Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I’ve been reading in the Old Testament more than I used to, and I’m enjoying all of the imagery. In particular, I just read the section in Job where he describes his search for wisdom with a powerful, beautiful description of mining. (This is in Job 28 in case you’re interested—Job was a guy who surely knew a lot about anxiety!).
Pondering these verses made me remember my days in therapy for clinical anxiety, and the relaxation techniques recommended by my counselor. She was not a Christian, so I always took her ideas and seasoned them with prayer and God’s presence.
I’m the type of person who has a hard time falling asleep because I’m thinking, thinking, thinking. About today, about tomorrow, about things to do, and about things to remember. I keep a notepad and light-up pen in my nightstand to catch the important stuff, but sometimes I have a hard time stopping the nonsensical merry-go-round of spiritual clutter in my head!
I recently had one of those nights. As I was trying to fall asleep, I decided to create a longer, more involved kind of prayerful relaxation imagery… and I loved it. I thought I’d share it with you, in case you’d like to try something similar and reduce anxiety with the Father.
(Disclaimer: Well, I am not making any claim here at all! I am not a therapist. And I don’t want to offend you if you’re against this kind of imagery for any reason—if this is not your thing, that’s OK. I just thought I’d tell you what I found helpful, and if you find it interesting or helpful, then may the Lord be glorified!)
For some reason, I pictured myself in a very small, Laura-Ingalls-style log cabin with a warm fire going in the fireplace. So lay down, get comfy, and picture yourself there, too…
You’re sitting on a soft feather mattress a few feet from the fire, which is warming the room perfectly, not too hot, not too cold. You feel God’s presence in the room like the warmth from the fire and it is lovely… but you know you have a few things to give to Him.
Picture yourself getting up and climbing the short ladder to the cabin’s loft, where it’s cold and dark. Standing on the ladder, at chest level with the loft, you can see a box near the edge. That’s God’s box, and into that box you put your anxieties about work. Next, lay your worries about your spouse inside. Then, picture your kids, sleeping in their beds, and place your parenting burdens and worries into the box.
Listen to your heart for a moment, hearing your other worries, and then put them into God’s box, too. He is in charge of those things, not you. It’s time to cast your anxieties on the Lord because He cares for you. It’s time to lay them down, and rest in Him, the One who loves you completely.
Now descend the ladder to the warm room and lay down on that soft feather bed. God’s presence is with you. The fire sheds His light gently over you. The warmth of the fire is His love surrounding you. The feather bed is soft beneath you, and you relax into it like His loving arms.
You may start to think of a worry, but no, remember, you left it in the box. It was cold up there and you don’t want to go back up and get it. God has that under control, and you don’t need to worry about it. You just need to relax your forehead, and your eyes, and your cheekbones…
If you think of another worry, know that it’s in God’s box. It doesn’t even tempt you. His warm love surrounds you just where you are, on the feather bed by the fire in the cozy log cabin. You’re relaxing your mouth, and your neck, and your shoulders…
You’re relaxing your chest, and your stomach. Let your breath fall softly in and out. Let your arms relax, and soften your hands. Let your hips, and legs, and feet sink into the feather bed. You are cherished by your Father. You can rest.
Honestly I think I was asleep before I got to the shoulders. I haven’t fallen asleep that quickly in ages!
Maybe next time I’ll try to come up with something based on Job’s mining metaphor. No matter what imagery you choose—or indeed if you choose none at all—know that God can take the weight of your worries and you can rest in Him.
Lies to Fight: I’ve got to figure this out now… I’ve got to remember this… but what if this happens…
Thought Shot: I’m giving God my worries because He cares for me.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
For more about fighting anxiety with Jesus, check out my book, Organizing You: Finding Your Spiritual Clutter and Using Organization to Clear it Out.
And please share this with other women who may have a hard time getting to sleep! Here’s a Pin-friendly image:
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