Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How Not To Be an Emotional Wreck (All The Time)

Emotions. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them, amirite? I know INTJs have a reputation for being emotionless robots, but that’s far from the truth. And the more I talk to people, I realize everyone seems to be on some kind of emotional roller coaster or the other. I used to think I was a pretty emotionally balanced kind of person, but when I take a look at my prayer journal over the weeks and months, there seems to be an unhealthy proportion of disturbed, anxious, upset to calm, peaceful, balanced and hopeful. So of course I’m talking about negative emotions. I’ve rarely heard anyone complain that they have too many good emotions. “I’m just so joyful and excited all the time, I don’t know how to handle it!” So where do these floods of emotions come from? Why can’t we just all be calm and balanced about everything in our lives all the time?

1. Hormones, baby! Yes, those wonderful chemicals that flood our bodies, and often make some part of our month crazier than the rest (and with pregnancy and menopause it's MONTHS or even YEARS!) Somehow the circumstances may not have changed at all, but our hormones yell at our brain, “EVERYTHING IS SAD AND BAD AND OVERWHELMING! IT IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME TO EVALUATE ALL YOUR LIFE DECISIONS! ALSO PEOPLE ARE INSENSITIVE AND MEAN!”

How to deal with this: Keep track of your cycles, and make a firm commitment not to try to figure out your life during PMS. Also, let the people in your life know that they need to give you a break and cut you some slack for a few days (or months or years). And remind yourself, “This is not reality. This will pass. I just have to wait it out.” Also, chocolate and exercise.

2. Wounds and insecurities: Sometimes someone unknowingly presses a button, makes a passing comment, a mildly critical observation, and we are flooded with an overwhelming rush of anger or hurt or shame or anxiety. It feels HORRIBLE when it happens. It feels like something touching a raw, unhealed, open wound. It’s very often rejection issues, feeling unloved, unwanted and abandoned. It often connects with some childhood experience that has not yet been dealt with or even acknowledged.

How to deal with this: Make a choice not to react in the moment, no matter how tempted you are. Step back and take a little time to conduct a particular Examen. Start by thanking God for three specific ways you have experienced His love recently. Then ask the Holy Spirit to probe your inner self, and reveal your inner motives. “Why am I reacting like this? Is this based on truth? What lie am I believing that is causing me to react like this? Was there some time in my childhood I remember feeling like this? What happened? What is the truth that God speaks to me?” Then ask God for his healing. Be willing to share what God reveals to you to your spouse or a close friend so that they can speak that truth into your life especially when you are struggling to believe it. “God loves you and I love you too. You are NOT alone! You are so beautiful. You are important to ME! Your life IS making a difference. Everything is going to be okay. God’s got this!” Little by little, the truth starts seeping into the deepest parts of our heart, and healing begins. If you can, go for a healing retreat.

3. Tiredness: Somehow tiredness often puts us on edge, and everything gets a LOT more annoying and frustrating.

How to deal with this: Get some sleep! Okay, I know for you parents with young babies that’s easier said than done. But don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can catch up on sleep if that’s possible. And if it’s not babies, rearrange your life so that you get enough rest. It is not somehow holier and more hardworking and responsible to fill your life with so much activity that you are sleep-deprived and grumpy or irritable with all the people in your life. Sometimes the holiest thing to do is to take a nap.

4. Toxic relationships and people in your life: We all have people who can be difficult to live with. Maybe they are constantly criticizing you and your choices, or comparing you with others, or putting you down in subtle or not-so-subtle ways, or bullying you, or manipulating you, or taking advantage of you. Maybe they keep nagging you, or acting passive-aggressive or playing the blame game or using emotional blackmail to get you to do what they want. You land up feeling upset and resentful and bitter every time you have to deal with them.

How to deal with this: Set some boundaries. I have been reading and hearing a lot about a wonderful concept called boundaries. I haven’t read the original book yet, but plan to soon. The basic idea is that you need to clarify to yourself and sometimes to others what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for, what you can handle and what you can’t handle, how you would like to be treated, and what you are not willing to put up with. In the non-confrontational land of India, this is huge. It means speaking up and kindly but clearly saying “Please don’t talk to me like that. I really don’t like it when you raise your voice. We can talk about it later when you’re calmer.” Or “Please don’t comment about my weight, you probably don’t mean to, but it hurts my feelings.” Or “I wish you wouldn’t compare me with others. I am not my brother/sister/cousin, I have my own set of weaknesses /struggles/desires/plans, and I have to make my own choices.” Or “I know you don’t agree with my decision, but it’s my decision to make.” It means letting yourself know that you are not responsible for everyone else’s emotions or reactions, but only for your own. If people refuse to respect your boundaries, maybe you need to find ways to spend less time with them.

5. Negative environment: Sometimes it isn’t specifically about you, but the people around you just love to keep complaining about how terrible everything is, how every silver lining has a cloud, how everything in your country is going to the dogs, and the world is spiralling to disaster and doom. Or you open your Facebook and that’s what every other post implies too, and everybody’s mad or outraged about something all the time. Emotions are contagious! Try spending a lot of time with an anxious person, and you’ll see. Then do the same with someone who is full of joy and light-hearted jokes and songs, and see what that does for you. I once lived with a bunch of Catholic volunteers and there was always some new ridiculous song that the two men were making up, and the rest of us were constantly in splits. It was a wonderful few months. But that is far from a common experience. Usually it is quite the opposite.

How to deal with this: Change your environment! Try to spend more time with people who are choosing joy, who are peaceful and hopeful. Cut down on that social media time. Seriously, it makes a huge difference! Or replace it with truth-filled media like the Abiding Together podcast. Consciously choose to be the voice of hope and joy whenever you can. Sing a song! Make a joke! Play some music. Create the environment you want to live in! Ask people to share what went well in their day if they are just complaining around the dinner table. Change the topic if it’s going on and on in the same negative circles. Celebrate small victories!

Okay guys, these are obviously foolproof methods to be happy all the time. Not really. Sometimes you just have to accept that negative emotions are a part of your life, a cross you have to carry, and something you can even choose to offer up. That actually makes it a little easier to bear, when you know it’s not your fault, or something that you alone suffer with. We’re all on the same roller coaster, fighting our battles, and apparently mixing our metaphors. What I’m saying is, you can do this! You can survive this minefield of emotions, and even possibly feel joy and peace and hope and excitement more often.

Anything that helps when you're struggling with crazy emotions?

P.S. Please feel free to share this with all the other emotional wrecks in your life!

Related Posts

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The Antidotes to Anxiety

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A Melancholic Searches for Joy

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Sue’s New and Improved Personality Types

Anyone who knows me in person or reads my blog knows how much I love personality type indicators. I am infamous for analyzing people’s Myers-Briggs personality types as my preferred form of small talk at parties. (The only person who won’t let me categorize him is my boyfriend.) But I have moved a step beyond MBTI, temperaments, and all those mainstream categories. Try out my new and improved personality types:

Good Morning Messengers vs Whatsapp Group Leavers 

Good Morning Messengers are the people who just want to spread some love and cheer with a charming picture of flowers or a puppy with melting eyes and a kindly ‘Good morning, friends’ or an inspirational quote. They are touched by receiving such messages. They want to sprinkle this love and positivity in every Whatsapp group they are a part of. They cannot understand anyone who is not like them. “Why would you object to such an innocuous and friendly gesture? Don’t you like inspiration? What is wrong with you?’

Whatsapp Group Leavers are the people who are tempted to throw their phone out of the window if they receive ANOTHER GOOD MORNING MESSAGE on a Whatsapp group or as a broadcast message. As they would lose too much money in phone repairs, they opt instead to quietly stalk out of the Whatsapp group when the Good Morning messages or inspirational forwards bring their blood to boiling temperature. Occasionally they send terse messages (especially if they are admins) saying ‘Hi, please refrain from sending messages unrelated to the purpose of this group. Thank you.’ Or they message the people who send broadcast messages saying ‘Hi, please remove me from your broadcast message list. Thanks.’ Note the forced politeness of the ‘Thanks’ at the end. Some of them have a permanent Whatsapp ‘About me’ that reads ‘No forwards please’. It says everything you need to know that that is their ABOUT ME.

Cats vs Dogs 

It is very easy to differentiate Cats and Dogs after a few interactions with most human beings. My friends thought I was randomly assigning labels to people until I proved there was a pattern by asking my sister to do it with me, and we agreed on every person’s personality type. So here’s the Cat and Dog personality type decoded.

Dogs are affectionate, emotionally available, empathetic givers. They love to hang out with people, would rather agree with people than disagree with them, and are enthusiastic about most things. Dogs will run up to you and give you a hug and a kiss. The downside of being a dog is that sometimes dogs can be needy, and feel lonely or neglected easily.

Cats do their own thing. They often disappear from social occasions either physically or mentally. They are reserved, and not as easy to please. They are perfectly happy on their own, and rarely worry about what others think of them or their choices. They are sometime emotionally unavailable. Cats can be pretty judgy. However if you give cats their space, they will come to you on their own, and there is nothing more satisfying than a cat’s affection because you know they are very picky, so a cat rubbing against you and purring is quite a mark of approval. Also cats may not admit this, but they secretly really like receiving affection even though they may not ask for it.

The Fly-by-the-Seat-of-their-Pants vs The Add-Fifteen-Minutes 

Try making a plan with another human being and you will easily find out which category they fit into. The Fly-by-the-Seat-of-their-Pants will vaguely calculate the amount of time they need to get somewhere assuming all conditions are fine, and they plan to leave with exactly that much time to spare. But then when it’s time to leave, you see them chatting away cheerfully, or waltzing around the house grabbing earrings and shoes and putting on make-up (obviously I know more female FBTSOTPs). They will always be late, or perhaps exactly on time, and some of their friends start secretly planning to tell them a time half an hour earlier than everyone else, or to sneak into their house and change all their clocks and cell phone timings.

The Add-Fifteen-Minutes after obsessively checking the address and the time, calculate how much time they will need to get somewhere in the worse possible conditions (‘Let’s assume there’s going to be a terrible traffic accident which will block all the roads, plus the traffic lights go off, plus the cops pull me over to check my license, plus I was told the wrong address ’) and THEN they add another fifteen minutes just in case. The AFMs are usually standing at the door staring at their watch and getting stressed out when the FBTSOTPs are doing their last-minute dance. AFMs are usually early or on time to most events, but they live their life slightly more stressed out than their counterparts, who always optimistically believe everything is going to work out so they reach in time, even though it rarely works out that way.

The Ironers vs The Creases-Happen 

The Ironers iron everything. They usually need an extra 30 minutes to prepare to leave for any event because it takes them that much time to iron all their clothes perfectly. It pains them to see people wearing slightly creased clothes. If creases appear in their previously-ironed clothes, they are quite likely to take it off and iron it all over again. To the bemusement of non-Ironers, these guys iron their bed sheets, their underwear and their socks.

The Creases-Happen folk are far more chilled out about ironing. They may or may not know where the iron in the house is located. They consider ironing clothes an extra special task one does for special occasions like weddings. When the creases in their clothes are pointed out to them, they shrug and say ‘Creases happen.’ Their theory is that no matter whether one irons or not, life will add creases to their clothes, so why bother ironing? Occasionally, if feeling pressured to iron, they may try to iron clothes while still wearing them (not advised).

The Night Dishwashers vs The Chatters 

You will find out where you lie only at the end of a party. The Night Dishwashers start washing dishes even before the guests start leaving. They are agonizingly aware of all the dishes piling up as people socialize and keep eating and discarding dirty plates and glasses. As the party draws to a close, the mountains of dishes draw them in. No matter how tired they are, they consider it the unforgivable sin to leave it till the next morning.

Meanwhile The Chatters are living in the moment. They see not the dishes but the people, and they will keep the party going and the guests entertained until the last moment. And THEN they sit down and put their legs up and chat about how the party went. They cannot understand why The Night Dishwashers are so obsessed with the dishes. “Why not leave them till the morning?” It is the question that divides them, an impassable chasm. The Chatters’ deepest desire is for The Night Dishwashers to just sit down and rest and hang out with them. The Night Dishwashers’ deepest desire is for The Chatters to offer to help to do the dishes and clean up all the messes. Mary and Martha had Jesus to sort them out, but you guys better get that communication on if you are living in the same house.

So there you go. I hope you found these personality types helpful in figuring out who you are, and why everyone finds you so annoying. You’re welcome.

