For a year or so in college, I lived in a constant state of on-edge.
I was the journalism major who worried all the time, who suffered from anxiety.
My body held down the here and now, but my mind wouldn’t sit still. Thoughts raced, and I entertained “what-ifs” and concocted all kinds of scenarios.
Which is why I really needed it one night when I stumbled upon this quote:
“Anxiety is a temptation in itself and also the source from and by which other temptations come.
Sadness is that mental pain which is caused by the involuntary evils which affect us. These may be external – such as poverty, sickness, contempt of others – or they may be internal – such as ignorance, dryness in prayer, aversion, and temptation itself.
When the soul is conscious of some evil, it is dissatisfied because of this, and sadness is produced. The soul wishes to be free from this sadness, and tries to find the means for this.
If the soul seeks deliverance for the love of God, it will seek with patience, gentleness, humility, and calmness, waiting on God’s providence rather than relying on its own initiative, exertion, and diligence. If it seeks from self-love, it is eager and excited and relying on self rather than God.
Anxiety comes from an irregulated desire to be delivered from the evil we experience. Therefore, above all else, calm and compose your mind. Gently and quietly pursue your aim.”
The quote comes from St. Francis de Sales.
In it, I found hope.
And later the same week, I found another anxiety quote, by chance:
“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then. Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”
That quote, as it turns out, also comes from St. Francis de Sales.
Two in a week? This is too much, I thought. Who is this guy? So the journalist in me did a little digging. Which is how I discovered that Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists. Which is how I knew that my finding those quotes when I did wasn’t an accident.
That God knew I needed the reminders.
That I had forgotten what Jesus said, in what is probably now my most-read passage of scripture:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (Matt. 6:25)
May we remember today and always that He said it with sincerity.