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Apr 11, 2021 286 Margaret Ann Stimatz,
Engage

Toughen Up!

Are you anxious and worried about many things? Then this is for you!

I guess it was my week for meltdowns. As I tried to settle into my prayer time, my mind roared. For the second day in a row, I gave Jesus a rundown of all the health issues plaguing me. I grumbled about how the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 continued to drag on. I fretted about my seemingly unsolvable inadequacies in several relationships, and my discouragement with the big writing project I am involved with that does not seem to be progressing all that well.  “I feel like I’m surrounded by enemies on every side”, I told Jesus, wiping my eyes and blowing my nose hard. I opened the Daily Scriptures (Luke 10:38-42).  And stopped short. Yes— I surely was embroiled in a Martha mess, anxious and worried about many things

I knew Jesus wanted to turn this around, but how?  It was not long before I seemed to hear in my heart two quiet words: “Toughen up.” Instantly I was all attention.  I connected back to a sermon I heard last week on the spiritual toughness of Saint Therese.  “Therese”, I prayed, “you who were so spiritually tough when you faced excruciating suffering at the end of your life, pray for me.  Help me.”

Soon, I began glimpsing how Jesus wanted me to go about this “toughening up.”  I realized that today I needed to concentrate on two things:

1. Trusting Jesus

2. Rejecting Discouragement

Trusting Jesus

I need to focus on Him, not on the problems. Remembering that that He always has my best interest at heart, I will trust His agenda, and not try to tell Him what to do.  Martha made two mistakes that undermined her trust in Jesus.  She focused not on Him, but upon her sister Mary.  And, Martha pushed her own solution forward that Mary should get up and help her.

Rejecting Discouragement

Today I must remember that discouragement is a tool of the Enemy.  It arises from the devil, not from Jesus.  Sometimes, I am tempted to beat myself up with the big stick of self-accusatory thoughts.  Instead of doing that—and thereby putting my attention on myself and my own inadequacies—I will instead remind myself to focus on Jesus and trust in Him.

To help myself follow through on this lesson, I placed an index card on my kitchen counter (where I will see it umpteen times) on which I had written these words:

Toughen Up

“Jesus, Saint Therese, Saint Martha, help me trust, reject discouragement, and toughen up. Pray for me!”

Jesus, I trust in you!

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Margaret Ann Stimatz

Margaret Ann Stimatz returned to Catholicism on the tidal wave of graces released at the death of Pope Saint John Paul II. A retired therapist, she has published numerous magazine articles. She’s currently working on her first book, “Honey from the Rock: A Forty Day Retreat for Troubled Eaters”.

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