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Control (Worry and Anxiety)

“…because we did not let go, because we did not surrender to God, because we did not or could not accept our lack of control in the situation, we were deprived of the learning opportunity of experiencing a situation that is resolved without our being in control. Tragically, this then reinforces the hypervigilance and leads us to trust ourselves more than we trust God. It is only when we learn and practice letting go that we create space in our hearts for the peace of Christ…A great irony is that tolerating uncertainty and being at peace with our own powerlessness means being in control. There is a saying in the counseling field, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of that fear will be certain.” Whenever we struggle with a phobia, a fear of something specific, the only way to overcome that fear is to expose ourselves gradually to the feared object. So it is with any fear in our life.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“We humans are born egocentric. The sky thunders and children believe that God is mad at them for something they’ve done—parents divorce and children believe it’s their fault for not being good enough. Growing up means putting aside our egocentricity for truth. Still, some people cling to this childish mindset. As painful as their self-flagellation may be, they’d rather believe their crises are their fault so they can believe they have control. In doing so they make fools and false gods of themselves.” (Richard Paul Evans)

“Our deep habits, nurtured in so many ways, tend towards management. We imagine ourselves to be in charge of history’s outcomes. As such, we nurture within ourselves a “market” for information. News of the world, of events, and trends seem (to us) to be required reading and listening. We even think to ourselves, “How will I know how to pray if I don’t know what is going on?” The corrollary to that thought is, “How will God know what is going on if I don’t tell Him?”…Our culture forms and shapes in each of us the heart of a “manager.” We want to control, to shape, to predict, to compare, to direct, etc. Such a heart has a habit of reducing its world to the things that can be controlled, shaped, predicted, compared and directed. It diminishes human beings as well as the world in which we live. It has no place in the life of the soul.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“We can achieve nothing—and certainly will not help another at all—by ourselves. In fact, when we try to help by ourselves, we often end up doing more harm than good. But when we surrender to Christ, all things are possible with Him.” (Albert S. Rossi, PhD)

“ ‘For he who is least among you all will be great’ (Luke 9:48)… the Lord’s statement is intended to convert us to do the work of His kingdom. We are to humbly cast off our inertia, refuse to behave as if we are superior to others, and abandon our need to be in control.” (Dynamis 10/21/2020)

“On some level we feel that we can’t trust others, that we can’t trust God to do what is right, and that we have to be in control by being on constant guard duty in our life. Worry is indeed a form of control. We believe subconsciously that as long as we are worrying about a situation, we are doing something about it and are thus in control. However, this is a false sense of control that only robs us of the ability to be in the present moment and subjects us to unnecessary stress.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“…as we have come to exercise more control over the external world, we have surrendered control of our internal realm, supposing that our emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being also depends on what is happening around us.” (Robin Phillips)

“Anxiety is…an “impaired emotion,” stemming from fear, which has a future-oriented component to it. Often with anxiety we try to control or establish an illusion of control around issues that may cause us distress, even though we may have very little control in reality. Anxiety comes in two predominant forms…“Acute anxiety” is one of the body’s best survival tools and helps us to respond quickly when we are in imminent danger….This present-focused form of anxiety resolves itself quickly as the threat passes, and can be understood as the body’s way of energizing you to keep yourself safe. Conversely, “generalized anxiety” or “chronic anxiety” is the type of anxiety that stays with us even in the absence of an immediate threat. This second type of anxiety can cause intrusive and ruminating thoughts, restlessness, insomnia, and headaches, among others symptoms….it is this chronic type that causes disruptions in the quality of our life and causes us to lose our overall sense of peace and stillness or “hesychia.” (Marcus Geromes M.Div, LMFT)

“So how can we trust more in God?...It is an ascetic exercise to release the control we falsely believe that we have over our own lives and the lives of our family members, especially our children. When they are young, we worry excessively about their safety, and as they grow older we can easily become obsessed with what and who they will become. We inadvertently teach them to become anxious due to our own anxieties. Releasing control is a necessary step in trusting God. After all, as parents, we must always remember that, even though God has entrusted us with the sacred task of caring for our children, they ultimately belong to Him.” (Presvytera Ourania Chatzis)

“…we cannot - we simply cannot – control outcomes. We have to do what is right - with a certain measure of prudence of course, for it too is a virtue - and do it with prayer - that is, do what is right and leave the outcome to the Lord. This is actually a win-win situation, because on the one hand, in taking the right sort of risk we are doing the right thing - and if it works, brilliant! Thank God! - and if it fails - well, thank God still, because all things actually work together for good for those who love God….even if we seem to fail - even if we fail - and even if the outcomes of our best intentions are not great - or even make things worse - they will ultimately work for our good - for our salvation - if we love God. Yes - this is true and the experience of all the saints - if we love God! But if we are practical atheists, if we in reality only give lip service to the Lord but do not in fact trust Him and do not accept this path - to take up the cross and follow Him - how truly tragic and pathetic our failures will be!” (Father Andrew Morbey)


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