Note: This post was originally published on August 29, 2010, about 15 days after my brother passed away. It was a really hard time for me. I am feeling more "anxiously engaged" in good causes these days, and I'm grateful for the insight I gained from writing this post.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists these three definitions:
1 : characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency
2 : characterized by, resulting from, or causing anxiety
3 : ardently or earnestly wishing
Doctrine & Covenants 58:27 reads, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”
This summer for me has been fraught with a lot of anxiety. Mostly the first two definitions. I think that the meaning used in the Doctrine and Covenants is the third – the ardently or earnestly wishing part.
I have been apart from my husband this summer - it’s been nearly 4.5 months so far. I have been anxious about his military training and the possibility of it being extended, and the possibility of us being apart for a longer period of time, postponing our future indefinitely.
My brother passed away a few weeks ago, which has thrown kinks in just about all my other summer plans.
I have most definitely forgotten all about being anxiously engaged in a good cause. Which is probably what has been causing all the anxiety I have been feeling this summer.
It’s interesting – my lack of anxiety for good causes has increased my anxiety about all the contingencies of this summer. Who would have thought not being anxious would make me anxious.
In an attempt to rectify the situation and overcome some of my anxiety caused by my lack of anxiety (how’s that for logic...) I need to find a way to begin being anxiously engaged in a good cause.
Now, it’s hard to think about good causes that aren’t big projects, taking lots of time and energy (two things I’m running short on this summer – time, and energy). But instead of focusing on the long-term, or the broad picture, I am going to start concentrating on a “good cause” each day in which I can be “anxiously engaged.” Hopefully this will help me ease the anxiety I am feeling about this summer, as well as help me draw nearer to the Savior and to Heavenly Father as I follow the commandment to do many good things of my own free will.
I need to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but it doesn’t need to be some big project. I don’t need to start a soup kitchen or volunteer at the hospital or cook meals for every person under the sun.
They can be small things, like reading to my children. Now that is a good cause, and one I can certainly be anxiously engaged in. And if I take it one day at a time, I won’t be judging myself or expecting things of myself. All I will expect is that I find a good cause each day to be anxiously engaged in - and then I have to actually be anxiously engaged in that cause.
Have you ever had a time when your “anxious waiting” for something made it hard to remember to be “anxiously engaged” in something good? How did you overcome the bad anxiety and replace it with the “good” anxiety? What kinds of “good causes” are you able to find each day in which to be anxiously engaged?