Back in July of this year, I wrote a post about a line in the Anima Christi that struck me. And around that time, I had entered a period of detoxing from anxieties that had been too much with me.
It's time, apparently, for another layer of to be attended to.
This year I have found a wholistic approach both necessary and useful in addressing things I may have tried to approach only spiritually in the past. That in and of itself can create spiritual problems and anxieties.
So, physical exercise really and truly has taken up a place in my life disciplines. (In my younger days I liked to think I could ignore my body and it would always serve me fine. Hah.) One phrase I hear in my exercise programs has also been helpful in my discernment: What is coming up for you? Can you just be with it? As in, this stretch is uncomfortable! But if I stay with it (no pain lasts forever, as St. Teresa reminds me) it will be easier to do next time.
Well, right now I feel something coming up for me, and I've learned that what I need to do is bring it into prayer. Allow it into my honest attention, and bring myself before the Lord without trying to hide from the fear and discomfort it brings up. And not to try to handle it myself (which almost always is going to mean giving myself an easy pass on an immoral path, or even more likely for me, to judge and beat myself mercilessly for struggling in the first place, and to end up a ball of anxiety.)
Bring it to the Lord, and be with it. Honestly. Openly.
A somewhat suprising interaction the other day sent up an immediate flair of anxiety. On the surface, it could have been considered obvious why it was so, but of course surface level answers are wholly untrustworthy and porous. Easy answers like control, and they fear getting deposed by the pursuit of hard truths.
Fortuantely I have many people in my life who have set themselves to pursue God's presence, where truth is love, and love is truth: namely my Carmelite community, and my daily Mass community. They help me bring this anxiety flair before the Lord, honestly and openly, to be defused.
And the Lord says, behold! I am your safety, but I need to you know me as your place of safety more deeply than you do now. For you to live in this world in peace, not reactive, not fearful, facing real and actual dangers, facing real and actual temptations, I need you to hide yourself in Me more deeply. I am the only place where you are going to find serenity, strength, courage, and clarity.
I'm going to quote myself for my own record, from last July:
What I see now is that I had always been separated from God to a degree by my anxious clinging, my fear of abandonment, my lack of ability to trust that He would keep me safe. He was doing a series of surguries in my soul. Really, before each painful one in that series there was an implant of joy and safety. Hard to explain, but in retrospect, it's extremely clear.
And then he basically crushed the deformed measure I had made for Him.
And it took time, but a new thing grew in its place, and is still growing. It is vibrant, and it is beautiful.
Separated from You, let me never be.
It is sin that separates us, and it is His love that unites us to Him. But it isn't only our active, personal sins that separate us. It is also these areas of weakness due to woundings which have never gotten full Son exposure. It's the ways we have responded in our own power to our wounds. Our flaws and cracks from mishandling can be not just sealed up, but completely transformed to bear the glory of God. And the more we know that we are weak, the more Christ's power can rest on us. Lord, teach me really what it is to delight in my weaknesses.
It would seem this is a call to delight in my weakness. Right now the only safe place for that is in the secret of prayer. I guess that's why I'm a Carmelite. My design is to live from that place, lest I completely fall apart.
Only in God is my soul at rest; in Him comes my salvation.