palms starting to sweat. For those with anxiety, you will certainly appreciate those signs of an upcoming panic attack. And, I was quickly able to take steps to ward off that particular panic attack.

One of my favorite prayer times is when I am elbow deep in dishwater. At those moments, I am able to fully focus on speaking with God, and often find myself staring out of the window perched above our sink, either laying my heart on the counter for Him, or listening to His whispers in my heart. The day I just previously described was one of those days – and, recognizing those symptoms – and taking the concerns to prayer – was one of the ways in which I felt my anxiety lessen.

As I stood there at the sink, wiping my hands to dry, I heard the whisper on my heart, “Why question? Why worry? Has God not always provided, even in the midst of doubt?” And, I began thinking about the times in my life in which I felt as though the deck were stacked against my odds – and, the one thing which continues to be constant in my life.

God is always present, always available, and believe it or not, always trustworthy. 

We may not always see Him as trustworthy, and I know quite a few individuals who have left not just the Catholic Church, but faith altogether, because of their doubt in Him. Their doubt about His plans lead them to question His existence altogether. Their lack of trust seeps into their view of God, and taints their ability to recognize His plans and designs as they come about.

And yet, when I experience anxiety, I am doing what those I know have done – I am lacking trust. I lack trust in His word, His plans, and His ultimate goal.

When I consider that, I realize I am not alone. All of us go through a period in which we experience doubt, and we struggle to trust. Our society actually doesn’t make trusting God any easier. We are constantly surrounded by our own doubting Thomases in our lives, and we even experience our own moments of being like Thomas. However, our moments of doubt or lack of trust don’t ever seem to be openly discussed.

Heraclitus is credited with saying, “There is nothing permanent except change… The only constant in life is change.” For so many individuals, change can be daunting, and it can be scary. During times of change, trust can be elusive.

However, St. Augustine is quoted as saying, “Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.” God had a divine plan – one which includes every single one of us. And, as St. Teresa of Avila is credited with saying, “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.” As we undergo the constancy of change, we don’t have insight into God’s plan – for others, or for ourselves. And yet, frequently we fall prey to the whispers of the devil, telling us to doubt God’s plans. We succumb to the notion that we should know and be able to control the change we experience in our lives.

When we lack trust, we are trying to control the change, but we are also trying to convince ourselves that we know best. We are, in effect, telling God that He has no clue what He is doing. We tap into, and channel, Satan’s reported favorite sin … the deadly sin of pride. And, as St. Faustina reminds us, “A humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God.”

Therefore, let us each take account of our lives, our approach to change, and our level of intimacy with God. Let us commit to the countercultural notion of placing our trust in something, or rather, Someone. He is not One who visible to us at this point, but He is visible to us through others. The One in whom we should place all our trust has our best intentions in His heart and knows exactly what He is doing. As Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believed.”

When all else fails, Jesus Himself, through St. Faustina, gave us the perfect mantra and prayer to repeat over and over again. To allow us to fake it until we make it, if you will…

Jesus, I trust in You.

A simple, powerful, radical statement, which is guaranteed to change our lives, and the world around us.

I’d love to hear from you:

What has helped you during times in which you struggle to trust God’s plan?

How have you learned to trust His plan in all areas?

In which area do you struggle most to trust Him, and how do you address those struggles head on?