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Anxiety

“Especially with the media and technology available to us today, it is hard not to become distracted by pointless worry about matters that will never help us become more beautiful icons of Christ. The problems and divisions of the world can easily become obsessions which tempt us to view ourselves as creatures defined merely by our place in it. People who believe that there is no hope, truth, or meaning beyond our present life will understandably obsess about such matters, for they think that that is all there is. Profound worry and fear are inevitable for those who believe that the measure of their lives extends no further than the inevitability of the grave.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“When 'prophets of doom' appear in society, do you find yourself returning to these truths and to Christ your savior, or do you find yourself being swept up in fear and anxiety? Do you worry about politics, the economy, and other current events, or do you rest secure in the knowledge that whatever happens in this world, our life is hidden in Christ?” (Fr. Stephen De Young)


“We must not fear our anxiety. All who walk this earth have some anxiety. We could argue that if we had absolutely no anxiety, we could not function or be attentive to our responsibilities. However, we often make our anxiety worse by fearing it, by perceiving it as something we have no control over. What meaning we assign to our anxiety has huge implications for how much power it has over us. If we normalize it in the context of the reality that we all have some anxiety, and that we manage it rather than being managed by it, then we do not fear it…we can unlearn worry and anxiety. The field of neuroscience has shown that neural pathways can be rewritten as we begin to change our behavior and responses to stressors, triggers, and scenarios. This is called neural plasticity. So there is always hope; we never have to be controlled by anxiety or any other struggle.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“We live as if we were completely insensitive to the magnificence of God’s providence.” All things are under God’s providence. How many pine needles have each pine tree? Can you count them? God, however, knows them, and without His will, not one falls to the ground. Just as with the hairs of our heads, they are all numbered. He provides for the smallest details of our life: He loves us and protects us…” (St. Porphyrios)


“People who are riddled with fear and anxiety often can’t know or experience the love of God unless we show it to them. They are in too much torment to get there own their own. One of things I try to do when dealing with a person in such a state is love them harder. This takes the form of carefully chosen words or silence; or certain actions like patience, a simple smile, hug, praying together, preparing a meal, taking a walk, whatever is needed. I am not convinced I do any of this well, but I do believe without an ounce of doubt that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment” (1 John 4;18) I wish I was more holy or that more holy men and women were accessible these days. Human sin and sickness - physical and mental, and spiritual - melt away or transform into what they should be in the presence of true holiness.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“Do you feel anxiety? ‘No. But why do I have this uneasiness?’ Blessed child, there is restful restlessness and there is also restless rest. Good restlessness always needs to be within us, but not anxiety. When one struggles properly, he is never satisfied with himself.” (St. Paisios) 


“Anxiety can be a frightening feeling, but it is also the feeling of fear itself. Those two truths are at the core of what can make our anxiety much worse by snowballing into something that gets bigger to the point of it causing impairment in our lives. In reality, everyone has anxiety. In fact, we could not live without it. The goal is not to have zero anxiety; for if we did, we would not function. We would have no motivation to get anything done. We also do not want to have our anxiety to be (say from a 0-10) at a 7 or an 8 all of the time. The truth is, we want it to be between 1 and 3.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“St. John Chrysostom was right: we fear 1) poverty; 2) illness; and 3) death. We can call this (fallen) human nature or the human condition.  Any such terms are applicable. If our anxieties and fears have been heightened to a greater of lesser degree during this coronavirus pandemic, it need not cause us further anxiety concerning our faith, or a debilitating discouragement that we are not being faithful enough. To see our weaknesses is not meant to discourage us. In fact, it should encourage us to be honest about ourselves, so as to face and wrestle with our fears. Perhaps like the patriarch Jacob in that mysterious event when he wrestled with an angel, that is how we can overcome them.” (Fr. Stephen Kosoff)


