I can't remember the first time I actually met my friend Gary Zimak in person, but I do remember that I immediately felt comforted by his presence. Our residences on opposite sides of this big country make in-person visits a challenge. But our friendship is strong. Time and time again, Gary has reminded me to turn to God when I am most anxious or afraid. By creating resources that are practical, rooted in faith, and "real world" tested, Gary reminds me that I am never alone.
Gary is one of the few people for whom I'll willingly wake up at 3:45 am on a regular basis. This is because being a guest on Gary's awesome morning radio show once a month is a very small way of saying, "Thank you" for the many ways he has blessed my life. A prolific author, an inspirational speaker who empowers folks to change their lives, an entertaining radio host and guest, and a devoted husband and dad, Gary is the kind of person you want in your life.
Gary's newest project, his Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled podcast and community, are my friend's latest ways of blessing those of us who struggle with anxiety and worry. Although we don't get to visit in person often, I know Gary and his family's story well enough to tell you that Gary has discovered an elusive key to quelling the things that most frighten us: faith. The resources he creates are impactful because this is a journey he walks alongside us.
Q: Gary, congratulations on all of the beautiful work you are doing to support and uplift so many. Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to my friends here at the blog.
Thank you for the opportunity, Lisa. After a thirty year career in the software industry, I felt the Lord calling me into full-time ministry and have been doing that for the past six years. I have written six books, spoken at parishes and conferences around the country, host several radio shows and blog for a variety of Catholic publications. By the grace of God, I have become the leading Catholic speaker on overcoming anxiety. My message is simple – Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus! The only way we will ever have lasting peace is through a personal relationship with Him. I have been married to my lovely wife Eileen for twenty-three years and have amazing nineteen-year-old twin daughters – Mary and Elizabeth. We live in Southern New Jersey, just over the bridge from where I was born in Philadelphia.Click To Tweet
Q: How did your own personal journey with anxiety and worry lead to your wonderful new podcast "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"?
I am living proof that it is possible to break free from worry with the help of the Lord. Panic attacks, digestive disorders, heart palpitations and sleepless nights were part of my life for many years. A health scare in 2004 provided me with the opportunity to encounter Jesus on a personal level and I was astonished by the peace that filled my heart. Wanting to share Christ with others, I began blogging and speaking at local parishes. Before long, I was invited to appear on EWTN Catholic Radio. A few years later, I was moved to direct my message to my fellow worriers. The new podcast (which can be found at PodcastForWorriers.com) grew out of the weekly Stop Worrying And Start Living segments that I do on EWTN Radio’s The Son Rise Morning Show. These segments (and the new podcast) are centered on Bible verses and offer encouragement for the difficulties of life.
Q: What will people experience when they subscribe to the podcast and become a part of the community?
I am offering the new podcast through Patreon, which allows the listeners to become a part of the Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled community. It is possible to subscribe to the weekly thirty-minute podcast, the daily five-minute version, a weekly video or all of the above! It is a way for me to offer encouragement to my fellow worriers. As you know, I try to be as open with my struggles as possible. Panic attacks have sent me to the emergency room on several occasions. I have been on anxiety medication and tried to self-medicate with alcohol. My relationship with Jesus is the only thing that has ever brought me lasting peace. This podcast gives me a chance to share Him with others.
Lisa, I am constantly told that “it feels good to know that I’m not alone”. As someone who has battled anxiety for many years, I understand how hopeless and isolated it can make you feel. When people tell you to “stop worrying”, they don’t understand. I get it. You are not alone. There are many of us who deal with anxiety. It can be managed and Christ is the answer. He helps me each day and He can help you too.
Q: Gary, I know you're an active Catholic speaker too. What are some of the ways you're serving parishes and communities and how can people learn about bringing you to their parish?
For the past six years, I have been traveling around the country offering talks, retreats and parish missions. My Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry parish mission is a one of a kind event which is designed to deliver the peace of Christ. My website, Following The Truth.com, contains numerous video samples of my talks and information on bringing me in to speak.
Q: I love being a guest on your radio show! How has the past year of the show gone for you? How can folks who don't live nearby join you each morning?
I am so grateful for your willingness to join us on the show, Lisa. Spirit In The Morning airs on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia and streams online from 7-8 AM ET at HolySpiritRadio.org. In addition, the podcasts can be downloaded from SpiritInTheMorning.com. The show is a mixture of uplifting music, inspiration and all-star guests, like Lisa Hendey!
My latest book, Stop Worrying And Start Living (available from Dynamic Catholic), is a daily devotional for worriers. It is the book I have wanted to write for many years and is getting great reviews! In addition, I am now writing about overcoming worry for The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest and Catholic Exchange. The Lord has blessed me with many writing opportunities and I am extremely grateful.
Q: Along with checking out your podcast, do you have a few words of tangible advice and encouragement for those of us who struggle with worry?
Take it from someone who has struggled with anxiety for the better part of fifty years, it is possible to break free from worry. I am living proof. The secret is to walk with Jesus one day at a time. If I can be at peace, so can you.
Q: Any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
Thanks, Lisa. First of all, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you. It’s a great blessing to be able to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ on a full-time basis. Working for the Lord is the best job I’ve ever had. In closing, I want to share one final thought. In the Bible, the Lord tells us to “be not afraid” hundreds of times. There are a few reasons for this. First, He knows that fear will keep us from drawing close to Him. Second, He also knows that fear is useless. Finally, He knows that it is possible, with His help, to break free from worry. He would never ask us to do something that is impossible. God loves us and wants us to be at peace. All we have to do is let Him help us!