Related Posts

A Melancholic Searches for Joy

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How Sue Classifies Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Catholics Worship Idols Too

Non-Catholic Christians look at my blog title and say “Aha! We knew it! You Catholics and all those statues.” But of course, I’m not talking about the practice of veneration of statues, which is supposed to be a way to remind us of the holy men and women who went before us.

You know, kind of like Nativity scenes

For Christians, the first commandment plainly sets the foundation of our faith - that there is only one God and nothing and no one should be given the place that belongs to Him alone. We pray it in the Creed, we happily recite the first commandment in Sunday School, and as Christians living in India, we are well aware that we do not worship idols in the way that many of our Hindu friends and neighbours do. Unlike the West, Indian Christians see actual idols as we walk down the street most days, but perhaps that makes us complacent about the first commandment, as if it has nothing to do with us. But idol worship can come in far more insidious ways.

Okay let’s get down to what the Church says about the first commandment.

Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God… power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."… Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God. Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God.”CCC 2113 - 2114

This seems like a concept most of us can accept… until it challenges the way we choose to live our lives. How do we know when something has become an idol, when we have started placing our trust in something or someone other than God?

A couple of years I attended a retreat at a Carmelite retreat center and the priest talked a lot about one of the biggest obstacles to growth in prayer being unhealthy attachments. It was one of the most convicting retreats I’ve ever been to. But here are some of the things that helped me know when I was allowing some value or thing to crowd God out of my heart.
  • When I start thinking or acting as if I MUST HAVE that thing in order to be happy 
  • When the thought of losing that thing fills me with disturbance and fear
  • When I get angry or combative or defensive or anxious when someone tries to tell me I can’t have it 
  • When I don’t want to bring that thing or activity or desire to God because I’m afraid of what He’s going to tell me about it 
  • When I tell God ‘You can have everything, but not that thing.’ 
  • When I make my decisions based on ensuring I have that thing, rather than on a true openness to the guidance of God 
  • When I spend more time thinking and talking and scheming about that thing than I do on seeking God or serving others 
  • When I’m not willing to ask my Christian leaders for their counsel and thoughts about that area 
So what are some of the things that are common idols to Catholics in India? 

- Our plans: Okay, that is far from exclusive to India. Most of us have a plan for our lives. We ask God to bless the plan, we pray novenas so that it will all work out. But have we asked God if it’s HIS plan? When we don’t get it, are we resentful and angry with God? Are we open to a totally different plan if God leads us to it? It could be a plan to marry, to get into a particular educational course, to emigrate, and to have it all on a particular timeline. I remember one guy who was longing to get married saying, “I just KNOW that God wants me to be married, so I can’t be happy or satisfied until it happens.” Um, that’s not how God works.

- A particular person: This is very often the person we fall in love with, but it could be any other person who we have an unhealthy dependence on. If any person becomes more important to you than God, or whose presence in your life takes you away from God or His will for you, if you place your entire security and happiness and peace in the hands of another human being, you exchange the freedom of love for the insecurity and neediness of a dysfunctional relationship. Very often long drawn out unrequited love or infatuation is a sign that that a person has become an idol.

- Worldly success: I was recently chatting with some friends about how often the phrase ‘blessings’ has come to mean money, or financial success, as if that was the highest value or God’s greatest desire for us. We often act as if that is the central guiding principal for our lives, and anything that does not advance our success cannot be God’s will for us. Many people find the idea of taking a gap year to serve the poor or do mission work shocking and impractical because it could affect future career options. God may or may not have visible success as His plan for Your life. Set your hearts on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.

 - Our comfort zones: We are ready to serve God , to do good, to help others… as long as it’s easy and comfortable to us, in a familiar place, in a language we know, and in a sanitized and very clear-cut structure. Sometime there are no easy answers, it’s dirty or weird or just plain unfamiliar, and it STILL could be God’s will for us. If we say NO just because something seems hard or uncomfortable, then guess what? Our comfort zone has become our idol.

- Our little luxuries: Most of us have certain luxuries that have become needs. It could be certain snacks or chocolates or alcohol or clothes or new shoes, things that are not BAD, but just a little expensive, and not necessary, but that we always make sure we have money for, and that we don’t always ask God his opinion on. ‘Of course I can help the poor, but I’m sure He wouldn’t ask me to give up THAT.’

