“Be not afraid.” -Jesus Christ
Those of us with Christian backgrounds recognize these words as often spoken by Jesus. These words seem to flow often and easily in the Christian scriptures. Yet, here I sit in my sixth decade of life trying to let these words sink into my soul and practice them in my life.
I find it very easy to slip into a state of fear when I let my addictive mind creep into my thoughts. I hear others recovering from their trauma share the same struggles. So I pray in daily routine with mindfulness to healthy thoughts just as I encourage others to do. The practice of mantra serves to provide a sacred alternative to the addictive mind and to our traumatized minds. The practice of gratitude is becoming routine as I take the simple things in life as gifts rather than taking them for granted. Still, the thought of losing my sobriety or reliving trauma will cripple me in fear.
We often hear and offer words of encouragement:
Stay in the moment.
Focus on the present.
Be connected to trusted loved ones.
Know that I am with you always.
The lists of affirmations are endless. I practice, and practice, and repeat. Yet, the fear sneaks in through some unknown crack in my Spiritual core. Fear leaves me in a restless sense of irritation. I am used to numbing this fear with my addictive lies and substances. As I write, I am struck with my tendency to strive for perfection.
“I shall not rest until I rest in you.” These words of St. Augustine from the 5th century remind me of what is often missing in my daily routine, REST. One major barrier to my ability and willingness to rest is my need to forgive. Most important on my list of forgiveness is myself. Self-forgiveness and self-acceptance stir my sense of unrest and agitation, and interfere with my stillness.
Others have forgiven me. God has forgiven me. Evidently, I do not accept the promised love and mercy of my Higher Power. What a gift to reject! I have to practice holding my fear long enough to release it in to the arms of love and mercy. Then I can accept the sense of release and forgiveness.
So my energy today will be to rest, be mindful of the gifts of love and mercy that you offer me, and practice accepting your love and mercy – practice accepting God’s love and mercy, practice accepting forgiveness. In short, I will give myself permission to accept forgiveness.
These are the gifts that lead me beside restful waters.