Casting My Cares on Jesus? Why Worry Still Overtakes Me

My psychology teacher at community college said that dreams are the mind’s way of dealing with things you didn’t finish thinking about when you were awake. I thought of his teaching on dreams when I read this:

A dream comes when there are many cares … . (Ecclesiastes 5:3.)

I rarely dream wonderful thoughts. Not that every dream is a nightmare, but they are often riddled with frustration, confusion and anxiety. Sometimes they take a familiar form, looking similar to what I’ve dealt with during the day. Other times they are completely foreign in their settings, only adding to my sense of disorientation.

So what am I to do with a verse like this:

Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 5:22.)

Does God let my dreams shake me because I am not righteous? But Peter promised that God cares for me and that I should give God my anxieties.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7.)

And yet I am still subject to worry, anxiety, confusion. So again, what am I to do with this passage:

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Common Raven, Death Valley, California (Wikipedia)

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26.)

Why do I worry, Jesus? Because life is hard sometimes. Yes, there are times I worry needlessly, or over things that aren’t worth worrying about. But when I get a late night phone call about my dad being rushed to the emergency room, or the first I learn about a crisis at work that threatens my job is when a news reporter calls asking for comment, or my wife faces surgery over a critical condition and she’s the same age my mother was when she died from cancer, there’s not much my mind can do but go to worrying.

And having a passage like this one lobbed at me like a scripture bomb doesn’t help in the slightest.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7.)

Not in the slightest.

Worries with Jesus

Sure, I know I’m to cast my cares on Jesus. But I still worry and get anxious, confusion taking over and my mind shutting down from even the simplest of tasks. My body doesn’t help matters any, refusing to sleep and eat, leading to illness (I am sure that catching pneumonia a few years ago was a result of my body being worn down by worry, unable to fight the infection before filling my lungs with too much fluid).

One thing I know about Jesus, though, is that he’s never left me. In the 34 years I’ve been a Christian, he has kept his promise:

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20.)

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5.)

But the burden of life can still be a crushing burden. So yet again, what do I do with this:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30.)

This is the passage that gives me hope, even when I feel the weariness and burdens that lead me to feel worried, anxious, confused.

Why hope? Because Jesus says that no matter what I’m dealing with, he is not going to make it any harder. In fact, he says he’ll make it easier than it would be without him by my side.

I’ve learned to trust him in this. Sometimes I am alone and he comes alongside me and settles my mind. Sometimes he brings me people to come alongside me and prop me up. Either way, it is a fulfillment of this principle:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.)

God comforts, and leads people to comfort those around them. He does this by coming alongside us, and bringing people to come alongside us as well. This is literally what the word translated “comfort” in this passage means. It could easily be translated as

“… the God of all coming-alongsidedness, who comes alongside us in all our troubles, so that we can come alongside those in any trouble with the coming-alongsidedness we ourselves receive from God.”

This is where I’ve found the ease of Jesus’ yoke, of him being at my side. At times it is – as Jack Tempchin put it – a peaceful easy feeling. And other times it has been – as Ringo Starr sang – getting by with a little help from my friends.

In both ways. God has seen me through. Does this mean I am done with worry and all that goes with it?

No, but I think it means I’m done with worrying about worry.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Casting My Cares on Jesus? Why Worry Still Overtakes Me

  1. Great post! Thanks for your honesty.

  2. deelmo says:

    Sending a little prayer. May your day (and night) be peaceful.

  3. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Tim, thanks for sharing these encouraging words. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate (heart) right now. As a worrier myself, I know it can just add to the anxiety if we start worrying about whether it’s *wrong* or *bad* to worry. The fact is we’re human and the cares of the world weigh on us. God’s presence and the support of friends help make that burden lighter, even if the circumstances or even our feelings don’t instantly change. Praying for that peace for you today, my friend.

    • Tim says:

      My list of worries are historical rather than current, but there’s still been sent stressful stuff going on. Thanks for the prayers.

  4. Anu Riley says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I know it will bless a lot of people to know they’re not alone in this area.

    Whatever you’ve been through or are going through—I’m so sorry and am praying. I often wish I could stop others from hurting, because it hurts to realize how badly they are suffering.

    I think you nailed so many things so well. We are on solid ground with Jesus; He is a sure and steadfast rock to stand on, and stay rooted in. But that shouldn’t negate the often “slippery slope” we deal with as we live this life and walk this Earth. Human beings are a frail and fragile lot. When “things” happen to us or around us, we do react. We do feel things. We suffer and deal with pain.

    This doesn’t just “go away” when we are born again (I wish!). But I can’t put into words how different it is when you have Him with you and in you—-as an ever present help in time of need. It changes everything. The troubles are real (and the worry that comes along with them), but He’s right there to bear it with you, and do the heavy lifting so you can make it through another day.

    I want to personally thank you for this part: “And having a passage like this one lobbed at me like a scripture bomb doesn’t help in the slightest.”

    Sometimes I have wanted to beg and plead to Christians around me: Please, I love the Word of God. It is uniquely powerful, life changing, heart healing and a deep comfort to me. But please don’t throw it at me right now. I’m bleeding from so many wounds right now. Serious ones. Instead of getting on your knees and gathering me in your arms, you’re standing over me quoting Scripture at me —often inappropriate ones for my situation to be honest. Or giving me your opinion about how I got wounded and somehow I’m to blame. Or how to “fix” me, as if I’m a broken appliance that just needs tweaking and twisting to make me function again.

    Please do what Christ does. Sit with me in the ashes. Don’t tell me if I do this or do that, all my worries will go away. No, they won’t. But sit with me. When He is with me, I know everything will be all right, even if I’m not sure how things are going to turn out. It’ll all work out, somehow—-I hope!