- Our leisure time: This can become sacred, something we will fight to the death to protect. I’ve done my duty, I’ve been ‘on’ for a while, and this is MY time. No one and nothing has a right to take that away from me. Except you know, God does have that right. I remember one day I was on the formation team for our new volunteers, and it was the end of a long day. I was exhausted, and I remember thinking, “I’m done. Nothing more.” And then one of the girls I was mentoring came up to me and tremulously said, “Sue… do you have a moment to talk?” I was SO TEMPTED in that moment to say, “No, I’m tired. Let’s talk tomorrow.” After a brief internal struggle with the Lord, I said, “Sure. Let’s find a quiet place and talk.” It turned out she was going through some major struggles and that was exactly where God needed me to be at the end of that day.

- Social approval: ‘What will people say?’ This is such a deeply rooted value, something many of us have grown up with as a central motivating factor for our family decisions. But that has never been a priority to the saints who very often challenged the status quo, the cultural norms of each age in order to allow the light of the Gospel in more fully. To renew a culture from within we need prophets, people willing to hold up each aspect of a culture to the light of the Gospel, and throw out anything that does not glorify God, even if it means braving the disapproval of the world at large.

‘In the process of encountering the world's different cultures, the Church not only transmits her truths and values and renews cultures from within, but she also takes from the various cultures the positive elements already found in them. This is the obligatory path for evangelizers in presenting the Christian faith and making it part of a people's cultural heritage. Conversely, the various cultures, when refined and renewed in the light of the Gospel, can become true expressions of the one Christian faith.’ John Paul II, Ecclesia in Asia 21

- Family: Christians are all about the importance and value of family and familial relationships. And yet Jesus said some very controversial things about families including ‘Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ and many other such family-dividing kind of statements. Didn’t Jesus care about family unity? Of course He did, but precisely because family is so important, He knew exactly how easily it could turn into an idol. India, like Jewish culture of that time is a very family-oriented culture, which is both a potential strength and pitfall.

‘Once we make the decision to follow Jesus then every other claimant to supremacy must fall away. As I’ve argued many times before, every one of us has something or some set of values that we consider greatest. Perhaps it is money, material things, power, or the esteem of others. Perhaps it is your family, your kids, your wife, your husband. None of this is false, and none of these things are bad. But when you place any of them in the absolute center of gravity, things go awry. When you make any of them your ultimate or final good, your spiritual life goes haywire. When you attach yourself to any of them with an absolute tenacity, you will fall apart. Only when we make Christ the cornerstone of our lives are we truly ready for mission. Keep in mind that every encounter with God in the Bible conduces to mission, to being sent to do the work of the Lord. If we try to do this work while we are stuck to any number of attachments, we will fail. Period.’ Bishop Robert Barron

So how can we cast our idols down? How can we make God our center of gravity? 

- If you haven’t done it already, ask God to be the center and Lord of your life. You actually have to make that choice and speak those words to Him. If you were baptized as a baby, your parents chose that for you, but you as an adult have to ratify your baptism. “Lord I want nothing more, nothing less, and nothing other than Your will for my life.”

- Pray EVERY DAY and bring EVERYTHING to Him. There is no aspect of your life God is not concerned with. It is often in the quiet of our prayer time that God is even able to point out our idols.

- If you notice something becoming too important to you, and bringing that disturbance in your heart, step back from it for a little while. Stop using the phone, get a dabba phone instead. Delete Facebook. Give away those shoes. Go on a snack fast.

- Be aware that God very often DOES ask us to do counter-cultural things, just to help us make a clearer and stronger choice to allow Him to be God, and sometimes to be a witness to the world that doesn’t even acknowledge that its idols ARE idols. Say yes when He invites you to do so even if no one else understands.

