Gary talks about some of our sufferings mean that Jesus is knocking on our door, giving us an opportunity to live a life with Him. Gary touches on subjects such as giving up control, understanding fear and worry, and how we can all lift these up to God for a happier, and closer life with Him.
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Printable Study Guide PDF
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.”St. Alphonsus Liguori
- What are some of your fears and worries? Have you tried giving your worries to God through prayer? Do you trust God with the answer to your prayers—especially if they aren’t the answers you want? As Gary mentioned, we’ve seen the miracles that Jesus did in scripture to heal the ailments and worries of people. We have also seen God’s hand in our lives and in the lives of others. Be inspired! Know that God is with you through it all and that the first fruit of prayer is peace. Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace. There’s a reason for that, because if you hang out with Jesus each day, you will be peaceful.
- Is worry or anxiety something that you struggle with? If so, don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to overcome anxiety. These things take time. Ask God to help you. Draw you close to Him, help you to trust in Him, give you the confidence to present and give the biggest problems that we face to Him. God, help me be humble enough to accept that You are in charge.
- How do you turn to God during times of fear, worry or sadness? Do you pray? Do you take action? Take a moment to think about the best way to handle these emotions.
- Prayer: God, help me be humble enough to accept that You are in charge.
Text: Moving from Fear to Faith, Part II
And welcome back to From Fear to Faith. I’m Gary Zimak, and it’s so great to be with you here for this online retreat. How are we doing so far? Are you starting to feel a little bit better? Well stick with me, because by the end of this 3-part series you’re going to realize that you will be able to live at peace, as long as you turn to the Lord and ask for His help. With that in mind, I’m going to start as I always like to do, in prayer. So let’s turn to our Lord Jesus Christ now in prayer as we begin.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords. Lord, we recognize the fact that because we worry, because we deal with anxiety in our life, there are many times where we don’t recognize You as the Lord of everything. We don’t recognize You as the Lord of our problems. Well that’s going to change today, because we are going to give You our problems. We are going to present to You our worries. We are worried about many things right now, some things may even look hopeless. It doesn’t matter, Lord. We’ve seen what You’ve done in the pages of scripture, we’ve seen many times what You’ve done in our lives as well.
Jesus, You can perform miracles, You cured the sick, You gave sight to the blind, You raised people from the dead, and You rose from the dead Yourself, Jesus. You can do all things. That inspires us when we think about it. So we turn to you, Jesus, and ask You to help us. Draw us close to You, help us to trust in You, give us the confidence to present even the biggest problems that we face to You, knowing full well that You love us, and that You can handle these problems. And Jesus, we ask for these things through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, Mary, and we present these intentions to You as You sit on Your heavenly throne with Your Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fear and Worry
Doesn’t it always feel better when you pray? That’s one of the first fruits of prayer, is peace. I don’t know about you, but when I was praying those words, I’ve got some situations in my life right now that I’m facing, challenging, they may even feel hopeless at times. I think “How are these ever going to get straightened out.” But I was feeling the Lord’s peace. This is what happens. You know, this is not going to happen to you overnight. If you’re somebody who has worried for a long time, you’re not going to break the habit overnight. This is a process, my friends. In the time that I’ve been focusing on getting free from worry in my own life with the help of the Lord, I have noticed a huge difference. But I’m still a work-inprogress, I still have a lot of work to do. I’m going to be working on this for the rest of my life. But I’ll tell you, I live most of my days in a very peaceful way. The Lord has brought me such peace, and I’m so blessed that He continued to reach out to me, and He continues to do that.
Alright, let’s start with some more good news. We are going to talk about the difference between fear and worry, because that’s an important topic to address. They’re not the same thing, they’re not even close. But I want to give you some more good news, especially if you’re struggling with anxiety. You know, this healing retreat, I love the idea. It’s so necessary. We all stand in need of healing, maybe not a physical healing but an emotional healing, oftentimes a spiritual healing. Those of us who have been trapped in a prison of anxiety, that anxiety can keep us away from the Lord. Remember what Jesus said to Saint Faustina.
But, if you are somebody who struggles with anxiety, I want to share a bible verse with you, another one that I like to look at as an example of how God can always bring good out of anything, even anxiety. This comes from Revelations 3:20. That’s Revelations 3:20. These are the words of Jesus: If you are anxious, if right now, as a matter of fact, you’re experiencing fear, these words from the Lord are addressed to you. Revelations 3:20: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Jesus Knocks on Our Door
Let’s break this down for a minute, because it’s a great verse. The Lord’s not going to force His way into your life. For many years, I was somebody who worried about everything. I mentioned in the previous segment I worried about my parents’ health. I also worried that I had numerous diseases. I was a big-time hypochondriac. I worried I would fail in school, I worried that I’d get beat up in school, I worried that I’d never go out on a date. I mean, so many different things I worried about for no real reason, but I worried about them. I never understood this concept of Jesus knocking on my door, especially when I was afraid. So that’s why I read from Revelations 3:20, because every time you feel fear in your life, that’s the knock on the door.
