If worrying were a sport, I’d be in the Olympics. And I would take home the gold.
From the time I was a child, I’ve had an anxious personality. So I have to admit that I was taken aback when Jesus explains that in the Parable of the Sower the seeds among the thorns are those choked by the “anxieties and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14).
A panic attack is hardly something I would volunteer for. It’s certainly not rich or pleasuring. Those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or other forms of mental illness know more than anyone that you cannot simply choose to be rid of it.
As I found myself becoming more and more defensive, while reading Scripture no less, I recognized just how cunning the enemy was being in twisting Christ’s words in my head!
Ironically I found myself worrying again—about you, dear sister. That you might be someone living with mental illness and believe the lie that you’re less than. Or that you might be someone who does not yet understand the complexities of mental illness and mistakenly think it’s something one can just push through or pray away.
I want to be clear, mental illness and anxiety disorders are not examples of the seeds that fall on thorns. My defensiveness and fear are, when they're demonstrating a lack of trust in God, in God’s goodness, and in my dependence on Him. And those are not things I am proud of.
But by the grace of God, and thanks to the gift that is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I have faith that I can root myself in good soil as I intentionally strive to listen to God's Word and "embrace it with a generous and good heart" (Luke 8:15).