I have been thinking about why I feel stressed lately. I have always attributed the feelings of stress to the fear of not passing medical school (1st year finals are in 4 weeks). There is not much else in my life that I am stressed about, and for that I am grateful.
As I walk (30mins) to the trains station to catch the train to Uni & sit on the train, I have recently taken up praying the Rosary. When I arrive at the train station I usually pop into the Catholic Church next to it and sit in silence with the Blessed Sacrament. While doing all these things, I ask the Lord to form my soul in the way He sees best, like a Papa guiding his little child. I ask Our Lady (Mummy) and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (big sister) to pray for me. I relax (or try to) into their love and their guidance.
I didn’t know what to expect when I did this, all I knew was that the Lord will form my soul in His own time and with His ways. I did these things, entrusting myself to the Lord’s care and into the intercession of Our Lady and Saint Thérèse, with a childlike expectation that my trust and obedience will bear good fruit of some kind in the right time.
To my delight, the Lord has lovingly taken me in hand and has formed my soul, heart and mind. I now realise that I am not actually stressed or scared over failing medical school, I was fearful of not being able to carry out what God wanted me to do. I was afraid that I’d screw up what God wants me to do. This realisation was so radical because it’s the first time that I have thought about the stress in my life in this way.
While contemplating these things in front of the Blessed Sacrament, while praying the Rosary and in my heart as I went about my day, I realise that I can just relax. I can relax because as my loving Papa, God will not give me a task and then not guide me or provide me with what I need to carry it out. God’s help is always there for me and all I have to do is to have open hands to receive it. I can relax into the care of my Papa God and the loving intersession of my Mother and big sister. A child is carefree when she knows her every need will be provided lovingly by her parents. So too can I relax in God’s perfect love and be free to take delight in the simple pleasures that my Papa sends my way. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’ – 1 John 4:18 (RSV)
When I experience fear, it is because I don’t trust in the love of God. I don’t trust that I will receive everything I need to carry out the task that my Papa sends my way. I don’t trust that God’s plan is what will give me the most joy and peace. I want my own plan, not God’s plan. In where I am in my life, it is my attachment to passing 1st year of medical school the 1st time round that puts fear into my heart when I say to myself “What if God’s plan for me is to have to repeat 1st year?”.
The antidote to this fear is just trusting that God loves me so much that He will always nurture my Soul in the best possible way. And if that means having to repeat 1st year then I will (try to) gladly accept because it will lead to a greater joy than passing 1st year the first time round.
Living out Ephesians 5:22-33 (RSV) by trusting and submitting to my husband helps me to practice trusting and submitting to God. A post for another time perhaps.
It all comes down to trust.
Open hands do three very important things: they let go, they receive, and they give…
Like most people, I have a hard time doing any of these things very consistently or very well… my life seems to operate in cycles of accumulating disordered attachments and then releasing them at the behest of the Holy Spirit’s insistent, still small voice—then my disordered attachments clog up the pipes again and I have to do it all over. And it is always painful…
Perhaps the most pernicious bit about those attachments is that they actually keep me from recognizing and receiving the Love of God where it is offered—and in turn, I am inhibited from sharing that Love with others…
Let the Love of God peel your fingers open around whatever it is that is preventing you from receiving it. Let go, receive, and give. Live life with open hands…
– Audrey Assad, ‘Open Hands’