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I am always worrying that God is not happy with me…

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Scrupulosity, Trent Beattie

Dear Trent, I’m always wondering if God is really pleased with me. I try to do my best in everything, but no matter what I do, there’s always a doubt that God might see something wrong with me.

A good way to overcome this doubt is to stop looking for validation, because the very search for it tends to make one feel even worse. As long as you have surrendered yourself to God and are doing all the Church requires of you, there is no need to search for sensible consolation. God does not require us to feel holy, but to be holy.

This is what a man in his early twenties learned. He was a very dedicated Catholic, but wondered whether God was pleased with him, which brought about much depression and anxiety. He wrote,

Lord, I am beginning to feel that awful state of depression coming over me again! I lose all desire for prayer because You have seemed to turn a deaf ear to my cries. My distress grows from day to day…My God, do not let this despair of mine continue…This faintheartedness and lack of faith is frightening.

However, this young man came to the realization that he would find peace of mind by ceasing his search for it. He replaced this search with prayerful surrender to Divine Providence, writing, “

I no longer look for comfort from either Heaven or earth. You, Divine Master, can judge whether such are necessary for me. I propose to worry no more over the aridity You send me. You, my God, are the font of both aridity and grace.

When the search ceased, he found tranquility and peace.

Who was this young man? The first canonized American male: Saint John Neumann.

Trent Beattie lives in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the newly-released book on scrupulosity, Scruples and Sainthood: Accepting and Overcoming Scrupulosity With the Help of the Saints, and he selected the daily meditations for Saint Alphonsus Liguori for Every Day.

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About Trent Beattie

In addition to assembling "Finding True Happiness", Trent Beattie is the author of "Scruples and Sainthood" and the editor for "Saint Alphonsus Liguori for Every Day". He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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  • faithful123

    Got it.  As long as we keep looking for something…we never find it. Usually we find that long sought object in THE LAST PLACE… of our search.

    It’s not that the man found God’s peace…it’s that God’s peace found the man.

    Anxiousness is NOT of God.

  • faithful123

    A poem:

    It is so human to moan and WHINE
    at that time — let’s see His sign–
    that we need the Father; so DIVINE
    and if we do seek God’s FACE
    rest assured He’ll send HIS GRACE.

  • Mary@42

    Dr. Trent, have you been reading my mind???  I have agonized over this self-doubt for quite a while now. As an Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, Christ’s Edict is sure and should leave no room for self-doubt.  His Image – painted the way He appeared to St. Faustina in 1931 – and which we Venerate is validated by the Signature He demanded be appended onto It : “Jesus I Trust  in You”.  The Feast of Divine Mercy that He gave us – celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter – confirms that those who prepare and observe it faithfully with total Faith and Trust as He laid down, will have their all sins and punishment thereof absolved and He shall restore that soul to the condition it was in on the Day of Baptism. And I absolutely have no doubt that this Supra Plenary Indulgence was bestowed on me on 1st Day of  May the Year of Our Lord 2011.  And yet, that nagging self-doubt finds a niche when I am off guard to rear its head.  I must thank you with all my heart for this consoling Post.  The Prayer of Saint John Neumann must be my Prayer from now on whenever that unsettling self-doubt implants itself in my mind

    • Anonymous

      I love the Divine Mercy promises too!

      A friend share this with me, regarding doubts and the negative ‘self-talk’ (putting myself down….calling myself stupid, etc.) They are not of God.  Perfect love casts out all fear……..and doubts are a kind of fear.

      These two bits of advice has been of great help to me.

      Sending Love & Prayers Mary!

      God Bless!

      • Mary@42

        Hey Becky313,  have you been discussing me with my Spiritual Director???? When I brought up this sneaky feeling of self-doubt with him recently, he immediately told me that it is never, ever from God.  It is a trick Satan uses to unsettle and disturb us.  He ordered me never to allow it to upset my peace of mind.  He was right.

        • Anonymous

          No Mary, I haven’t  :) ……but obviously the Holy Spirit is working through all of us.

          It’s interesting; I was seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist for a year or more, and reading lots of self-help books trying to deal with, among other things, these ‘Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANTS as one book described them.  The idea was to stomp on the ‘ANTS’ when we found ourselves thinking about them.  Another thought was to throw your hand out in front of you and yell “STOP!”.  as a means to break the habit.

          Neither of these worked very well for me, but when my friend told me, “They are not of God.” it was almost like a light-switch had been flipped off and I hardly have trouble with them any more.

          God is good!

          • Mary@42

            Thank you my lovable Becky 313.  May God bless you abundantly.  You sure are a pal to me on this slipperly journey of Faith towards our Eternal Home.  No doubt my Spiritual Director will tell me “I told you so!!!!”

  • Jane Kodack

    When I get to feeling like this writer, I remember a statement made by Blessed Mother Teresa:  “We are not called to be successful; only faithful and obedient.”  That, to me, makes it clear that although I am not, and never will be, perfect, my striving–it’s the striving that matters–to be faithful and obedient is what is important.  It is a thought that soothes my soul.

    • faithful123

      Agree Jane. I said it somewhere else on this site; we should strive for perfection; but not ‘fret over it’ too much. God just wants to see us
      TRYING …and with that He does the rest. In the analogy of a little league ball game; the FATHER is proud if His son just hit the ball and get to
      first base. He will then ensure His ‘son’ gets all the way HOME.

      all our ‘little efforts’ when God sews it all together – is one day going
      to be ONE magnificent tapestry. It’s not ‘me’ ‘I’ doing great things for
      God…its WE… a little here a little there and before you know it; an
      entire KINGDOM is built up.  WE as in BODY of CHRIST. ONE
      GRAND MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST…

  • http://twitter.com/hyldad Diane Duggan

    Thank you so much for this post.  This seems like it was directed at me.  God works in wonderful ways.

  • Schinmd

    That title mad me catch my breath! That is how I feel. Now that I am a senior citizen I look back and wonder if I have done anything at all pleasing to God.  I know my sins are forgiven but feel “up to now I have done nothing”.  The more you love Someone, the more you want to please Him.  I have had good parents, seven children, am now a widow but I wish I could do it all over again with my mature wisdom.  I ask Jesus to make my crooked ways straight where I have made mistakes and trust that my children and all young people will find their way back to the Catholice faith.

    • Jesusbpraised

      Everything is a grace….even and probably most especially, our mistakes. They make us who we are in our senior years, because of how we have been molded and strengthened by God because of them. We have learned much because of them, most of all that we are really human and weak and are so utterly dependent on Him.

      God bless you on your journey!

  • http://twitter.com/thereserita thereserita

    The answer here is helpful but my response to this & every single temptation is simply to ‘capture’ it. The minute I perceive what the evil one’s trying to do (in this case, get me to doubting my relationship with God), I just say “Lord, use this temptation to help me or someone who really needs your help right now.” This is a 100% foolproof method of putting temptation to flight bc it is the opposite of what the devil’s trying to accomplish.

  • kiwi11

    I really like this….this is something I’ve struggled with. I understand the peace when you stop searching though. When you finally surrender to something is when it starts going well, or at least the peace you find with not having an answer. Its quite amazing really!