Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved. Reach out in understanding, clasp their hands, and invite all to share in the blessings of community created in the name of the One who suffered on behalf of all. -Doctrine and Covenants Section 161:3a
“Have you ever tried meditation?” That was the question my doctor asked when I shared about the panic attacks that were impacting me on a regular basis. As a spiritual formation minister, the question made me feel like a failure. Not only do I try meditation, I teach it! I resisted getting help for my anxiety for too long because I felt like I could manage it if I worked harder in my spiritual life. This was a fallacy. The more I ignored it or tried to “fix it” myself, the worse it became.
After a particularly difficult time, I reached out to a therapist, and we began meeting twice a month. The experience reminded me of the perpetual cycle of death and resurrection that occurs throughout our lives. I had to “die to” my image of myself as someone who had it all together and could figure it out on my own so I could experience new life through walking with a mental health professional into wholeness and healing. I still live with anxiety, but its power in my life has diminished. Self-care practices (including prayer and meditation) and a commitment to mental health have helped me live into the resurrection promise of a life of freedom and joy in God (even in the midst of what is hard).
We experience death and resurrection throughout our lives. There are many important ways to acknowledge what is life-diminishing and to embrace habits, practices, and systems of support that are life-giving. It was a practice of humility and surrender to reach out for help, but it also widened my awareness of the suffering of others. Embracing practices of wholeness in my own life has made me more available, once again, to be authentically present with my family and community.
I am drawn to the popular quote by St. Irenaeus that “the glory of God is the human person fully alive.” In this Easter season, what does “fully alive” look like for you? How are you invited into resurrection freedom, healing, and joy?
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).
Enter a time of prayer and hold St. Irenaeus’ quote in your heart. How do your mind, body, heart, and soul work together for your aliveness in God each day? What does it mean in your life and ministry that God desires for each of us to be fully alive?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.