I try to take advantage of the opportunity of Rosh Hashanah in a new way each year. I try to think of additional insights and ways to grow. I try to refresh my mind and my efforts. I’m a little tired of working on the same old, same old (no more diet plans!), and finding that too uninspiring to even begin to move me forward. So this year, in my variation on the theme, I’m working on two things – trust and choice, and on choosing to trust.

I don’t mean to be cute; this is a serious and concerted effort. In the realm of trust, I am practicing moving through my fears. Life is not without fears, worries and anxieties (especially if you’re a Jewish mother!); the question is what to do with them? If they are very serious, we may need some professional help, but for your garden variety, we don’t want to turn to pharmaceuticals. We want an attitude that will help us cope and even thrive.

This year, I am choosing to recognize that these concerns are perfectly normal (a “better” or more evolved person would not a lead a carefree, worry-free existence) but I have to respond to them by reaching out to the Almighty. When my anxieties threaten to overtake me and bring me down, I have to remind myself that the Almighty is running the world. I have to turn to Him to give me the strength and courage to keep moving forward. Fear is an opportunity like any other; a chance to grow, a chance to develop my potential, a chance to connect to God. I don’t want to waste it.

This has to be more than an insight; this must be a choice. But the desire to give in to my anxieties is very strong. Our yetzer hara (negative inclination) feeds us new and more creative thoughts and ideas to worry about all day long. It is the path of least resistance to just give in to it, to just indulge the urgings of the yetzer hara and let myself be overtaken by all my worries (child by child, grandchild by grandchild). But I can choose to push back. I have to choose not to allow these thoughts to invade my mind and terrorize me. I have to fight these ideas and repel these thoughts. I have to ask the Almighty to be at my side in my battle against this negativity. I can’t do it alone but I can do it.

It’s ironic that being a worry-wart and being consumed with anxiety is actually the easier path. But such is life. And such is our challenge. I know that an anxiety-free life is not available, not if we choose to involved ourselves in the world and in the lives of others, not if we choose to love and to give and to be loved and taken care of in return, not if we choose to make ourselves open and vulnerable, not if we choose to really live. But that’s okay. Because the rewards are so much greater. And in those moments, be they in the middle of the night or as I drive alone in my car when I feel my worries start to gain the upper hand, I know I have a choice to make. I need to recognize that these are merely the tools of the yetzer hara and I need to ask the Almighty to help me fight back.

I am confident that if I sincerely ask the Almighty for His help, He will respond in the affirmative. May the Almighty bless you with a New Year filled with growth and wisdom.

Share what are you are undertaking this Rosh Hashanah in the comment section below.