"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, March 17, 2013

From frantic to peaceful

  I am a frantic person. At any given time, I seem to have more than a dozen things going on at the same time while trying to remember my progress on each, rarely stopping to catch a breath, and eventually something snaps.

 Between keeping three jobs straight, keeping up a writing schedule for the Times newspaper as well as for my own enjoyment, having time for family and friends, it seems that my own time for solitude and (especially) for keeping close to God always suffers. And, as my family will tell you….when I get stressed….I get snarly. And I’ve been snarly and stressed for a long time now. My walk with God is suffering because of so many other things going on in my life and I know this has to be fixed. Our relationship with God is the most important thing in life, yet it is the usually the first thing to go when we get stressed and too busy.

   In the midst of my own personal whirlwind, I found out my sister was going through something similar and a friend of hers gave her advice which was passed along to me. It’s probably the best advice I’ve had in a long, long time. And, it is working. And, it’s so simple.

  My sister’s friend told her during a “spinning out of control” moment that she needed to slow down and begin to say “The Lord’s Prayer” out loud several times a day… and really think about what she was saying. Don’t recite it as a habit, but say it deliberately and with purpose and think seriously about each phrase. In beginning this project for me, I wasn’t putting my whole self into it, but just one of those things to get through. However, over a few days, I began to notice a slight change in my frantic ways. All the stuff I needed to do did not lessen, but the snarliness and my attitude seemed to be a bit better. Then, on my own, I decided to add “The Apostle’s Creed” to my daily walk as a reminder of my faith and what I believe. The creed is a very concise way for me to reaffirm who I am in God’s world. Plus, I have always found some comfort in it.

  “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty from where He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.”

  Your walk with God should bring a joy and peace to your life that is unlike anything else. I had not had this joy and peace for a long time because, well, life and noise got in the way. But, after spending a few minutes, several times a day, to connect through these two simple scriptural statements of faith, I am beginning to glimpse a sense of peace again. My world is still crazy and my brain still spins way too much, yet I am learning to “Be still and know that I am God” once again (Psalm 46:10).

  May I encourage you to be aware of keeping the ways of God close so that the stresses and frustrations of life will not distract you.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


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