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Are You Tired Of Living In Fear? Help Is On The Way!


 

Catholic Speaker and Author Gary Zimak announces his latest book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier's Guide To Discovering Peace

Are you tired of living in fear? Are you looking for a step-by-step approach to experiencing peace in your daily life? My latest book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace will be available in August of 2014. Pre-ordering will begin soon.

Stay tuned for more information!

It’s “No Complaint Friday”…How Are You Doing?


 

Catholic Speaker, Author and Evangelist Gary Zimak announces "No Complaint Friday".

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. (Psalm 118:24)

Earlier this week on my blog and radio show, I announced my 24 Hour Lenten Challenge, also known as “No Complaint Friday”. You can read the details HERE, but essentially the point is to spend an entire day without complaining about anything. And what better day of the week to choose than Friday, the day that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross in order to make it possible for us to go to Heaven? So, how’s it going? It’s difficult isn’t it? Believe me, I’m struggling with it too. On the other hand, doesn’t it give you a sense of accomplishment and peace? Here’s something to think about. If we can learn to thank God for the trials and suffering in our lives, can you imagine how peaceful we will be and what a great witness we will provide for others?

Keep up the good work and let’s pray for one another as we try (remember that it’s okay to fail, as long as we try) to finish the rest of the day without complaining about anything. And if you can do it for one day, you can probably do it for two, or three. You never know, my friends, we just might be trying this again next week ;-)

Give Up Worrying For Lent…It’s Easier Than You Think!


 

Catholic Speaker, author and leading anxiety expert Gary Zimak offers a simple suggestion for how to eliminate worry.

As I travel the country speaking about how to overcome anxiety, one question comes up repeatedly…

“How can I stop worrying?”

For many anxious individuals, a life without worry seems like an impossibility. The good news is that eliminating worrying is not only possible, but it is a very achievable goal. And that statement is coming from someone who has been a severe worrier for most of his life. In fact, not only have I suffered from anxiety from when I was a child, but I have been to the emergency room several times suffering from severe panic attacks. Therefore, if I can overcome worry so can you!

Here’s what you need to remember. Worrying is a choice. Unlike fear, it is not an emotion. We can’t control fear, but we can control worrying. Every time that we begin to worry about something, it involves a conscious (although for some of us it can become subconscious) decision on our part. Therefore, instead of choosing to worry (when we’re afraid), we can choose to pray, or read the Bible, or go to Mass, or spend time with Jesus in adoration. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Whenever I’m tempted to start worrying, I can just as easily turn to the Lord instead. It also makes sense from a practical point of view. Worrying accomplishes nothing, but prayer always produces results.

Lent is the perfect time to try putting this into practice. And yes, I did say “try”. For many of us, worrying has become a habit. As a result, it will take some work to eliminate it from our lives and we will probably fail more than we succeed. But don’t give up. With God’s help, it is a winnable battle. Why not try it with the next problem that you encounter? Just one time. Try it and see how you feel. If you succeed then you can try it for the next problem, and the next. Before you know it, you’ll be giving up worrying for Lent. And, by the way, if you’re tempted to feel that it’s impossible to give up worrying, remember the words of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Mother:

“…for nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)

I Finally Stopped Worrying. Here’s How I Did It…


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak explains how he stopped worrying

I got to thinking the other day and I came to a surprising realization…

I don’t worry anymore!

If you have heard me speak or read my books, you’ll understand why this is a monumental occurrence. It is a well known fact that I have been a severe worrier for most of my life. While I credit my anxiety with drawing me closer to the Lord, the act of worrying was having the opposite effect. The more I would worry, the less I would trust God. Now, despite two years of full time work as a Catholic Evangelist (with no guaranteed salary and literally living month to month), I have found myself in a position that I never thought possible. I don’t worry anymore!

