Anxiety and our active participation towards freedom
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5v7
(While chapter and verse numbers didn’t exist within the original manuscripts in the way we now use them, it’s fun that a verse on anxiety is "5v7." Five represents grace , and seven rest. As if to say… grace and rest is where you learn My approach to anxiety. Just saying.)
The complexity of our anxieties are just that – deeply knitted together, connected, and complex. This often makes well intentioned, but typically viewed as feel good ‘solve all statements,’ dissolve into the reality of our lives as healing is experienced in process rather than through an instant download. But even still, direction is important, and the way we approach our most anxious moments and darkness matters.
So today, we read a simple line in 1 Peter 5v7: “Cast all your anxiety on Him (God) because He cares for you.”
The root and product of our anxieties will differ from person to person for a variety of reasons. For some it finds fuel from one’s past, while for others… the future. For some, anxiety produces fear. For others, anger (possibly internally fighting against the imperfections that surround them.) But whatever it is for you, see this:
The word cast is a verb. A verb typically expresses an action or participatory relationship between two or more things. So we must ask, “What action or participation between us, our anxiety, and God does this line from 1 Peter suggest we embrace as the best way to live?”
1. Honestly identify your anxiety. If you’re totally honest, what’s the root? What’s the issue? Most likely, this is the thing you wouldn’t dare write in your journal in fear that someone may see it. But for us to move forward, we must see and know where we are.
2. Remind yourself that God is for you. God is not worried or overwhelmed by even your darkest anxieties. Instead, “He cares for you.” It may help to look for a crying baby and its mother the next time you go to the grocery store. The mother is beyond the child, yet loves the child. The child cries for things the mother knows will be taken care of. The mother longs for her child to trust her. God is over and above us, and by definition, is Love for us. This is grace and must be central in our thinking about life with God and each-other.
3. Practice giving God your anxiety. This is the verb part. Peter says there must be an action that takes place in this relationship between us, our anxiety, and God – “casting”. For some, it happens as they journal their conversation with God. For others, it takes place as they write out their anxiety and then do something with the paper to symbolize a handing from them to God. But whatever it is for you, practice. And remember practice is an ongoing process. Casting our anxiety on the One who loves us is very much an ongoing process so beware of the lie that says, “it didn’t work” as you find yourself feeling as if you’re “back at the start” only moments, days, or weeks later. In reality though, you are in a new place, not “backwards” or “back where you started” and in that new moment… your only decision is to again cast your anxiety onto Him or not. Will you trust Him over your perception of His ways to “set you free in that moment”?
One last thought: The context of 1 Peter 5v7 is community. Needless to say, you’ll be most whole (I’d suggest) when allowing others into this process with you.
May you know that He sees you, is with you, and cares for you… not because of anything you’ve done, but because it’s who God is. He has wonderfulnew things for you to meditate on to take the place of your old anxious thoughts. As you release them to Him, ask Him for new ways and patterns of thinking.
Rhythm of Practicing Peace
Father, I feel anxious about . I want to be free from thinking this way and believe You’re leading me into freedom; into a spacious place where I can enjoy You again. Jesus, I trust that Your way is best and hand over my anxious thoughts aboutto You. I give up my right to hold onto these toxic thoughts and receive Your love of taking them from me… and in exchange, telling me I am Yours. Thank you for redeeming me and teaching me to live my new life in You. Holy Spirit, I want to hear Your voice today. Here I am, your daughter/son is listening.
Be still for a few moments and write out what you feel He may be saying to you: