Stress is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer.” The emotional turmoil that we experience when we fret about and dwell on and agonize over the “what-ifs” can make us physically sick and can take years off our lives.
You and I know this, yet we often can’t resist the urge to go down the rabbit hole of worry. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to stop. (In cases like this, speaking to a trusted counselor or friend is vitally important. Spiraling alone is very scary.)
What if, when I catch myself worrying obsessively about something, I choose to stop and pray instead? And then, after giving the situation to the Lord, I make the conscious decision to move on? What if I actually do the thing that God has told me to do?
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
Many of us have heard or read this verse a total of 1,017,362 times and have yet to really put it into practice. Jennie Allen’s bestselling book Get Out of Your Head discusses at length the idea of redirecting our thoughts, and Joyce Meyer’s bestseller Battlefield of the Mind tells us to “think about what we are thinking about.” There’s a reason these books fly off the shelves. We study these concepts, we read what Scripture says, and we know it is the right thing to do–we just don’t always do it. We tend to read it as a nice suggestion instead of a command from a loving Father.
The temptation is there because ruminating on our concerns can feel so productive. If we’re honest, sometimes it feels good, and as if we have some semblance of control. No, we seem to tell ourselves, I will NOT be caught off guard, I will have rehearsed that particular disaster scenario in my head at length already, thankyouverymuch.
There are reasons we do this. Getting caught off guard feels awful, and we want to prevent that feeling by any means possible. We are determined to figure out our own solutions to the problems that plague us. But when I give into the temptation to obsess and worry, aren’t I trying to play God a little bit? Isn’t this an example of my faithlessness, my lack of trust, and my lack of surrender? Most importantly, by my worrying, have I ever been able to control the outcome? No, and to boot, I end up relinquishing the peace that He wants me to have.
If 1 Peter 5:7 simply said, “cast your anxiety on him,” and if we didn’t know the rest, it might be a different story. But it should change everything that the One who IS in control, who DOES know what’s best, who CAN see the situations that are keeping us up at night (and from all angles, not just from our limited vantage point)….He is also the One Who cares for us.
This isn’t an easy practice for us, hence the reminders in Scripture and the bestselling books on the topic. Sometimes we choose to cast our cares on Him, and other times we fail miserably at it, suffer the consequences, and receive new mercy in the morning. The only reason we can do any of this is because He cares for us. Praise God.