So, what changed? How was I able to finally break free from worrying? The answer will probably surprise you, as it did me. For many years, I tried to stop worrying. I made up my mind many times over the years that I was going to “Let Go, Let God”, “Be Not Afraid” and “Let Not My Heart Be Troubled”. And I failed, and failed again and failed many times after that. It wasn’t until some time not that long ago that I realized that I was trying too hard. I know that it sounds crazy, but the reason that I couldn’t stop worrying is that I was trying too hard not to worry!

Before you think that Gary has officially lost his mind, let me finish the thought. I was trying to stop worrying by using the “mind over matter”, “positive thinking” approach and that’s why I failed. Even though I supplemented this method with a healthy dose of prayer, Bible reading and the Sacraments I couldn’t stop worrying. Then one day the answer dawned on me. I was trying so hard that I wasn’t letting Jesus help me. As is the case with most people who like control, I was so determined to fix the problem on my own that I wouldn’t let anyone, including the Lord, help me. Once I stopped trying so hard and let Jesus do the “heavy lifting”, my worrying decreased dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I still experience fear and concern. These feelings are normal and can even be helpful, as they sometimes let you know that it’s time to take action. Worrying, on the other hand, is a useless and unproductive response to fear. While there are several correct ways to respond to fear, your overall objective should be to draw near to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer to any problem or difficulty that arises in your life.

If you feel that you’re too weak to give up worrying, you’re probably right. I’m in the same category. The good news is that the Lord knows that we’re weak and that we can’t just force ourselves to stop worrying. Instead, He wants us to stop trying to do it on our own and let Him help us. Take it from me, my friends, the easiest way for you to break free from anxiety is by focusing less on giving up worrying and more on Jesus. Doing this has made a huge difference in my life and has finally allowed me to stop worrying.

So where do you start? You start by speaking with Jesus daily and asking Him to take control of your life. Make it a point to read the Bible each day, even for a few minutes. The daily Mass readings are perfect for this. Additionally, receive the sacraments of Holy Communion as often as possible. Finally, turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you. As you grow closer to the Lord, your worrying will begin to decrease. If you need more assistance, I’m excited to announce that my next book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace (coming in August 2014 from Liguori Publications) will offer a step by step method for overcoming worry in your life. It’s a book designed for those of us who are weak and can’t do it on our own. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) for more details, including how to pre-order the book. I’ve also developed a new talk, “How To Stop Worrying TODAY” that I’ll be presenting in parishes around the county. Contact me to find out how to invite me to speak at your parish.

Don’t lose hope, my friends. I finally stopped worrying and you can too. Jesus is the answer and He is waiting to help you!

Thy Will Be Done – The ULTIMATE New Year’s Resolution!


 

“The perfect prayer is not one in which we tell God what we wish from Him, but rather one in which we ask God what He wishes from us.” (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

It’s that time of the year again. Time to think about making some positive changes in our life. When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, however, we usually tend to overlook spiritual changes. Sure, it’s a great idea to give up smoking or to go on a diet, but is it THE most important thing we can do? I don’t think so. In my opinion, the ultimate New Year’s resolution is to put into practice one of the key petitions of the Lord’s prayer:

Thy Will Be Done!

While it sounds simple in theory, it’s very difficult to put into practice. Why? Mainly because it’s not easy to look past our own desires and offer ourselves completely to the Lord. If we can manage to make this resolution, however, it’s the greatest act of love that we can possibly offer. Joseph did it, Mary did it. Even Jesus did it when (on the night before His death) He prayed:

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Think about it. Instead of always asking for what you want, try asking the Lord what you can do for Him in the upcoming year. Can you imagine what He could do in your life if you made this a priority in 2014?

Trusting God…Even In The Storm!


 

“Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you today and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” (St. Francis de Sales)

Those of us who have a tendency to be anxious almost always have one weak spot. Mine has always involved death. Ever since I was a young child, I have spent many hours worrying about death…either my own or that of a family member. As I’ve struggled to overcome my anxiety, it has been necessary to face this fear multiple times. When my twin daughters were 3 years old, my wife began experiencing some unusual symptoms which required her to undergo a battery of tests. I remember thinking repeatedly, “What will I do if she dies?” I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to raise my children alone. Sadly for me at the time, I was so worried that I forgot all about God’s Divine Providence. As the saying goes, and what so many of us need to remember is “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!” In his new book, It Is Well (Life In The Storm), Chris Faddis offers a powerful testimony reminding us just how true those words really are!

