At every Mass we hear the words, “…deliver us from all distress.” The Church understands that we tend to be anxious people, but the Lord doesn’t want us to live in distress. He wants us to rest in Him and be restored.
This afternoon, Fr. Martin used the life of St. Peter to identify four things we tend to focus on that cause us to lose our interior peace and experience distress.
Our sins are not obstacles for Jesus. Our sins create distress in our hearts because sometimes they make us believe we are unlovable. That’s a lie. Fr. Martin reminds us, “You are loved as much on your worst day as you think you are loved on your best day.” Does God rejoice in sin? No. Does God rejoice in you? Yes. When we choose to focus on our sin, we deny ourselves the loving gaze of Jesus upon us.
The truth is, there is no circumstance that is too much for God to overcome. Sometimes we feel anxious, wondering when God is going change something that is outside of our control. God can change the circumstances, but He is more interested in changing our hearts. It’s our connection to God, not the perfect life, that gives us peace. Our surroundings do not dictate our peace. God does.
We lose our peace when we, “try to control what we think God’s actions ought to look like.” We are called to think as God does, not as humans do. When the world doesn’t look the way we think it should, we let that bring distress. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to focus on Jesus and keep our peace.
We have a tendency to let other people and the things going on in their lives distract us from the grace and peace of God offered to us in our present moments. God asks Peter, “What is that to you? Follow me!”
Overcoming anxiety is as simple and as complicated as this: Where am I looking? Sin, or God? My circumstances, or God? How I think things ought to be, or God? The people around me, or God?
Jesus says, “Look at me.”