See, the Lord uses our anxiety oftentimes to draw us close to Him. Sadly, some people never get that, they never make that connection. The Lord is just not going to force His way into our lives and take over, even though He is Lord. He is allpowerful. He could if He wanted to, but He won’t do that. He respects our free will too much. So He knocks on the door. And oftentimes, that knock comes through the anxiety that you feel, especially when you’re feeling hopeless, especially when you feel “What am I going to do?” And in that verse, He stated that He knocks on the door, and if we hear His voice, right, hear His voice, which we have been doing in this series by looking at scripture – we’re hearing His voice, and we’re going to hear more of it before we finish – if we hear His voice and open the door, let Him in, what’s He going to do? He’s going to come in. That’s what we need to remember.
When you are afraid, that’s the knock on the door. Every time you are in fear, you have the opportunity to invite the Lord into your life. He wants to get very involved. He just doesn’t want to see you on Sundays, He just doesn’t want to see you for your morning prayer time, He wants to be involved in the workplace, in your struggles at home, in your struggles in dealing with the many problems that we can face in the world. He wants to be involved in all of that. But it’s up to you and to me to let Him in. Once you start doing that, He will come in, and your life will change.
The Prince of Peace
Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace. There’s a reason for that. Because if you hang out with Jesus each day, you will be peaceful. Now, I have to tell you, there is a catch to this. I’ve been doing these talks for several years now, but just recently the Lord has been enlightening me with some new information. I love it, He gives me new material all the time. And if I wasn’t learning, if I wasn’t constantly growing in my own spirituality, growing closer to Him, then something would be wrong with me. So I’m not afraid to say that – I have learned some things – and you are going to hear some things in this talk that I have never really discussed before, because these are recent revelations.
Giving Up Control to Him
And a lot of it has to do with the fact that as a type-A controlling personality, I don’t like to let… I don’t like to relinquish control. I don’t do it easily to anyone, including the Lord. And many of us who worry, that’s our problem: we like to control. We like to control the things we can control, and what else? And the things we can’t control. That’s what cause the anxiety. When you try to control the uncontrollable, you’re going to become anxious. Letting go and letting God. It’s an old cliché, but it’s a good one. Let Him do His thing, and great things will happen.
So we’ll talk more about that. But if you struggle to give up control, and you’re trying to do it all by yourself, you’re going to fail. “Wait a minute, you’re saying, Gary, that I’ve got to give up control to the Lord, but I might not even be able to do that without help?” That’s right. And we’ll talk more about that, because you can’t force yourself to trust God. You can’t force yourself to stop worrying. You can’t force yourself to not be afraid, you just can’t do it. Does that mean you can’t feel peace? No. Because if you take the right steps, and if you know what you should do that will put you on the path to peace, then you’re going to be fine. You can do this, it’s just you’ve got to focus on doing what you can do. Does that intrigue you? Well, we’re going to talk more about it.
I mentioned last segment that I wanted to talk about the difference between fear and worry, because there is a huge difference, and we want to make sure that we get that cleared up. Okay, fear. What is fear? Fear is an emotion. Fear is an emotion which is caused by the belief that something, someone, or a situation that we may encounter can cause harm, or will be painful. That’s what fear is, it’s a feeling, it’s an emotion. It is sometimes referred to as a passion.
Now, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the church teaches that passions, feelings, emotions, whatever you want to call them, are morally neutral. They’re not right, they’re not wrong; they are morally neutral. In and of themselves, they are just feelings, because we can’t control them. I might tend to become more afraid than you might in a particular situation. Some people can drive through dangerous neighborhoods, can go out into difficult situations, can travel throughout foreign countries not knowing the language, riding public transportation and have no fear, because they are hardwired to just accept that “Well, I’ll get through this.” But others really struggle with things like that. Some people struggle with medical tests. “I’m afraid to go for tests.” You know, that’s my nature. I’ve always been terrified of going for medical tests because, the way my brain is wired, I automatically think “Well, there’s probably something wrong.” Not everybody thinks that way. So we’re all different, but we can’t control fear. And I want you to… I want you to remember that, and take comfort in that fact. It’s okay to be afraid.