In 2011, Chris’ wife Angela was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. At the time, their children were 2 and 4 years old. Over the next 17 months, the family faced the ups and downs associated with a life threatening illness. On September 21, 2012, Angela Faddis died while holding the hand of her husband. On the surface, the story of the Faddis family appears to be a painful tragedy. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The story of their cancer journey, as told by Chris Faddis, is one of the most UPLIFTING stories that you’ll ever read. Why? Because it illustrates how faith in God can bring you peace and get you through the most difficult situations imaginable. It is a story that we all need to read!

How can a couple with two small children find peace in the midst of a cancer battle that threatened to (and ultimately did) take the life of a young wife and mother? It was possible due to their strong faith, even in the storm! I do a great deal of speaking about overcoming anxiety and this book perfectly sums up the message that I deliver…

God will always be there for you, EVEN in the storm!

If you are anxious about the future, this book will provide the perfect antidote. You’ll read a first hand account of what it means to trust God at all times. Through the writing of someone who’s “been there, done that” you will learn that it is possible to face an uncertain future with the Lord by your side. Even if you’re not someone who tends to worry, this book will inspire you. I HIGHLY recommend it!

To order the book, visit the IT IS WELL website.

A Little Faith Goes A Long Way!


 

How important is faith? According to Jesus, it’s VERY important:

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive it if you have faith.” (Matthew 18:22)

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.” (Mark 5:34)

“Rise and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)

We often become uncomfortable when we read Jesus’ words, fearing that the reason our prayers aren’t answered is due to a lack of faith. This can result in anxiety because we don’t know how to increase our faith. In fact, doesn’t the Church teach that faith is a gift? If that’s the case, is there ANYTHING that we can do to increase it? Interestingly enough, the apostles had the same concern and took it up with Jesus:

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)

As per usual, Jesus’ answer is a bit surprising:

The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

If we read between the lines, the Lord appears to be telling the apostles that they are not making use of the faith that they already have. This message applies to each one of us. While praying for an increase in faith is certainly a recommended practice, are we making use of what we’ve already been given? A good example of putting faith into practice can be found by looking at an event that occurred as Jesus and His disciples experienced a storm while riding in a boat. While this is hardly a story that ever gets used to illustrate what strong faith looks like, dissecting it can yield some surprising conclusions.

He got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matthew 8: 23-27)

For years, I would look at this story and criticize the disciples, wondering how they could be worried when Jesus was in the boat with them. Recently, however, I’ve come to realize that they handled this situation a lot better than I’ve handled similar events in my life. Instead of just worrying when they realized their lives were in danger, they went to Jesus and asked Him to save them. That was smart! How many times do we begin worrying about our problems and forget to pray? The fruit of their prayer was that Jesus calmed the storm. He didn’t say, “Sorry, you didn’t trust me. You’re on your own!” Notice also that Jesus never said they had no faith, saying instead that they possessed “little” faith. Obviously, they had some degree of faith in Christ because they went to Him for help. They believed that He could fix the problem. While their faith may have been weak, they had SOME faith and that was enough!

While it’s encouraging to realize that we can indeed “move mountains” with faith the size of a mustard seed, imagine what we could do if our faith was even greater! So what can we do? How is it possible to increase our faith? In his apostolic letter Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI addressed this very question:

Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples. Believers, so Saint Augustine tells us, “strengthen themselves by believing”.

