“Feeling Pressured and Stressed?”

Stressed
"And I’m casting all my cares on you…"  These are the words sung by Dennis Jernigan as they came through my speakers a moment ago.

 

I immediately connect with those words.  Do you?  I lay a lot of cares upon the Lord.  One thing I know for sure.  I absolutely can not do life apart from the one who leads, empowers, and protects. 

 

When I was growing up, I have memories of feeling alone much of the time.  It is not that I was actually alone.  I just felt that way.   

 

Consequently, I felt the weight of much of my life and basically internalized it all.  In high school, I remember having so many questions and even more insecurities.  What about the future?  What will I do?  What about sex?  What about friends?  What about my family?   When I get out of college, (If I get through college), what will become of me?  Who would I marry?  How will all of that happen?  How do I deal with all of this?  Most of the time, I chose to wrestle with these concerns like a lot of people do—alone.

 

Then I received my induction notice.  Oh my goodness…  I was about to be drafted! Would I go to Vietnam?  Early one Saturday morning, I drove to downtown Dallas and walked into the Dallas Navel/Air Station.  For hours, I took a physical, where Navy Dr.’s examined me from head to toe.  I left about noon.  I was nervous–very nervous, I was about to go into the army in the middle of Vietnam.   

 

A few weeks later, President Nixon called off the draft as the United States began to pull out of Vietnam.  My fear of being drafted was over.  However, those years taught me that much of life is out of human control.

 

Many years later, I am still very sure that life is out of my control and I must "cast my cares upon him."

 

  • My anxiety about the church.  I can’t stand watching marriages being torn apart.  Yet, I can not fix or control the decisions people make regarding their families.
  • Concerns about my family.  My children.  Wanting the best for them.  (Trusting that the Lord knows what "best" means much better than me.)
  • Anxious thoughts about my life.  Is my work making a difference?  Am I doing what God wants me to do?  What does our future hold?
  • Then there are those deeply private thoughts.  Insecurities.  Subtle, innocent looking temptations.  And–oh yes– a few fears.

 

At this place in my life, I have learned I can count on him to shoulder what can be so stressful. 

What is heavy and depressing to me is light to Jesus.  The future may look bleak to me but that is not necessarily his vision of my future.  I may get fed up with the junk of this life.  He does not get fed up with me or with the people of this world for whom he died.  He continues to offer grace that is sufficient for me to get through the day.  In his grace, I have hope, even when I feel overwhelmed by this life.

 

So many people deal with these overwhelming stresses much like I did in earlier years.  They go it alone.  That is not living!

Humble yourselves, therefore,under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  (I Peter 5:6-7)

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