    I also know what you mean about the dreams. That is something I go through as well.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Too often, we Christians act like Job’s counselors in all the wrong ways: lots of verses and doctrine and advice. We forget that those men did something else first, before they opened their mouths and blabbered: they sat with Job for seven days, grieving with him, not saying anything because they saw his grief was so great. That’s what Christ would have us do, too.

      • Tim says:

        So true, Laura. Waiting alongside someone can be powerful.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It wasn’t until they opened their mouths that everything went south.

        • Anu Riley says:

          Headless Unicorn Guy, that was my thought exactly! It went downhill from there.

          One thing about Brother Job never left me. He had to use a broken piece of pottery to scrape at his wounds. Unsanitary, uncomfortable, and unimaginable IMO. It magnified that this once wealthy man really had lost everything. A bucket of water would have soothed those awful boils, but he may have been too miserable and grief stricken to do so.

          I often wish his friends had thought to bring him a bucket of water, or a much better tool or some other remedy for his wounds. If you see your loved ones suffering (or people you don’t know, which is even better!), it is all right to offer some practical help. You can’t imagine how much a hot cup of coffee cheers up a panhandler in the winter, for example.

          I do understand that the suffering of others can make us uncomfortable. Who wants to be at a “crime scene”? Lots of sobbing, anxiety, pain, sorrow (depending on the situation). I don’t have the answer, because that’s not my favorite place to be. But Christ runs to them.

    • Tim says:

      Anu, you totally get what I’m saying here, thanks.

  5. Laura Droege says:

    Thanks for being honest, Tim. I love the phrase the God of all coming-alongsidedness. I reminds me of so many things: runners helping each other cross the finish line; people holding each other while one cries. And most of all, it reminds me of the times when I’ve needed that reminder that God is beside me, and He provides it in amazing, beautiful ways. Through a hymn, while I cried after a miscarriage. Through another person’s hug, while I was having a panic attack. Through the sense of his physical touch, as I grieved a deep loss. It was a sense of him holding my body and heart together, easing my fear that if I really dealt with the pain inside, I might lose my mind. Your post reminded me of these things and more. Thank you.

    • Tim says:

      All those ways are Immanuel, God with us, truly.

    • Anu Riley says:

      That’s a wonderful post, Laura.

      I recall a story about a woman who sadly trusted a man who claimed to want to help her and her daughter, and he ended up killing the daughter. I saw a clip from the funeral. She was in the arms of a large, beautiful friend. I couldn’t see the mom, because I think she was falling down from the grief. But her friend’s large arms and big body were holding her so tight and so close (and what a grip, too), that she didn’t fall down. Even though I couldn’t see the big friend’s face (it was sort of buried and hidden), my gut told me she was crying, and in deep sorrow for her friend.

      I never forgot it because that is how I have felt when I am buckling under whatever strain I am going through. God has got such a grip, such powerful arms, and such love and empathy for my pain. You can’t really “see” me but you see Him, holding me together.

      “In Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)

      • Laura Droege says:

        Oh wow. What a horrible story, but the friend’s comfort and holding of the mom is beautiful. I almost added a story of my own, about something I witnessed at church. But I think I’d be crossing a line in what should/shouldn’t be shared online. Let’s just say that I witnessed a similar example between a husband and wife in recent months, and it was a beautiful testimony to the deep love between them.

  6. Man, this was like reading about myself. I know, and He knows. I’ll just say thanks for writing this.

  7. Ruth says:

    You have nailed it Tim. Worrying about worrying. That was something I read about a while ago which sent my heart soaring in relief. To know this is an actual condition, one son and myself have quite badly, means I can pray about that first, then face the next part.
    Waiting on Him, knowing He sends comfort from many places. He doesn’t make the problem go away, but provides coping situations, which I love to look for, because I know it will come, through the love He bears, and those He uses.
    A friend for a talk, a hug, crying thru a hymn, looking at babies…yes that calms me so much, sharing my real thoughts with trusted friends who don’t quote glib scripture but pray with me and reassure me of their care, your blog often gives me an answer, or Proverbs31 helps too.
    THEN I get the honour of being able to do this with others, even when still in a broken place, because empathy and true hearing the cry of an anxious heart comes best in those times.
    Fear can still shake me awake, make my insides roil, make me feel trapped, hopeless and totally panicked, but, there He is, working even before I see it, and things become bearable and shareable.
    The best thing is using my pain and experiences to see someone else through a bad time!

  8. Thank you for praying for me. I’ve seen so many changes in my life right now and there’s not a day that goes by where I can’t feel the Holy Spirit lifting me. Please continue to pray for me. I will be praying for you too!

  9. Also, be sure to thank those who prayed for me. Tell them I will be praying for them too.

  10. kertsen says:

    Freud the father of psychoanalysis wrote a book about dreams from his experience with patients. He came to the conclusion dreams were either unfulfilled desires or those things we dare not do in real life.

  11. Kathy Heisleman says:

    Aaah….another partner in the Fellowship of Worry & Sleeplessness….Lots of members in this club.

    When I am at the end of my rope & crying out for relief, sometimes I am tempted to believe that God is angry with my weakness. But then I remember Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”

    When I am most bruised & smoldering, He has compassion & reminds me that His presence will never be withdrawn from me, even when I am in the pit of despair.

  12. Could you please pray for me and my family again?

  13. Pingback: Hospice, Worry, and Faith: a Brief Look at Anxiety and Prayer | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

Talk to me (or don't)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.