One of the best ways for our faith to grow is by putting the faith we already have into practice. The more we trust in the Lord and His providence, the more He will increase our faith. This often means stepping into action, even if we’re afraid. It means praying for a miracle healing or a new job, even when the odds are against you. The very act of praying implies that you do have faith and that you’re trusting in God. You may not trust a lot, but you trust enough to ask for His help. Don’t let the fact that you’re afraid cause you distress. Being afraid isn’t as important as what you do with that fear. The disciples were afraid during the storm, but that fear led them to go to Jesus. They exercised what little faith they had and the Lord came to their assistance. Good things happen when we step out in faith. The greatest example of this can be seen when we look at the life of our Blessed Mother. Her “yes” (even though she didn’t know most of the details) resulted in the arrival of our Savior!

By all means we should continue to ask the Lord to increase our faith, but we must never forget to make use of the faith we already have by praying frequently and with confidence. By doing so, an outpouring of graces and blessings will be unleashed…even if our faith is as small as a mustard seed!

“Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach.” (Mother Angelica)

Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Saying “Yes”!


 

“If you want to do something for the Lord, do it! Whatever you feel needs to be done, even though you’re shaking in your boots and you’re scared to death – take the first step. The grace comes with that first step, and you get the grace as you step. Being afraid is not a problem. It’s doing nothing when you’re afraid, that’s the problem.” (Mother Angelica)

It’s okay to be afraid.

Are you kidding me? The author of A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible and a frequent speaker on conquering anxiety is saying that there’s nothing wrong with being afraid…what’s going on here? Well, friends, I really did mean what I said. As I often state in my parish talks, fear is a perfectly normal emotion in certain circumstances. It can even be helpful, especially when it motivates us to DO something. On the other hand, fear becomes a problem when it leads to worry or causes us to NOT do something that we should do.

God often asks us to do things that frighten us…

Share our Faith with others, some of whom may react in a hostile manner.

Apologize to someone we have offended.

Trust in His providence by accepting a lesser paying, but more rewarding job.

Offer up our illness or suffering.

Two years ago, after dismissing the idea numerous times as being “impossible”, my wife and I felt that we were being called to homeschool our children. Although we were afraid and skeptical, we trusted (barely) that the Lord would be there for us. We said, “yes”. A few months later, I was laid off from my day job, and we decided that I should finally try to earn a living as a full time Catholic Evangelist. Again, we again said, “yes”. To be totally honest, however, we were scared to death both times. What we’ve discovered in the past two years is that if you say “yes” to the Lord (even if you’re terrified), He can do some incredible things in your life. Even better is that, the more you trust, the more He’ll increase your faith.

The Bible contains numerous stories of people who went along with God’s plan for their lives. Moses, Abraham, Jonah (reluctantly!), Samuel, Isaiah, Mary, Sts. Peter and Paul all said “yes” to the Lord without knowing most of the details. As a result, God was able to use them in amazing ways. In the same way, He wants to use us. Best of all, even our fear isn’t enough to thwart His plans. The only thing that will stop it from happening is when we answer with one word…

“No”!

Want To See An Example Of Pure, Childlike Faith?


 

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Here is one of the most beautiful examples of childlike faith that you will ever see. Sadly, many of lose this kind of unrestrained enthusiasm and trust as we grow older and succumb to the world’s negativity and cynicism. Watch as these joyful Dominican sisters receive the news that a new pope has been chosen. Be prepared for chills, tears and an overall good feeling. This is a powerful example of the joy that results from true faith!

Are You Worried About The Future? Read This…


 

Catholic speaker, author and radio host Gary Zimak offers tips on how to stop worrying about the future

One of the biggest fears that people have is the fear of the unknown. “What if’s” are a frequent source of anxiety in the world today. How will I survive if this, that or the other thing happens to me? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explicitly warned against being anxious about “tomorrow” (Mt 6:34) and pointed out the uselessness of doing so. In spite of that, however, we still waste a lot of time worrying about the future.

When I give my “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” talk at parishes, I always close with the following words from St. Francis de Sales. As someone who is prone to anxiety, I’ve always found tremendous comfort in this message. If you’re worried about the future, please take these words to heart. If you know someone who happens to be anxious, please share it with them. No matter what happens to us in life, God is always right by our side and will give us the grace to persevere!

“Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring, the same loving God who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

(St. Francis de Sales)