Editor's Note: During the month of November, as the Year of Faith draws to a close, we will be celebrating all the fruits of this year. Each day we will feature a short reflection from Catholics all over the country and world, sharing what God has done. If you want to share your own fruits with us, email us a short reflection (no more than 500 words, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear how God has blessed you and deepened your faith this year!
No Job loss, serious illness or life-shattering occurrence requiring extraordinary faith happened this year. Each day was very similar to the next. But during this year of faith I found my attitude completely changed.
For most of my life, emotions had ruled me. In positive situations, I was doped up on joy. When I felt sorrow, its intensity was as strong as any physical affliction. And when angry, my temper flared like a sparkler on the Fourth of July. Those times family or loved ones made dangerous, costly or even down right foolish choices, my mind would go into a tirade of fear for them so intense that I found myself unable to function on a day-to-day basis until I learned the danger was past.
I was convinced there was no possible way for me to gain control over my reactions. I was convinced that God had made me this ‘emotional’. It wasn’t my fault if I got my feelings easily wounded and held hurt feelings for weeks, months, even years. After all, THEY were the cruel ones. And no one could blame me for the unsolicited ‘opinion’ I gave friends and family. They surely knew I was simply concerned about their welfare. I mean, how much time and money can I allow others to waste, especially when it directly affects me or my family? And if some days were cloudy and gloomy, was it my fault if I became depressed and unable to do my work? It’s how God made me, right?
Let’s face it, I was miserable. The actions of others caused an unnatural obsession that was literally exhausting. Then one day, something in me changed. While I was praying for more faith and guidance I was suddenly aware of a particular ‘knowing’. I heard no audible voice, but the message was strong and precise.
“Let me handle matters so you can rest.”
Nothing more complicated than that. Yet with those few words I began to let the events and words go with unbelievable ease. And the funny thing was that as the small occasions stopped being my problem, so did the larger ones. If someone’s words hurt me, I began to look at how I might improve myself instead of lashing out at them. If the sky was dingy, I told myself to turn on more lights and some cheery music and to get busy. When others discussed plans or ideas that I thought were totally wrong, I began to put the entire issue in God’s hands and suddenly saw the issue from their viewpoint. I stopped showing my pain to others and spoke only of it to God. I no longer let the actions of others all-consume me. I put each act, each word, and each emotion into God’s hands. Even surprised family members mentioned the difference in me. Each event allowed me to trust God more. Suddenly, my faith was bringing me unbelievable peace, and I love it.
- Patricia Ann Mary Jackson, Avon, IN