“What is the difference between legitimately becoming energized for work and being addicted to stress? The answer is simple. The answer is the amount of anxiety associated with the process. Is there anxiety or not?  Is there peace or is there not? Focused work in the Lord is accompanied by peace, whether we feel energized or not. Part of the addiction to stress is the addiction to mental drama, the need for novelty and dissatisfaction with the ordinariness, or the tension, of the present moment. All addictions produce a dopamine squirt in the brain that needs to be fed over and over, along with increased adrenaline…The person addicted to stress will create projects, usually good projects, just to feel somewhat overwhelmed, to then get the dopamine infused, and feel anxious about having so much work to do. In the meantime, some of the work was self-created to generate stress.” (Albert S. Rossi, PhD)


“Saint Anthony said to Poemen, ‘expect trials and temptations until your last breath.’ I am convinced that not even the apostles, although filled with the Holy Spirit, were therefore completely free from anxiety…Contrary to the stupid view expressed by some, the advent of grace does not mean the immediate deliverance from anxiety…every generation, regardless of the progress of civilization, feels anxiety if they are not careful to trust in God. The desire for security for the future is very strong, not only in the underprivileged one, but to anyone, regardless of wealth. The only way to overcome anxiety ("anguish or fear coupled with uncertainty, or of the anticipation of impending misfortune, disaster or the like") is to dedicate oneself without any reservation to the providence of God and His loving care…The growth in our dedication to God and moving from unhealthy anxiety to decreasing, manageable, and healthy anxiety doesn’t happen overnight. We need to gentle with ourselves in this process as God is gentle with us.” (St. Makarios of Egypt, Rev. George Mastrantonis, Sacramental Living Ministries)


“We move through each day, trying to engage our life by the completion of tasks and tending to responsibilities. As each day passes, we tend to accumulate emotions that pile up because we are too busy to stop and process what’s going in the deep recesses of our heart. Layer upon layer of daily tasks and responsibilities cover over the deeper places within us, such as the “nous”; the seat of the heart or soul. Eventually this catches up with us. As a result of this, we might find ourselves a bit more anxious, depressed, or even not sleeping as well. We can also easily feel like our life is out of control. This is the universal effect the chaotic nature of this world and our modern 21st century life can have on us.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matthew 6:25). Do we hear the point Christ is making? In these few verses, our Lord reveals that His foremost concern is for the state of our inner life. He begs us to integrate our thoughts and energies so that they center first of all on our relationship to Him, our Master (vs. 22-24). In verse 22, Christ calls the eye the “lamp of the body.” Truthfully, whatever occupies our hearts and minds can bring either darkness or light. When we focus on attaining union with God, who is light, our whole being fills with light. Conversely, by concentrating on earthly concerns, we increase the darkness within. In order to integrate our inner life so that it centers around Christ our Lord, we must quiet our anxiety and lay aside “all earthly cares…” (Dynamis 6/28/2020)


“ …we have heard all sorts of talk about contemplation delivering inner peace but when we turn within to seek this peace, we meet inner chaos instead of peace. But at this point it is precisely the meeting of chaos that is salutary, not snorting lines of euphoric peace. The peace will indeed come, but it will be the fruit, not of pushing away distractions, but of meeting thoughts and feelings with stillness instead of commentary…We discover in the process [of meditative prayer] that there is more depth within us than we ever dreamt. There is not only chaos, confusion, emotional attachment, anxiety, and anger’s nettled memory; not just the marvel of discursive reason, imaginative insight, and unconscious instinct, but also an abyss of awareness that is always flowing with bright obscurity, grounding all these mental processes, one with all and one with God.” (Martin Laird)


“Prayer is (many times) the sound of our anxiety crying out to God. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, but your anxiety is not the place of the heart.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“If God would allow us to do everything the way we desire and when we desire, this would certainly result in catastrophe. One cannot even imagine the chaos that would occur.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)


“...many people who lack a sense of their true value before God develop symptoms of depression and anxiety and end up with little direction or sense of purpose in their lives. They often are defensive toward others and have few healthy boundaries or limits to avoid being abused by others or abusing them in return." (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“One of the ways people begin to sense and understand their true value in God’s eyes, to start to recognize that God loves them no matter what, is when another person acts that way toward them. Showing a person love and concern, showing them that they are sincerely valued no matter what they may or may not have done, is actually giving them a glimpse of the divine love of God they so desperately need. This is what any of us can do to help someone with their anxiety and depression.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Anxiety loses some of its force in the face of a positive, encouraging word.” (Foundation Study Bible, Proverbs 12:25)

