Do you know what’s causing that heavy feeling?
Sometimes it can help to take a few minutes to journal what’s going on. Honestly, that’s usually how I figure out what’s going on, by trying to put it into words so that I can write it down.
Here’s something I did a few weeks ago that might help you — or help spark a different idea that might work even better for you.
I started by naming what I was feeling. Until I paused to process it all, it was just this heavy weight I was carrying around. I would have called it “stress.” A constant backdrop of tension … a kind of generalized anxiety … with a touch of dread. I didn’t want to look at any of it too closely, in case it was even worse than I thought.
But when I started naming my feelings, I found that I was feeling…
Angry… about …
Sad … about …
Irritated … about …
Worried … about …
Discouraged … about…
(Since what prompted me to journal was the heaviness in my spirit, they were nearly all negative emotions.)
I ended up with about ten or fifteen. The last one, which really surprised me, was:
Afraid. I feel afraid…
Looking over the list, I realized that nearly everything was related to my fear or a mask for my fear or a contributing factor to my fear. That was a revelation.
I also thought, “Wow. That’s a lot of emotional baggage I’m carrying right now. It’s really tiring me out. No wonder all I want to do is stay in bed and eat and watch Netflix and pin stuff on Pinterest.”
On the next page of my journal, near the bottom, I scribbled a little line drawing of a woman (myself) with hunched shoulders and a sad expression. Naming my feelings had helped me identify some of the specific problems weighing on me. So I started listing them over top of the woman. (I’ve recreated the drawing in the picture below.)
I kept writing until I had listed everything I could think of and/or run out of space.
Then it was time to talk to Jesus.
I remembered the Scripture that says, “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) And that verse in Matthew 11, where Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…”
And one of my favorite stories from Streams in the Desert, where He tells a woman burdened with worries and fears: “These things are NOT from Me!” (12/1)
So, one by one, I went down the list and pictured myself taking each burden and placing it on His shoulders. Only His shoulders are big enough for all those things!
And I thanked Him — by faith — that He was going to work in or through all of these things for His glory and my good.
And as I did, my burdens were lifted. The heaviness was gone.
My problems weren’t necessarily gone. But I had peace in place of that gnawing tension. Courage in place of that fear. And hope in place of despair.
This weekend — or anytime you find you’re feeling weighed down — you might try journaling like this. Find a way to bring your burdens to Jesus and let Him carry them for you.
Because He cares for you!
Today’s Question: I’d love to hear your ideas…What are some of the ways you’ve learned to cast your cares on Him?