Our age has been called the age of anxiety, and I think it’s probably a good description for this time. We no longer know where our foundations are. When we’re not sure what is certain, when the world and our worldview keep being redefined every few months, we’re going to be anxious. We want to get rid of that anxiety as quickly as we can. Yet, to be a good leader of anything today—to be a good pastor, a good bishop, or, I’m sure, a good father or mother—we have to be able to contain, to hold patiently, a certain degree of anxiety. Probably the higher the level of leader someone is, the more anxiety he or she must be capable of holding. Leaders who cannot hold anxiety will never lead us to anyplace new. That’s probably why the Bible says so often, “Do not be afraid.” I have a printout showing that the phrase appears 365 times—one for each day of the year! If we cannot calmly hold a certain degree of anxiety, we will always be looking for somewhere to expel it. Expelling what we can’t embrace gives us an identity, but it’s a negative identity. It’s not life energy, it’s death energy. Formulating what we are against gives us a very quick, clear, and clean sense of ourselves. Thus, most people fall for it. People more easily define themselves by what they are against, by who they hate, by who else is wrong, instead of by what they believe in and whom they love.
—from The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM