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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The straw on my back!

Yesterday, a friend called out to me as I strolled down the corridor at work, "Pick up your head!"  Before some of you think I am drifting into some type of depressive episode, don't fret!  I simply was deep in thought, but even in my "mulling things over" in my head, I found myself showing some signs of worry.  The slumped shoulders, the down-turned head - signs of carrying a "weight" I really didn't need to!  

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up.  (Proverbs 12:25 MSG)

If you have ever stopped long enough to explore the definition you'll find in the dictionary of "worry", you will likely find the following:  "to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts".  Now, lest we glance over the word "oneself" in the definition, I will point it out!  Silly us!  Stop long enough and you will realize all worry is really "self-inflicted".  WE take it on!  It is like picking up a backpack, slinging it across our shoulders and then picking up this "worry" and that, placing it in the pack, until one day, we find ourselves wondering why our back hurts!!!

It hurts because we are carrying weight we were never intended to carry!  God never asked us to be "independent" in managing our thought-life.  In fact, he tells us to "cast all our cares upon him, because he cares for us" (I Peter 5:7).  The very action of "casting" our cares upon him is an action declaring we don't want to be independent of his intervention in our lives.  When a horse loses a shoe, we say the shoe was "cast" - it was parted with!  In other words, it lost its hold!

Sometimes we "mull over" stuff we'd do well to "cast off".  God doesn't expect us to consult him with the stuff we know to do - like tying our shoes.  Wouldn't it be silly to ask him, "Now, God, do you want me to place the right lace over the left one while tying this bow?" He just wants us to put on our shoes and get to work!  He gave us the ability to learn how to tie our own shoes - he doesn't need to be asked how he wants it done each day!  I know this is a silly illustration, but I wonder just how much stuff we mull on  that God has already given us the ability and talent to do! 

I don't want us to miss the idea of "casting off" - parting with - worry.  Since worry weighs us down, it should be a delight to actually get the load off our shoulders, but I know how frequently I still bear up under it, so I don't think I am alone in this!  We trudge along, mulling over our muddle, till one day, someone gives us the word we need to hear most, "Pick up your head!"  Sound familiar?  Perhaps my friend was simply reminding me of the scripture, "Why am I so sad?  Why am I so upset?  I should put my hope in God and keep praising him..."  (Psalm 42:5 NCV)  Hmmm....worry is to be "cast" off - parted with.  When I carry it, I get "downcast".  Instead of worry being "thrown down", I am!  

What made the difference between being "downcast" and being able to "cast down"?  I think it may actually have been her wisdom in "calling me out" on my actions of holding onto something I should have let go of.  She probably didn't even know she had, but those simple words to "pick up my head" gave me pause.  In that instant, I determined to let go.  I was ready to "cast off" an "old shoe", worn by time, and ready to be discarded!  We never know when the word we speak will be the "prompter" for the "casting down" of some weight too big for us to name.  Don't miss the opportunity to be the voice of encouragement for a friend.  You may very well be delivering them from the thing which will "break the camel's back"!

Silly us!  We carry what we don't have to.  We get all weighed down.  Then we wonder why we "feel" the load deep within our tissues!  I wonder if massage therapists would someday be put out of business if we'd just stop carrying what God never intended for us to carry in the first place?  Just sayin!