The Jesus Prayer and "avoiding the Catch"


Many people, when they find themselves in a good situation, start looking suspiciously around for the catch, that idea that things just aren’t as good as they seem to be and at any minute it will like a house of cards, just collapse.

They may unconsciously brace themselves for the bad things that they believe must necessarily follow the good, or worse they sabotage their good fortune because they feel uncomfortable and ill at ease with their new founded success.

It’s easy to believe that positive fortune is too good to last and that happiness is always fleeting, something like out of the book of Job where his friends tell him that instead of crying about his bad times, he should have been worrying about those good. Did Job really believe he deserved all that good fortune? O come on, no one is that good and so we fall into the hole of believing no one is good and looking for the mote in their eye all the while sticking a board in our own.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop or for the rug to be pulled out from under your feet isn’t healthy. If you are one of those people, like my dear husband V, who is always focusing on the negative possibilities, this itself can put you on edge and eventually invite those negative possibilities into your life, ala a bad version of the Swedenborgian Law of Attraction, and then breathe a sigh of relief when they show up;  like a wayward cavalry relieving you of the ominous burden of success.

So, while you are hyper vigilant, you do not realize that you are waiting, looking around and doing your best to protect yourself from uncertain events, any untoward events, and not realizing that you have missed opportunity as well., all because you know there’s a “catch”.

Chances are you did not realize that by waiting for the worst youare also ignoring the best (sticking the board in your eye or blinding yourself in some Oedipal rage) ? Good things  happen but not if you do not want them, or if you letting them, lazily, slip by.  

When you find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop, ask yourself if there really is a strong possibility of something negative happening, or if your mind has just conjuring up a fear of change?
If it is the latter, then you have to realize that while “nothing does last” not in the eternal sense of the word, and it is those transitory moments, that make life worth living.
I use the Jesus Prayer as my mantra in those cases, and turn to my self-reliance and say I can do this. The Jesus Prayer, Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me, is literally from a verse in the New Testament. 
To say it constantly, repetitiously is part of what Saint Paul says is “living a life in continuous prayer”.  It so struck one Russian soul that his book, “The Way of the Pilgrim” is totally about it.  I recommend, heartily, reading it and you can over heree at Desert Fathers for free.  
By the grace of God I am a Christian man, by my actions a great sinner, and by
calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place. My worldly goods are a knapsack with some dried bread in it on my back, and in my breast pocket a Bible. And that is all.
And so, when I under stress I try to do just that: I ignore everything else and empty my mind and pray. If bad things come into my mind, I push them out and continue with my prayer saying it over and over waiting for the feeling of relief to come and tell me, It’s Ok.

Sometimes I can’t just sit still and pray, so if I can I walk continue praying, saying my mantra “Lord Jesus son of God will have mercy on me because He loves me so.” and changing the last fe wwords however I feel….Lord Jesus, son of God, I love you. Lord Jesus, son of God, please take pity on my. Other times, I enter the ordeal silently praying every time I can, repeating the words, over and over again, waiting for a moment when I know it’s safe to go forward, knowing that I say my prayer, God and I are one, and that I am trying, my mighty best, to accept his will, whatever it is.

It helps.  

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

And sometimes prayer is the busiest you can be.  Amen.