Saint Francis de Sales said this: “We must not fear fear.” And as I like to say when I give my talks sometimes, “Do not be afraid to be afraid.” It’s okay. If we look throughout the bible, we will see many holy people who experienced the emotion, the feeling of fear. Abraham, Moses, the Blessed Mother? You bet. Look at the encounter with the angel Gabriel and the Blessed Mother when he told her to not be afraid. Yes, she was afraid. Never committed a sin in her life, was conceived without original sin, but she felt fear. Saint Joseph, documented as being afraid. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and said “Do not be afraid, Joseph, to take Mary as your wife.” He was afraid. Saint Paul is also documented as being afraid in scripture.
Now, all of these people, they’re holy. They were afraid. So it is okay, really, believe me. Do not be afraid to be afraid. It doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters what you do with that feeling. And that’s why this talk is called From Fear to Faith. Look, if your anxiety always leads you to get down on your knees and turn to the Lord in prayer, well then thank Him for that, because that’s a great blessing. Many of us wouldn’t have ever turned to the Lord. I can’t say for sure, but I know the way I am. If I didn’t struggle with anxiety, there is a very good chance that I would have cruised through life without really ever working on a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s my anxiety that brought me to Him.
And, you know, I hate to say it, because, you know, as somebody who’s really thought and prayed a lot about this, it makes me a little queasy to say that I always find it easier to pray, or I pray more earnestly, when I’ve got troubles in my life. You know, it’s like, ugh, I wish that wasn’t the case, but the Lord knows what we need. It doesn’t mean we’re going to get bombarded with horrible problems. Sometimes uncertainty, and sometimes our nature to be afraid of something that might happen – it doesn’t even have to be a real problem – can be enough to draw us closer to the Lord. So sometimes He’ll use that, He’ll work with that tendency to be anxious.
So, don’t feel bad about being afraid. Feel bad about letting that fear turn to worry. I already talked about fear, it’s an emotion. What’s worry? Worry is a conscious decision? “What?” Yeah. It is. We don’t think about it, but worry is not the same thing as fear. Worry is when we let our thoughts and mind run away with us, when we give way to those feelings of uncertainty, or doom, or suffering, or tragedy, or whatever it is, and we let the wheels in our mind spin. “What happens if I don’t ever get better from this illness?” “What happens if my husband never finds a job?” “What happens if my children never start speaking to me again?” “What happens if I never get married? I’m so lonely.” It goes on and on and on, and we worry. It’s not fear, it’s worry. It is a conscious decision.
I know that’s a hard message for me to have to deliver, but it is the truth. We can control it. And we’ll talk about what we can do. You’ve got to do something instead. Remember, From Fear to Faith. If that fear leads us to worry, that’s a problem. We’ve got to address that. We’re not going to grow closer to the Lord by doing that. If that fear leads us to a closer relationship to our Lord, then bring it on, because it’s going to be helpful.
A Real Relationship with the Lord
Now, before we close out this segment, I want to let you know something: Over the years that I have been turning to the Lord on a daily basis, and really working on my relationship with Him, as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit, my fears have decreased. Why is that? Because this is a real relationship. Remember I said in the beginning that I can’t give you the peace that you’re looking for? But I can send you to our Lord Jesus, who will get you closer to His Father, and who will put you in touch with the Holy Spirit, and you get all of the Trinity working. And you’re going to start to feel more peaceful.
Because as you grow closer to the Lord, you’ll trust Him more, you’ll love Him more, and you’ll begin to realize that “Hey, I don’t know how this will work out, but somehow it’s going to work out, because He’s bigger than all of my earthly fears.” So, as you continue to put this into practice, these steps – and we’ll go into the steps in the next segment – as you put them into practice more and more, and grow closer to the Lord, because that’s what this is all about, you will feel less afraid. I can almost guarantee it. That’s the natural process of coming into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Okay, so we’re going to take a break now and close out this segment. When we come back, I will present the steps that you have been waiting for: the 5 P of Peace. Stay tuned. This is going to get really good. And relax, because peace is on the way.
About Gary Zimak
Gary Zimak is the author of several books, including A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible, From Fear To Faith and Stop Worrying & Start Living. He is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the country and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition, Gary is the creator and host of Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia, a regular guest on EWTN TV and Radio and the Director of Parish Services for Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Church in North Wales, PA. Gary also writes for The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest and Catholic Exchange. He resides in South Jersey with his wife Eileen and daughters Mary and Elizabeth. You can follow him online at FollowingTheTruth.com.