Thursday 2 February 2017

Stop Worrying and Start Living - Gary Zimak - 365 Daily Reflections

Stop Worrying and Start Living:
365 Daily Reflections
Gary Zimak

Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781942611653
eISBN 9781942611677

The title of this book makes it sound like a 1001 other self-help books. When I was younger I read a number of them by Sharma, Millman, Coelho, Quinn and more. I wish I this book had been around then, not only could I have benefited from it but I can think of dozens of friends who would have greatly benefited from this book. Gary writes from personal experience, he does not undercut the reality of anxiety, panic attacks, self-doubt, insomnia and other issues of the mind and body. But what he does in this book in the 365 reflections is show us some tools that can help. But they will only help with a little faith and some practice and perseverance.

Gary teaches from his own years of experience, and his reflections to be honest can be beneficial for any Christian looking to grow closer to God, to trust more, to rely more, to maybe even hope a little more. For from his teachings you will learn that it does not matter if you are facing financial hardships, insecurity, health or whatever else keeps you up at night or distressed during the day, that God has a plan for your life for your happiness, for your peace. Even if His answers are not what you are asking for.

Two sample reflections are:

"Do not be afraid, my son, because we have become poor. You have great wealth if you fear God and refrain from every sin and do what is pleasing in his sight." (Tobit 4:21)

When I speak at parishes and conferences, I meet many people who are worried about money. In fact, financial anxiety is one of the biggest sources of stress in the world today.
Tobit's words to his son show great wisdom and indicate that he understands the true meaning of wealth. Having an abundance of money will make us happy only for a while. Furthermore, being rich can even hurt our chances of getting to heaven. No matter how little money you have, the only way you are truly poor is if you don't have a relationship with God. Even though it may not feel like it when you're struggling to pay your bills, if you have Jesus in your life, you are very wealthy!

God, I confess-all too often I get distracted by the things of the world.

Thank you for your presence in my life; with you by my side, I am truly wealthy.

Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words." (Daniel 10:12)

When you've prayed for something and God hasn't seemed to be answering, have you ever reached a point where you've simply stopped asking? While this is a common response, it is not a good one. This verse reminds us that even if he doesn't respond immediately, God always hears our prayers and will answer when the time is right.
Although it can be frustrating, you can grow closer to God during periods of "unanswered" prayer. It gives you the opportunity to walk by faith and express your trust in his providence. Take comfort in the knowledge that God always hears your prayers. Most important, don't ever stop praying for what you need. When you are not getting a response, it's usually because he is up to something big!

Sometimes it feels like you are ignoring me, God.

Help me to be patient and trust in your timing.

I have had friends take their lives, I have had other friends try, I have known friends live in darkness after a divorce, and others that just struggle to see good in each day. This is a book I would share with them. This is a book I know I will read again. This book has the power to change lives. Maybe not all but many. Especially if the reader is open to the Holy Spirit working in and through them, even in the smallest way.

This is a book I will share with many people. But also one I will pick up again from time to time. I will likely read it through following the year of readings next time. But I am just as likely to randomly open it and just read a meditation to experience the encouragement and reminder from Gary's words and experiences.

This was an incredibly book that I was truly blessed to have read and I believe you will be also!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Gary Zimak:
Faith, Hope, and Clarity: How to Know God's Will
Find a Real Friend in Jesus: Ten Amazingly Easy Steps
From Fear to Faith: A Worrier's Guide to Discovering Peace
Listen to Your Blessed Mother: Mary's Words in Scripture
Stop Worrying and Start Living
A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties

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