“The opposite of rest is restlessness. I have been told by several mental health professionals, and have also read reports, that anxiety, which I think can be experienced as a inner restlessness, is the most prevalent mental health condition that mental health practitioners deal with today. I can’t help but wonder if the downward trend in Church attendance and the studies showing that the majority of Americans who consider themselves Christian, actually do not understand Christianity and the personal nature of a loving God, has anything to do with this.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“The Lord is everything to us all, for we cannot do anything of ourselves, for ourselves. He is the Giver of all powers, all blessings and of everything necessary for our welfare. Let us cast all our sorrows, cares and anxiety upon the Lord.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

“Why do we continually fail to see that the chance for real joy is wrapped in unexamined anger, apathy, and confusion? Why do we frequently miss the fact that our peace is shrouded in a fog of anxiety and preoccupation? When will we realize that if we stay with these feelings and worries, they will clear, and amidst the pain and joy of life we will find Truth, we will find God?” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“They are actually unnecessary anxieties that come from failing to believe that our ordinariness is all that matters in the eyes of God.” (Robert Wicks)

“Do not let difficulties, lack of understanding, and so on, overwhelm you, but live each day with trust in God, not worrying about the problems of the morrow.” (Bishop Nektary Kontzevitch)

“Do not worry about what will come next; you will discover it when it comes.” (St. Simeon the New Theologian)

“The nature of the world around us, caught up in its narrative of human freedom and endless progress, utterly defies the notion of Divine providence. The modern world is “what we make of it,” not what God provides. This same thought becomes an attitude of the heart. It creates anxiety and loneliness. We are anxious because we believe the world is something that must be controlled, and we learn, by bitter experience, that it cannot be controlled. We are lonely because we see ourselves surrounded by competing agents of free-will, who must be convinced to share in our own schemes if we are to have any control at all.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"…at the root of anxiety is a losing sight of God’s presence. Anxiety comes when I leave God out of the picture, and proceed in self-reliance, attempting to carry the world on my own shoulders." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Is anxiety a disease or an addiction? Perhaps it is something of both. Partly, perhaps, because you can’t help it, and partly because for some dark reason you choose not to help it, you torment yourself with detailed visions of the worst that can possibly happen.” (Frederick Buechner)

“Many medications are available today to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, tension, and nerves. Although most of these cures treat symptoms rather than root causes, the pharmaceutical industry aggressively promotes its wares on television. What is our witness as to the true source of physical and spiritual health? We must not discount the counsel and therapies offered by doctors, yet at the same time we are to evaluate our own behavior and choices as witnesses of God, reviewing our prayer routine and daily habits.” (Dynamis 12/3/2013)

“Our society today has seen a dramatic spike in what psychologists call anxiety disorders. Many who struggle with these conditions wrestle with trusting, with uncertainty, with not having control. Not all who struggle with fear and worry, however, have a “disorder,” for such struggle is universal and comes with living in the world. There are many secular treatments and potential remedies for anxiety. As Christians we have all these, and much more, at our disposal in our fight against fear and anxiety. To the challenge of not having control, we have the ultimate answer and solution: God is in control. Those who deny God’s existence or who do not turn to Him in their lives, deny themselves the greatest treatment for fear, anxiety, worry and doubt. Our God offers us something that the world cannot give us, and that is His peace.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


#FatherStephenFreeman #SrDrVassaLarin #FrederickBuechner #Dynamis #FrJoshuaMakoul #ElderThaddeusofVitovnica #RobertWicks #BishopNektaryKontzevitch #StSimeontheNewTheologian #FatherDavidLFontes #SacramentalLivingMinistries #FoundationStudyBible #StJohnofKronstadt #MartinLaird #StPaisios #FrStephenKosoff #AlbertSRossiPhD #StMakariosofEgypt #RevGeorgeMastrantonis #FrPhilipLeMasters #FrStephenDeYoung #StPorphyrios

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