Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Cast all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP
“I would almost be relieved if I couldn’t go,” she said. “Why would you be relieved?” I asked her from the other end of the phone line. She told me all about her prospective overseas trip and the mix of emotions that were making home in her head. I told her that understanding the ‘why’ behind our feeling of relief is often a very important indicator of whether this is a good thing for us or not – something that should be on our plate or not.
If you’re like me, you may have a full plate and feel stretched thin at times. There are demands on your schedule, on your attention, and on your energy and sometimes when one of those demands falls away, you feel relieved. If you are contemplating whether to say yes or no to a decision, taking inventory of relief may help. If you say no to something and feel relieved, is it because you’ve just made a decision that allows you to rest and to draw closer to God? Is it a decision that helps you give your time and attention more fully to the most important things, and you’re relieved because taking something away allows you to be more impactful with what’s left? Then that is a good no! Relief that is experienced by saying no, in this situation, is a sign that you’re making a wise decision.
But what if you’re feeling relieved for another reason? Could it be that you’re feeling relieved because you no longer are pushing yourself to do that thing that you’ve been afraid to do? Is it because your “no” keeps you from stepping out in faith, and your relief is knowing you can stay in your comfort zone? What if the relief you’re feeling in this case isn’t really relief – what if it’s actually complacency?
Thinking of relief in this way can be practically helpful in deciding when to say yes and when to say no, and can serve as an indicator of what should and shouldn’t be in our schedules. When it comes to our spiritual lives, however, we may need to view it a little differently.
I believe that too often we search for relief, when what we actually need is peace. We search for relief from pain, from frustrating emotions, from situations that challenge us, and the list goes on. In my experience, however, searching for relief lends us to seek escape rather than to seek victory. We would rather run from a problem and not face it, than to turn, face it head on and charge through it. Seeking peace over relief pushes us to deal with the hard things and conquer them. Seeking peace over relief brings us to a place where we have to release things into God’s care and actively trust Him with it.
James 3:18 says that peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness, and Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Peace is more than just feeling relieved from a stressor or unfavorable situation. Peace is a blessing that brings the likeness of Christ into your life and becomes your guard!
What are you seeking relief from in your life? Today, write down one way you can exchange that for God’s perfect peace. Then, as you surrender it to Him through prayer, enjoy the blessings of His peace!
Lord, Today I pray that You would help me exchange my attempts at escape and relief for Your perfect peace. I pray that You would give me wisdom in my decisions, and use them to bring harvest of righteousness in my life. Today Lord, I choose to trust You and Your peace as my guard. Teach me to cast all my anxiety on You, because I know You care for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.