Author: Diana Shellenberger
“In a world where every lie has currency, is not anxiety the more real and the more human reaction? Now anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. . . . And there is a far worse anxiety, a far worse insecurity, which comes from being afraid to ask the right questions—because they might turn out to have no answer.” Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
My anxiety preceded this time is our country’s history, but the ongoing national deception coming from the highest office exacerbates it. For more than three years I have done my best to separate the truth from lies. I wish I could say this exercise has lessened my apprehension. Exposing lies is not in itself a balm for spiritual insecurity. The antidote to lies is a re-commitment to truth-seeking, something that’s closer than listening to the recitation of the news. Like everything in this life, truth is something we grow into. Choosing experiences and attitudes that help us grow is one way to counter living in an anxious time.
I accept Father Merton’s challenge to ask a question, while making no claim about its correctness or the accuracy of my answers. What does it mean to become spiritually secure?
I offer this short list and invite you to add your own spiritual security practices.
—Pray and meditate. As Christians, prayer is a given. Give yourself time in the quiet to magnify the still small voice of the Spirit.
—Join together with others who are doing the work of peace and justice. Solving humanity’s problems takes sustained attention and work. As members and friends of First Congregational’s beloved community of faith, we have many opportunities to do the Spirit’s work. We practice caring for each other, our communities and the world. Simply being with like-minded people who are working on forward-thinking projects heals spiritual anxiety.
—Make things. Making something new brings good into being. Notice Creation’s beauty. Bring more connection and beauty through friendship and art.
—Be grateful. In the moments when I set aside anxiety, I am more aware of how much I have to be grateful for. The truth is we all have much to be grateful for. We are all loved. We are all blessed. We all have something to give, no matter how big or small the gift. We all can do better. We all can be better. This is the truth. Amen.