anxiety bunnies

Anxiety is an old friend of mine. For most of my life, I've had regular visits from "anxiety bunnies" ... that's what my mom called those running thoughts, pesky worries and what ifs. I'm not sure why she called them bunnies, but I suppose it has something to do with the fact that they keep popping up and breeding if you're not careful.

These days, the anxiety bunnies make far fewer appearances and don't stay for quite as long. They do seem to enjoy popping up though when things are busy though or when I have a lot on my plate. Thankfully, I've learned a variety of coping mechanisms, not the least of which is prayer. Which I suppose is why today's Gospel reading is one of my all time favorites.
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

It's not so much that it's a "fix" for anxiety bunnies. It's certainly not a cure ... my thoughts are known to race, toil and spin from time to time, and I do have a tendency to worry about tomorrow when I should probably just focus on today.

I think why this passage is so important to me is just that it's in the Gospels at all. It's another manifestation of the incredible gift of the Incarnation. Jesus gets what it's like to be human. He understands that even if the worries aren't important in the grand scheme of things, they are very real. So real that he took the time to talk about them in very concrete and down to earth terms in the sermon on the mount. So real that the Gospel writers decided to include these words. Somehow, that makes all the difference. It helps me to put my anxiety bunnies in perspective, to listen to what they have to tell me, to pay attention to them when they show up, and perhaps most importantly to take them to prayer rather than just letting them breed and take over.

1 comment:

Anne-Marie said...

I too suffer occasionally from anxiety and I too love that passage from the gospel. Your mum's phrase "anxiety bunnies" is great - I'll remember that. It makes those anxieties seem less significant!