Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NIV
My feet pounded the pavement, arms swinging, lungs expanding as I urged my feet to move just a little faster. If I could just move fast enough to outpace my anxiety. For decades, anxiety had followed me like an angry cloud threatening to unleash a storm at any moment. I didn’t realize what I was battling until a doctor confronted me about my severe insomnia in my early thirties.
I had no trouble sharing with friends about my thyroid disorder. But my anxiety disorder made me feel like such a failure. Shame knotted in my stomach. I didn’t want anyone to know I took an antidepressant.
I walked faster around the block, trying to focus my thoughts on Christ. Peter’s words to cast my anxiety on Christ rolled through my mind. I’d often recited the verse like a mantra, yet it was just another thing I seemed to fail at. I’d cast my cares like a fisherman casts a line, still holding onto the other end. I’d see my worries and troubles bobbing around, not really going away, and then I’d reel them back in to hold them for a while.
The day of my anxious walk around the neighborhood, God had shown me something new in this verse. I’d pulled out my Bible dictionary and discovered the word “cast” meant to cast upon, like casting a garment upon a colt – like placing your cares on a beast of burden meant to carry a heavy load.
As I walked that day, I asked God, “What does this mean, to truly cast my cares on you?”
With pumping arms and gasping lungs, my heart heard a quiet whisper: “Cast those cares on my shoulders. Lay it on me. I’m meant to carry them. Then climb on, and I’ll carry you too. Because I care for you.”
Those little words changed my life: I’ll carry you, because I care for you.
I realized the things causing my anxiety might not go away, but I didn’t need to struggle under the weight of them alone. In fact, I didn’t have to carry the burden at all. He would. He would carry me right through the storm. It’s the reason Jesus came to earth:
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried.
Isaiah 53:4 (NASB)
I wish I could say I’d found the magic formula that resulted in not needing medication and never having another panic attack. But I didn’t. What it did give me is hope, peace and freedom, right there in the middle of a panic attack. During the battle, I don’t have to hide in shame. I know I can turn to Jesus with all the weight of the world and He will carry me, like a loving Father carries a child on his shoulders when she’s too tired to walk.
He’s got this. And He’s got you too.