Paired with a practice of gratitude, releasing your worries to Spirit can work wonders for an anxious mind and soul.
My wife had recently died of cancer, and I was now the single parent of two daughters (one 13 and another just 2 years old). I was only half a year into being the minister at my first church, and I was many miles away from relatives and friends.
I was filled with grief, fear, and worries. There was intense grief over the loss of my wife, who was not only my lover but my best friend. There were real fears that I would fail to meet my daughters’ needs as a single parent. I also worried about meeting my new congregation’s reasonable expectations.
At times these worries became so intense and unbearable that I felt like a drowning person after the ship has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. I did not see any way back to the surface.
Nothing—absolutely nothing—had changed in the outside world. But something changed inside of me, and that made all the difference.
One day as I was driving and feeling this intense wave of anxieties, I saw a coffee shop. I pulled over, parked, and went inside. There was an empty table. I put my book bag down on it and got a mug of decaffeinated java. Taking out a notebook and pen, I started writing a prayer letter to God.
I wrote about my intense grief and pain over my wife’s death. I poured out my fears and worries about being a single parent. Next, I wrote about my concern that I could be a good minister for my new church. I added financial concerns as well as worries I had about my health. I also expressed the intense loneliness I felt being so far away from family and friends.
Then something deep inside me suggested I start listing my blessings and things I was grateful for. This list was long. That still, small voice also suggested that I write down a few affirmations that meant so much to me. I wrote:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.—Philippians 4:13
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.—1 Peter 5:7
There is only one presence and one power in the universe and in our lives: God the good, omnipotent.—Principle 1 taught in Unity
I release my worries to Spirit and know that all is in divine order.—My affirmation
All of this came alive for me, and I started to feel good. No, not just good but great! I said to myself, Are they putting something in the coffee these days? Then I remembered I had ordered a decaf.
Yes, something had changed, and it was me. I was amazed. Nothing—absolutely nothing—had changed in the outside world. But something changed inside of me, and that made all the difference.
In the following months, there were times when the fear and worry would start creeping back. So I would literally go back to the same coffee shop, order more java, and write another prayer letter to Spirit. This healing medicine kept working and still does to this day.
Excerpted from Strength, Courage, and Comfort for Difficult Times, a booklet from Unity.