when you’re anxious

     My spiritual director is a new blessing in my life, put there very specifically by God!  It is a complete miracle that I wound up with such an arrangement, since I was not asking for one, and he did not search me out.  It just happened very quickly through a friend that I wound up with the most sought out spiritual director in the region.  
     I have been suffering a spiritual battle for about a year, just tortured by a very specific anxiety.  I am not generally anxious, and am grateful for the peace I have received in my Christian life over the decades.  But there was a very specific anxiety that I have been wrestling with that has been a tremendous burden.  I have prayed, fasted, sat in Adoration, read books, memorized Scripture verses–you name it.  But this little torture would not go away.  I knew God wanted something for me, since He was not alleviating it.  So I asked for patience and clarity, so that I would be ready for His response, which I knew would be a gift of Love when the time was right.
    Sure enough, it happened.  While I was driving to meet my new spiritual director for our second visit, I nearly missed being in a car accident, then I got lost, and on top of that, the monastery’s server was down so that I could not find them on my phone.  There was tremendous resistance to me getting to that humble little room in the monastery!
     Once I was there, I prayerfully listened and wrote down many notes from my director’s comments.  Then the moment came.  I asked him, “So what should I do when I am going about my business, doing the dishes or reading to a child, and I get gripped with this specific anxiety?”
     I already knew many good answers to this question from the Bible and other spiritual writings: pray for peace; be joyful in all things; surrender to God’s will.  Isaiah 26:3; Proverbs 3:4-5; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 Thes. 5:16-18.
    But Father paused, then looked at me and replied: “Seek greater humility and openness.”
    This was an answer tailor made for me!  Relinquishing my plan, my idea of what is good, holy or right, and searching further for God’s is exactly what I needed to hear.  I had been operating with some humility and with some openness to God’s plan.  So I did not think I was without it–hence the problem!   But when Father said these words, it was as though shackles fell from my whole being.  A deeper level of humility and openness!  I felt light and free.
    In the past 2 weeks of working on this new way, I have found the freedom of being more of a little child.  I am clearly being called to a greater childlikeness, and a greater trust in His plan.  There is a people-pleasing habit in me that is directly contrary to this way.  Pleasing others, and not having peace unless I am pleasing them, is against the will of God.  I should be pleasing Him, even if it displeases them.  To accomplish this sort of lifestyle requires much prayer.  Much more, really, than I was engaged in.  Personal, quiet prayer, I mean.  It requires listening, trusting, following, and the coming back to God to check in and hear if He has anything else.  It is a monastic life, really, the life to which I feel I am most genuinely called.