When I think about being burdened the cares of this life, I am reminded of the story of Martha and Mary in the Bible (Luke 10:38-42). In this passage, Martha was busy trying to be a good hostess to her guest, Jesus. While she was busy serving, her sister Mary was resting at Jesus’ feet, listening to what He had to say.
After a while, Martha became agitated that she was doing all of the work, so she asked Jesus, “Don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to serve? Tell her to help me.” Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (40-42).
We can see two things that are happening in this passage. First, it reveals the heart’s motive of both of these women. It’s clear that Martha’s primary concern was to be a proper hostess, while Mary’s focus was to be a disciple of Jesus. Second, we can see from Jesus’ response how He feels about both of these women’s motives. Although He doesn’t negate Martha’s hospitality, He is concerned with the fact that she was distracted and troubled by her serving. Although her intentions were good, they ultimately took her attention off of the one thing that mattered most, which was Jesus.
I wonder how many of us can relate to being the Martha in this story? I know I sure can! Being a woman in today’s society places many demands on our time, attention and our hearts. If we aren’t busy tending to the home and our family, then we are most likely working a career or serving those in our community or church. All of these factors place an extraordinary amount of pressure on us, and we can become overwhelmed with the cares of this life.
Unfortunately, the cares in our life can easily be written off as a normal, making them difficult to distinguish and remove. It is often considered normal to have something to worry about, and in our culture, stress is often viewed as a glorified form of being busy. While it is beneficial to be productive, there is something to be said about finding a healthy balance and setting boundaries.
I learned this personally about two years ago. I was in a state of extreme emotional stress at the time, which was due to the fact that I was so busy with my company, Dashing Dish; being a good wife; caring for our home and writing two books at the same time. Although everything I was doing was “good” and most of it was ministry in some form or another, I was taking on too much at once. My priorities got out of balance, and eventually any time for rest (including my daily quiet time with the Lord) started to suffer.
Eventually, the weight of everything came crashing down around me, which took a toll on me mentally, emotionally and physically. In many cases, I believe we can get so busy doing “good” things that our hearts become troubled, distracting us from what matters most. After that experience, I can say with assurance that stress, anxiety and worry must be dealt with before we can come to a place of health in our body and soul.
Release Our Cares Through Prayer
One of the ways that we can surrender our cares to the Lord is by releasing them to God in prayer on a continual basis. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to do this very thing, it says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” I love this promise, because it reminds us that we can come to Jesus with everything that weighs on our hearts, surrendering it to Him in prayer. As we entrust our cares to Christ instead of fretting over them, we transfer the heavy burden of our soul into God’s hands.
This passage goes on to say that when you surrender your cares and trust Him, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Prayer and peace are closely connected. When we thank Him for all He has done, we are confirming our trust in His ability to take care of us. In exchange for our burdens, He promises to give us His perfect peace.
Prayer, in itself, is a beautiful act of humility because we are acknowledging God as being great enough to handle our situation. Every time we cast our cares on the Lord, we are admitting that we are not able to do things on our own, which helps us make the shift from relying on ourselves, to relying on God. I also find that as we come to Him in prayer, our awareness of His greatness and love towards us will make us depend on Him more and more.
I believe that prayers prayed in faith are not only powerful, but that they also please the Lord. I just think of how it must bless His heart when we trust Him as Father. I can almost picture Him running to our aid the moment we call on Him, ready to lift the burdens we lay at His feet.
Release Our Cares Through Journaling
Another way that I like to take my cares to the Lord is through journaling. Personally, I like to journal when I am spending time with the Lord first thing in the morning. I journal a little differently depending on the day, but often I take a few minutes to write down anything that is on my heart, as well as different Scriptures pertaining to my situation. Writing down my thoughts often allows me clear my head and freely express my thoughts to the Lord. When I see the Scriptures written next to the very things that concern me, I am reminded of His goodness and thank Him for His promises to care for me.
I also love to journal because it allows me to look back and see the faithfulness of God! Looking back and remembering what God has done is so important, because it reminds us of the faithfulness of God. It also assures our hearts knowing that if He has done it once, He can do it again!
Continually Casting Our Cares
Much like renewing our minds, I don’t believe that entrusting our cares to the Lord is a one-time event. Rather, it is a choice we need to make on a regular, if not daily, basis. When we notice the cares of this life start to spring up, we know that we need to take a moment and prayerfully release them back to our Heavenly Father.
If we have already prayed and given any area of our lives over to the Lord, but we find ourselves still worrying about it, then it is most likely because we have tried to take control of that thing once again. In this case, the solution is simple. We need to recognize that He has promised to take care of us, guide us, and provide for us, and release it once and for all over to Him. If we find ourselves worrying about that thing once again, we should stop those thoughts in their tracks and say, “No, I refuse to worry about this thing anymore, because God is taking care of it!”
Adapted from the book Nourish by Katie Farrell. Copyright (c) Katie Farrell by Faithwords. Reprinted with permission of Hachette Book Grouop, New York, NY. All rights reserved.