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Faith Focus: The God who frees

I’m a worrier. I wish there was a nicer word or fancy term for people like me, but the simple truth is I worry and I stress out about work, health and relationships with my friends and family.

I have always been this way. When I was in 7th grade, I got shingles. The doctor looked at my mom, amazed. Usually, he said, shingles only appears in older adults with weakened immune systems or in extremely stressed out individuals.

My mom was not as surprised. “That sounds like my daughter,” she said.

“She’s in 7th grade,” the doctor responded. “How stressed can she be?”

My mom just started listing all the things I stressed about: grades, what to eat for lunch, relationships with my peers, softball practice, who was going to drive me to after-school activities, who would pick me up, what I should wear … and the list went on and on.

I wish I could say I don’t worry now as an adult, but I’m afraid it will always be a part of my nature. I am a worrier.

Sometimes, I wish there were some magic tonic I could take that would erase the worry from my mind. Then I have to remember that there is.

God cares deeply for his children and wants to carry the worry and stress we burden ourselves down with. As his children, we have direct access to God the Father to tell him all that stresses and worries us. And he can take it from us, easing the burden we try to carry ourselves.

When I don’t turn over my worries to God, they engulf me and make me useless. I’m stunted in fear. But when I allow God to take my worries, I can breathe. I can trust him to hold the burden and give me the space to continue living.

I’m not saying it’s easy. We have grown-up, big-world problems – declining health, pressing financial bills, strained relationships, stressful jobs, etc. But then again, God never promised us an easy life. He did promise to help us through it, to be by our side, ease the burden and free us from the worry that enslaves us. To let him be the God who frees, we first have to let him in. 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:6-7

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