Look Towards Christ and That Will Save You
When a crisis hits, it can shake your world and potentially sabotage your spiritual peace and growth if you give way to hopelessness. I am quite familiar with the paralyzation caused by anxiety-driven turmoil. I’ve been thwarted by it many times before. And though I do not wish to relive past distressing experiences, I cannot deny their effectiveness at revealing some profound spiritual insights about accessing rest in the midst of a storm. Here are three powerful lessons I’ve learned the hard way:
1. Still your mind and quiet your soul
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Pain and anguish can incite loud and racing thoughts. The more you try to control those thoughts or dialogue with them the more they can multiply and consume you. Rest, in this case, is only possible when we pull our attention away from those anxious thoughts through prayer, stillness, and rigorously guarding our senses.
From this place of inner quiet, we practice just being, breathing, and praying for mercy in the present moment. Suffering reveals our vulnerabilities and limitations, waking us up to our desperate need for Christ to save, guide and sustain us. In letting go of all analyses, entrusting our wounds and worries to God, we make room for Him to demonstrate His merciful omnipotence, and obtain relief from the heavy burden of trying to carry our own heartache and confusion.
2. Gratitude is a life preserver
Unspeakably moved by the memory of God’s past kindnesses, by the vision of what He now grants or by all that He holds out as a future reward to those who love Him, the mind gives thanks. In this perspective richer prayers are often uttered.
— St. John Cassian (The Conferences, Conf. Nine sects. 9, 11, 12, 13, 14)
When immersed in darkness, gratitude opens a window allowing Light to pour in. Being children of Light, it is our calling to both fixate on and embody Light and goodness until our last breath on this earth. By calling to remembrance all of the beauty, mercies, and the promises of eternity showered upon us by our loving God, we shift our focus from depravity and defeat to hope and courage. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools there is for becoming unstuck from despondency.
3. Control what you CAN control
I just love this old poem that was popularized by the missionary Elizabeth Elliot titled “Do the Next Thing.” The last stanza says,
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, let this be your demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
Let the light of Christ’s countenance be your psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing!
Then, as He commands you, DO THE NEXT THING.
Once we’ve released what we cannot control and what we don’t understand to Christ, we are free to begin channeling our efforts and energy towards cultivating the soil of our soul. Doing the next right thing, prioritizing above all else becoming more Christ-like in our words, deeds and mindset, provides a way forward, one small intentional step at a time. Establishing stabilizing and healthy routines not only reduces decision fatigue but strengthens our muscles of self-discipline so we can continue bearing fruit regardless of our circumstances. Never is it more important to cling to soul nurturing self-care habits than when life feels particularly difficult and uncertain. We overcome the temptation to spiral into despair when our choices reflect a resurrectional perspective on both our joys and trials.
“You don’t become holy by fighting evil.” St. Porphyrios reminds us, “Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you. What makes a person saintly is love.”
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.