A key to overcoming anxiety with God’s help

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One way to get rid of anxiety is to let God take control instead of trying to do everything on your own.

It is relatively easy to be anxious about any number of things, whether it is the future or the current situation of the world. The difficult part is finding more peace in our lives, overcoming our anxious feelings.

There are countless methods for achieving peace of heart, many of them very helpful. One way that we often forget to try is to consciously let go of control and allow God to have a bigger role in our lives.

St. Francis de Sales explains this method in his Introduction to the Devout Life, beginning by an explanation of what happens when we try to do everything on our own.

[He] will grow hot and eager in seeking relief, as though all depended more upon himself than upon God. I do not say that the person thinks so, but he acts eagerly as though he did think it. Then if he does not find what he wants at once, he becomes exceedingly impatient and troubled, which does not mend matters, but on the contrary makes them worse, and so he gets into an unreasonable state of anxiety and distress, till he begins to fancy that there is no cure for his trouble. Thus you see how a disturbance, which was right at the outset, begets anxiety, and anxiety goes on into an excessive distress, which is exceedingly dangerous.

Often we will try to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, not turning to anyone for help. This can be extremely harmful, as it isolates us even more and increases our anxiety.

On the other hand, when we relinquish control and recognize God’s active role in our lives, we can begin to experience peace.

When you are conscious that you are growing anxious, commend yourself to God … whensoever you urgently desire to be delivered from any evil, or to attain some good thing, strive above all else to keep a calm, restful spirit ,– steady your judgment and will … quietly bring [your soul] back to the Presence of God, once more placing all your hopes and affections under the direction of His Holy Will. 

Another helpful bit of advice that St. Francis de Sales gives is to relate your anxiety to a spiritual director or trusted friend.

If you can lay your anxiety before your spiritual guide, or at least before some trusty and devout friend, you may be sure that you will find great solace.The heart finds relief in telling its troubles to another.

Whatever you do, don’t try to overcome anxiety on your own. We all need help, both the help of God and the help of a friend.

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