You know, like Bishop Barron says, none of these things are bad things. We DO need to make plans, to pursue careers, to love our families. Enjoying occasional luxuries or treats is not a sin. Our culture and community involvement can be a gift and a support. Leisure and rest is important. The danger is when good things take the place of God. When we allow God to be God, everything falls into place, and we are able to live life with more freedom and less fear. God wants to free us from our idols because they will never satisfy us, and they will never allow us to live fully the adventure God has planned for our lives. ‘For freedom Christ has set us free. Therefore stand firm, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.’ Galatians 5: 1

Related Reading

Save Us from Social Embarrassment

The Time I Went on a Five Day Silent Retreat

The Two Big Missing Pieces of Our Catholic Faith

The Lent Project #6 The Secret to Peace, Lent and Everything

Log Kya Kahege? (What Will People Say?) by Fr. Warner D'Souza

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Orphan Spirit

When I was about ten years old, my father forgot to pick me up from piano class. I think this has happened in every big family at least once - a child gets forgotten. Poor parents, trying to keep not only their own schedules, but five children's as well in mind - extra classes, sports, Sunday school, exams, birthday parties - no personal chauffeur could work so hard. I was safely waiting in a housing society that evening, but still I remember the incredulity of thinking, 'Is he just late or has he really forgotten me?' I finally went to a friend's house and phoned home, and my poor father realized he had actually forgotten me.

I have grown up in a pretty secure and happy family (though not perfectly so). But many of us have not. Not all kids know what it is to feel safe in their own homes, to know that when they are in trouble, there is someone who will come rescue them, to know that they can confidently go and ask their parents for what they need, and to know that someone's got their back.

And yet ALL of us seem to struggle with what many Christians call 'an orphan spirit'. It is something within us that tells us there is NO ONE we can fully trust, that we have to look after ourselves, because no one else will. Too many of us live our lives in fear and anxiety, chasing after security, after safety, because we don't feel secure or safe. The orphan spirit is manifested in many ways. Do you often feel alone, abandoned, isolated? Do you worry constantly about your children and those in your care? Do you worry constantly about your future? Do you often focus on wealth and worldly success and financial security as a way to allay that fear?  Do you feel like God is present but not really involved in your daily cares and concerns? Do you feel like there are many problems that God expects you just to figure out yourself and not bother Him with?

I have bad news and good news.

The bad news is there is NOTHING you can do that can ultimately protect you from bad things happening to you. You can do EVERYTHING humanly possible to protect and provide for yourself and your family, and still it can all disappear in a blink of an eye. Scary, huh? All your toiling and striving is in vain.

But here's the good news. YOU ARE NOT AN ORPHAN. You have a Father who is deeply and intimately committed to your well-being. You do NOT have to protect or provide for yourself. You have a Father in heaven who LOVES to provide for His children. God is not just a benevolent being watching from afar. He is so close. And at the heart of our Christian faith is the truth that we have been adopted into His family, and that we are not alone anymore. We are not alienated. He will never abandon us. Any voice that tells you anything different is the voice of the Enemy. That's what he did in the beginning. He spoke to our ancestors with a persuasive voice saying, "Can you REALLY trust Him? Perhaps He does not have your well-being in mind."

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness. CCC 397

God is trustworthy. That doesn't mean he doesn't expect us to be responsible, to work, to take reasonable precautions, to be faithful to the tasks and people He has entrusted to us. What is does mean is that He wants to set us free from the lie that we are ultimately in charge of our own security. He wants to set us free to live as sons and daughters.

What does that look like? I have met a few people who live like that. You can see in  them a deep sense of security and peace. They have built their life on a firm foundation, a truth that nothing and no one can take away from them. They are free to make counter-cultural choices out of obedience to Christ, and they get to taste the fruits of that obedience. Their choices look different from the rest of the world, because they have different priorities, and they're not scared. Well, maybe they're scared sometimes but they don't let that fear rule them.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Matthew 6: 25 -34

When I live as a child of God, I not only have more peace of mind, but I give God the space to provide for me, to guide me, and to be a Father to me. When I live as an orphan, I am so busy looking after myself that I will not let Him. I have seen Him provide again and again in miraculous ways when I have gone to Him in total abandonment and said, "Daddy, You know what I need. Please take care of me."

“There is absolutely nothing that gives us more peace or does more to make us holy than obeying the will of God.” ― Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

Today's first reading says 'See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.' 1 John 3: 1

Let us live in the freedom of the children of God. You do not need to be worried or fearful or disturbed. God's got you. You don't have to have everything figured out. God will show you when you need to know. It's not really His style to give too much information in advance. He wants you to clutch His hand, and walk forward trustingly and confidently.

Be not afraid! You are a child of God!