Growing up I memorized 1 Peter 5:7, which says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Sounds so simple right? Just throw it on God; let God take your anxiety.
But let’s be honest, sometimes that wisdom feels like it needs some “feet to the street” as preachers sometimes say. What does that really mean? How do I actually cast my anxiety on God?
I don’t know about you, but anxiety has been my friend my whole life. It ebbs and flows, but it is a constant companion.
Over the years I have come to realize that it is not just about getting rid of anxiety. In fact, sometimes when I really resist anxiety and too harshly judge it, not only does it grow stronger in me but I also miss the gift it is trying to give. Anxiety can be a reminder to my mind, body, and soul that there are limits to being human. I, in fact, am not God and cannot do it all.
So, rather than asking, “What is wrong with me!? Why can I not just deal with this?! Just suck it up, buttercup?!” and going down that spiral of shame and self-condemnation, what if instead we were more gentle with ourselves and simply asked, “what do I do with my anxiety?” What if you created for yourself your very own anxiety toolbox. A box that you open up when you feel anxious or afraid, and inside are your tools for responding to anxiety?
Inside this toolbox you might keep some tools like I do, things like:
- Deep breathing – I know everyone says this, but seriously it is the first place for me to start. Every. Single. Time.
- Meaningful mantras such as, “I am safe and I belong, right here, right now, with these people, in this place, at this time.” or, “I live in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God, that kingdom is not in trouble and neither am I.” or, “Be still and know that I am God.”
- The Dwell Bible App: lately this one has been such a gift to me at night! If I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep, I will put this speaker headband over my ears (so as not to wake up Tim), and sync up to the Dwell Bible app which reads scripture to me. Having the words of scripture read to me has been like a washing over of peace, and it helps me stop ruminating about whatever my mind is ruminating over at 3AM!
What is in your toolbox? These are the practical ways in which you cast all your anxiety upon God, knowing that God cares for you.