SHE believed: Unload

If you are just joining us for the SHE believed series, welcome. We have been exploring key principles to developing a foundation of T.R.U.S.T in God. You can access the first devotional, Think on Truth HERE, and the second devotional, Remember and Rest HERE.

This week we will explore the U in T.R.U.S.T. and that is to UNLOAD our cares. We were never meant to carry a heavy load or burden of worry and fear; of cares, concerns, and uncertainty; or anger, bitterness, or shame. 

God’s word tells us to “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

I love the Amplified version of this verse:

“Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 

Psalm 55:22 echoes this verse: “Cast your burden on the Lord (releasing the weight of it) and He will sustain you: He will never allow the (consistently) righteous to be moved (made to slip, fail, or fall.)

Cast your cares. Cast your burdens. It is not like casting a fishing line that you can reel back in. 

Cast in Hebrew means to throw, hurl, fling, or shed. Think about the difference in that for a minute. We are to throw, hurl, fling, and shed all of our cares upon the Lord. ALL of them. AND, not reel them back in. We are to let go. Release the weight of our cares and TRUST God. 

I am going to be honest for a minute. Of all the principles that we are exploring in this devotional, this one is by far the hardest for me to do. Subsequently, the hardest devotional for me to write. Why is that? I think it is because I continue to lean on my own understanding instead of fully trusting God at times.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

    Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,

    or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together

    and all the angels shouted for joy?”

Job 38:4-7 NIV

Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.” Trust God, not my opinion, not my insight, or what I think I know. I want to be in control. I mull something over and over again trying to figure it out or fix it. Can anyone relate? When I simply need to release it once and for all. If God laid the very foundation of the earth, marking off its dimensions and setting the footings in place, He can handle anything I unload on Him.

How do we do that? It is not easy sometimes. However, I have found several steps to UNLOAD my cares.

The first step is to pray.

God sweetly reminded me of this truth when I was shopping for a bulletin board recently. There… clear as day was a wall hanging that said “Turn your worries into prayers.” Yes! That is the key. Turning our worries, cares, concerns, burdens into prayer. Why? Because God cares for us and He will sustain us.

It is like our own children. When we know something is bothering them and they refuse to talk about it even though we can help, we can encourage, and we may even have wisdom to help them walk through the difficulty. Yet, they refuse to unload the concern. To share the cares. And, so they often suffer in their own misery. 

We are no different. When we continue to carry our cares, we suffer in our own misery as well. 

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life…” Philippians 4:6 TPT

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18 NLT

“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

Why?

“The prayer of a person living right with God

is something powerful to be reckoned with.”

James 5:16 MSG

Pray at all times. Throughout each day. On every occasion. Always. The answer may not always be yes. It may be no or not right now. But, watch God powerfully work it all together for good.

I have found that the best ways for me to pray and really cast my cares on God is to either speak them aloud or to journal them. If I simply pray silently, it is as if the cares stay stuck in my head and I continue to mull them. To reel them back in. But, when I literally voice them to God or write them to Him in my journal, I can begin to release the weight of them. Hurl, shed, and cast my cares.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 145:18 NIV

After UNLOADing our cares to God in prayer, the second step is sharing with trusted family and friends.

I am thankful for the people in my life that are prayer warriors for me. My husband and I come together often to pray for one another and the needs of those around us. We pray with our children especially when they are facing challenges. My best friend – the kind of friend that loves at all times – and I have prayed for each other for the last 20 years. We have prayed for absolutely EVERYTHING. You name it. We have prayed for it. Too many things to even begin to list. All we have to do is pick up the phone and call or text. 

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 NIV

I also have a wonderful group of ladies that are dear prayer partners. At one time, we were in a church small group together. The friendships that were developed in community there have continued for years later. We have “encouraged one another and built each other up” 1 Thessalonians 5:1. We have also prayed for all sorts of things. We have prayed for babies…one friend now has 3 that came in 2 years, so we had to stop praying for babies. LOL! We have prayed for lost cymbals and a lost wedding ring, for our husbands’ jobs, for sick and hurting children – for their protection and provision. We have prayed for success on tests, for beautiful weddings, for improved health. We have prayed for relationships to be reconciled and some to be removed. One husband is a pilot and we prayed for him to be home for Christmas a few years ago, which seemed absolutely impossible since he was across the globe, but he made it! Is any care too hard for God? Nope.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” Psalm 107:28-29 NIV

There is something powerful when others share your cares and burdens and cry out to the Lord with you. The storm may not completely stop, but it begins to feel more like a whisper than a roar. 

 This is the confidence we have in approaching God:

that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 NIV

The next step is to pray scripture.

Sometimes, when I don’t have the words, when I have no idea how to pray, I turn to scripture and pray God’s word back to Him. Let’s try it:

Listen to me, Lord, and answer me,

    for I am helpless and weak.

Save me from death, because I am loyal to you;

    save me, for I am your servant and I trust in you.

You are my God, so be merciful to me;

    I pray to you all day long.

Make your servant glad, O Lord,

    because my prayers go up to you.

You are good to us and forgiving,

    full of constant love for all who pray to you.

Listen, Lord, to my prayer;

    hear my cries for help.

I call to you in times of trouble,

    because you answer my prayers.

There is no god like you, O Lord,

    not one has done what you have done.

All the nations that you have created

    will come and bow down to you;

    they will praise your greatness.

You are mighty and do wonderful things;

    you alone are God.

Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,

    and I will obey you faithfully;

    teach me to serve you with complete devotion.

I will praise you with all my heart, O Lord my God;

    I will proclaim your greatness forever.

How great is your constant love for me!

   Psalm 86:1-13 GNT

Do you see that by praying Psalm 86 back to God, we are using many of the principles of building a foundation of trust that we have been learning in the SHE believed series? We are thinking on truth, we are remembering all God has done, we are taking a spiritual rest, we are unloading our cares. We are believing that God will keep his promises.

The Psalms contain many prayers, heartfelt cries, that we can pray to God. We can also pray the 100 Promises of God from the first devotional or numerous other scriptures.

The final step to unloading our cares is to evaluate them. 

Twenty-five years ago, I was in a season of stress and uncertainty. My job was not going well, we had been unable to get pregnant after trying for several years, my husband and I worked different hours rarely seeing each other, and my granny had fallen at my house and broken her hip on Mother’s Day. I felt somehow responsible for that. And, if any of you have read my earlier blog posts, you know how very much I loved my granny. 

I decided to see a counselor and was diagnosed with situational depression which is a short-term, stress related type of depression. The counselor gave me some tools to use to evaluate my situation, my cares, and to begin to unpack and unload them. That is different than just worrying or mulling about them. Worry doesn’t change anything. Evaluation does. As we looked at each situation, she asked me what I could control and what could I not control. 

As we looked at the things I could control, we began to make a list of “next steps”. I made an appointment with a fertility doctor to explore options, I signed up for a career class at the YWCA to understand what jobs fit me best, I scheduled times to go and encourage my granny while she was in rehabilitation, my husband and I made our one day off together a priority.

The situations didn’t immediately change, but how I viewed them did. I no longer felt overwhelmed because I was taking steps to improve the things I could control. And, I was releasing – unloading – the things that I couldn’t.

I still use that simple tool today to deal with the things I can control along with the other steps of praying, sharing with friends, and praying scripture to release the things I can’t control. These steps continue to help me UNLOAD my cares and develop a deeper foundation of trust in God.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you,

for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NASB

 

Putting it into Practice

  • State a current care, concern, or burden. (For example, I have mentioned my son’s struggle in school with a learning disability.)
  • Turn that care into a prayer. (For example, Lord, I know you love my child even more that I do.  Will you place the right teachers in his/her life. Will give him the wisdom, the tools, the skills to succeed. Will you put people around him/her to encourage him/her when he/she struggles. Thank you, Lord, for going before my child.)
  • Voice your prayers or write your prayers to God in your journal.
  • Copy 1 Peter 5:7 on a post-it note or in your journal. Memorize this verse and use it when something of concern pops into your mind.  Turn your care into a prayer.
  • Try writing your cares on paper, wad them up and then hurl them toward a trash can. The physical action of literally throwing your cares away is like a “Yes, God has got this” fist pump!
  • “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 Who are your prayer partners? Who can you go and share the burdens of your heart? If you don’t have someone in your life, I strongly encourage you to find a group to join at your church or in your community. Or gather a few friends together to meet or on a group text for prayer. If you feel like you are struggling with depression, please go to a medical doctor, counselor or pastor for direction.
  • Find scriptures to pray back to God. Look through the 100 Promises of God list again. Write that scripture as a prayer back to God.
  • Use Google. If you want a scripture for praying for healing or faith or relationships, do a google search. There are endless resources available to point you to God’s word and truth for your cares and concerns.
  • Make a list of the cares that are bothering you most right now. Evaluate them and ask “Is there anything I can control in this situation? Is there any next step that I need to take?” Sometimes we get indecision paralysis that overwhelms us. Start small and take one next step at a time. 
  • Continue to take a daily quiet pause with God. Keep believing God will keep His promises.
  • Go listen to Heaven Help Me by Zach Williams HERE
  • And, Bigger Than I Thought by Sean Curran HERE