Hope and peace to you!
Many of us have named and acknowledged the grief and struggle of this past year.
We have also named the beauty and new opportunities this struggle and grief has birthed. We continue to affirm that God has been and will continue to be with us on this journey! Our God of love and grace is leading us, in the midst of the struggle and grief, to new life! For that truth and hope we give thanks!
While we give thanks for that truth and hope we acknowledge that this past year has created many opportunities for anxiety. Life in general does that. Pandemic life does it with greater intensity and to a greater percentage of us. What will we do with all this extra anxiety?
Last Thursday I was blessed by joining the 2nd Annual Spiritual First Aid Summit. This summit is a gathering of leaders from around the world who are desiring to move from grief to hope. As the Summit began Steve Carter, a pastor and author, shared a few reflections on a bible verse from 1 Peter 5. His reflections were a blessing me so I want to share a few of his reflections, and a few of my own, with you. I pray they will be a blessing to you too!
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5.7)
Peter was a fisherman and he knew lots about casting; casting the net of his trade into the Sea of Galilee. Peter also understood anxiety as he faced both the joys and the challenges of leaving his nets to follow Jesus and learn the new trade or vocation of engaging in the lives of people. As Peter followed Jesus he had come to know the love, hope, joy, and peace that Jesus could bring. Peter experienced that personally from Jesus and he witnessed that love, care and peace being shared with, and received by so many, that Jesus encountered.
As Steve shared last week he reminded us that anxiety turns our peace into pieces. And because of that we are invited to do what we can to not let anxiety, negativity, fear or (whatever you would name that is causing anxiety for you right now), to find a resting place in our lives. We are invited to name our anxiety and to cast it (use a casting motion it that helps) on God because God loves you and cares for you!
I invite us a few actions this week.
I invite you to pause in the midst of moments when you feel the weight of anxiety and pray a prayer like this: “God, I am casting my __(name your fear and anxiety)__ on you because I believe you care for me.”
I believe casting our anxiety on God becomes easier when we are vulnerable with each other and pray for each other. So I invite you to a second action. When you sense that a friend, family member or colleague may be anxious, ask them about that. Open up a conversation. If they risk being vulnerable and sharing with you offer to pray for them. And then pray with them if that’s possible. And if this feels awkward and a bit anxiety producing cast that anxiety on God and trust that God will lead you. Remember, God cares for you and desires to bless you with peace! And God desires to make you a blessing to others!