Cast all your worries upon me because I care about you. (1 Peter 5:7)
It’s a fact of life that people worry, but we’re not designed to carry around big bags of anxiety. It drags on our health and gives us heart attacks and strokes and wrinkles. But even worse, it robs us of the coolest things in life—like hope and joy and kindness. Who can afford to be kind when they’re worried about how to pay the bills? Who can meet the day with a song in their heart when they’re crushed by deadlines at work?
For people with mental illness, worry is a real enemy. When your mind starts chewing on itself, it can leave you raw with symptoms like insomnia and irritability. Your moods start to swing and it just makes the situation worse. So what’s a girl to do?
Cast away your worries.
This solution came to me one day when I was overrun with the anxiety of appointments, deadlines, and chores. Even fun stuff—my beloved hobbies—seemed like a burden to me. I sat at my desk, frozen and unable to begin the day because I had no idea of where to begin. I was sitting under an avalanche just waiting to bury me.
I couldn’t carry it around any more. I wanted to reach inside my own brain and empty it out. I wanted to open my calendar and empty it out. I felt so anxious I wanted to run or hide or scratch off my own skin just to escape the feeling of being trapped.
So, I cast away my worries.
I got out a blank piece of paper and titled it “Cast all your cares on me.” Then, I wrote a couple of words to represent each of my worries. I drew a circle around each “worry” to tether it to the page. No worries are allowed to escape!
I didn’t use a nice piece of paper, a spectacular pen and beautiful calligraphic handwriting. Perfect presentation wasn’t the point. The point was emptying my brain onto the page and creating something (a container) that would hold my worries for me.
I took a little time with this. I wrote some cares, did a little work, surfed the Internet, had some coffee, and wrote some more worries. I couldn’t do write them down all at once because, as I opened my mind to what was worrying me, I felt nervous, worried, and overwhelmed. But, over the course of an hour or so, I chipped away at it until I’d written down all of the projects, appointments and deadlines that made me feel all snarled up inside.
I filled up a notebook page and it looked like this:
[Insert a little doodad that shows what my page looked like]
I felt a little better. All of my worries were confined to a page of notebook paper. But, I knew they wouldn’t stay there for long so I needed to work on solutions for each of them.
So, I looked at each worry and thought,
§ Do I even need to worry about this? Is it something I need to worry about?§ Is this something I need to take action toward today?
If yes, then I circled them with a highlighter.
§ Can I tolerate the consequences if I don’t take any action towards this today?
If no, then I circled them with a highlighter.
§ What’s one step I can take towards solving this worry? It doesn’t have to be a GIANT step, just a step.
I wrote one sentence under each worry.
§ What’s stopping me?
All kinds of things stopped me: money, time, the size of the task.
Then, I wrote the steps for all of my worries onto small Post-Its and assigned them to a day in my calendar. I use colored Post-It's because they're happy. You can do what makes you happy. It looks like this:
[Insert a little doodad that shows what my calendar looks like]
No fair assigning the action step for every worry to today or even to this week. As you’re assigning the worries to your calendar, be kind to you. Create the kind of task list you’d make for someone you love.
So, why should you take the time to cast away your worries? Because you are loved by God...by your family...by your friends. Casting away your worries is the path to the freedom of being loving and kind and filled with joy.