ICDT #32: Frantic, Anxious Work

anxiety framework i can do that icdt psalm 23 May 09, 2022

“Unnatural, frantic, anxious work, work done under pressure of greed or fear or any other inordinate passion, cannot properly speaking be dedicated to God, because God never wills such work directly.” (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 19)

These words are a direct blow to my anxiety. Frantic work is never God’s invitation. Simply being reminded of this can be enough to quell the low hum of anxiety.

If I know anything about myself it’s this: I want all that I do to be dedicated to God. And if anything stands in the way of that, I want to stop doing it as soon as I am able.

So I’ll sink further into this reality: “The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.” 

The ways of Jesus are found in the Great Commandment, the Fruit of the Spirit, the Sermon on the Mount, Psalm 23, and more. We do not see Jesus moving frantically or anxiously. 


Even with all of his interactions, he always shared underlying dynamic: “I do what the Father is doing. I say what the Father is saying.” He always knew what he was about and he felt no need to push or to burn the fuel of anxiety. Jesus was not frantic.

Identify an area of your life in which you are moving frantically or anxiously. Remember, as Merton said, God never wills such work. How might you make an inner shift that leads to working from a non-anxious heart?


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