How to Escape Anxiety and Stress

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Everybody knows this time of year can be stressful; no need for me to prove that point!

Last night, I began crying while unloading the dishwasher. Looking to the living room, I saw my husband sitting on the couch, which made me cry even more… ‘Why is he sitting on the couch when there’s so much to do??’ I went to blow my nose, and when I returned he motioned for me. “Come sit down with me for a second,” he said.

“No! There’s too much to do!” I argued. But I sat down anyway.

Stroking my hair, he asked what I was so stressed about. As I (blubberingly) listed everything, he asked me questions like, “Can we schedule a time for that?” and assured, “We’re in this together.” Slowly, the Enormous Problem Monster evaporated into thin air. My husband had helped me see the truth: I didn’t have to tackle everything at that very moment.

Sometimes, you’re so run-down because you feel like your entire world is set on your shoulders. That’s how I felt last night. So, imagine how I felt waking up this morning, sitting on that same couch, and reading the Gospel for today (the day I’m writing this)…

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Yoke

Jesus knew that sometimes we’d feel just like cattle, our shoulders carrying a heavy yoke tied to our entire world, plowing back and forth…back and forth…all day long…every day. That gospel, and my husband’s wisdom, reminded me of the key to escaping anxiety:

Just be with God. “Come to me,” Jesus beckons.

“No! There’s too much to do!” we argue. When we’re constantly go-go-go-ing, and doing, we get so tired. We start thinking, ‘What can I do, so I’ll feel less tired, so I can do more?‘ But we get burned out. We weren’t made to ‘do’ everything, all the time. We’re taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “human life has a rhythm of work and rest” (2184).

And what is rest?

“Come to me,” Jesus tells you, “and I will give you rest.”

After someone passes away, we pray the traditional — “Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.” — which reveals Heaven as the place of eternal and peaceful rest! Why?

Heaven is a state of being in complete union with God, forever. That’s ‘Eternal Rest.’ Shouldn’t that remind us that, while we’re alive, the only time and space we’ll find rest is being with God? “Come to me,” Jesus says. He wants to offer you an exchange: He’ll carry the world. You just come, and learn from Him.

I’ll leave you with a song that I heard a few days ago. It reminds me of a dialogue between our weary souls and God.
Enjoy resting.

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