I will turn your mourning to dancing: A meditation for calming anxiety

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy.
Psalm 30:11

Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
John 4:46b,47


Anytime I’m feeling anxious, I turn to Scripture and always find words of encouragement. These readings, above, are brimming over with hope and the promise of healing. And as the royal official in the story told by St. John experienced, God’s promise is always true. The official insisted that Jesus come with him to his house and cure his son, but Jesus does not comply with the official’s conditions; he doesn’t follow his directions, though he does cure the boy: “You may go; your son will live.” And the official believed Jesus and went home to find his son healed. Imagine how he first felt anxious because Jesus wasn’t following him home; and then imagine how that anxiety turned to joy!

There are times when I, too, tell the Lord not only what I need, but exactly how he should do it! I probably do that more than I realize. Even in my own worst days, as I experienced my own helplessness and vulnerability so acutely, I found myself praying, “Lord Jesus, what do you want of me? What is it you want me to do?” The answer that echoed in my heart was, “I don’t want you to do anything. I simply want you to remain in me and trust me.”

I know that in doing what he asks, I will experience his promise of “new heavens and a new earth.” He will most certainly change “my mourning into dancing.” In the meantime, while I wait in confidence, I am seeking to slow down, to accept the added limitations and spend some time in contemplative hobbies (I like to make rosaries); and become always more aware of God’s presence and his gifts – rejoicing and happy in what he creates.

Help me remember, God, before I lose myself in whatever it is that is frightening me, I can be still and remember these promises. You have promised my mourning will someday turn to dancing. You have promised my sadness will turn to joy. Help me to be patient, because everything happens in your time. You love me and you are with me, no matter how I feel, no matter what is going on in my life. You are always here. Amen

A reflective pause

  • Go to a place where you can be alone for a few minutes, where you can find silence. Find a posture or position that is relaxed and comfortable.
  • Breathe deeply. Inhale, exhale. Do it again.
  • If you feel sorrow creeping into your heart, tell it that it has no power. Sorrow and pain have no power over you. They have no power over God. God is stronger than all your grief, stronger than all your hurts.
  • Imagine Jesus speaking to you, and saying, “You do not have to do anything. All I want is for you to simply be. Be with me in this moment.”
  • Invite your heart to be still. Offer a word of gratitude to God.

To tuck in with you tonight

I trust, my God, that you know my sorrow and my pain.

by Sr. Mary Leonora Wilson, FSP

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