How to Cast Your Burdens for Good

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Recently I’ve been having pain in my shoulders. I’ve developed problems with my rotator cuff  because I tend to carry things that are too heavy for me.

This is particularly annoying to me because a few years ago my doctor ordered physical therapy for this problem. Of course, I was advised not to carry heavy things, but I tend to think I’m superwoman. My thinking goes like this: “I’m the only person who can do this,” or “It needs to be done right now.” Then there’s, “But it’s really not that heavy.”

My stubbornness gets me in trouble, and I end up paying the price.

Self-sufficiency often increases my burdens.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our anxiety on the Lord because He cares for us. My tendency is to give my anxieties a gentle toss and then quickly go pick them up again. This is the kind of thinking is I’ve applied to my rotator cuff.: “I know better. I can do it myself.”

Except I can’t. My self-efforts cause me even more pain.

Casting our burdens should be like throwing our worries into the current of Niagara Falls, trusting they are forever swept away in its power.

Casting our burdens on the Lord means trusting His power. Like the powerful Niagara Falls, He will sweep them away. We don’t ever have to pick them up again because His love is so mighty, He can only do good. While we aren’t promised shelter from life’s storms, we are promised shelter in the storms. We can trust God because of His loving, sacrificial, unchanging nature. He promises to work even life’s greatest heartaches and seeming disasters for our good.

When you give God your problems, imagine them tumbling one-by-one over Niagara Falls and swept into His hands.

This simple visual help me. It helps me think about the power of Go and my own powerless to control my life. Yet my compulsion to control what I cannot or should not can drive my behavior. Standing beside the Niagara River at the side of the falls terrifies me. My husband grew up in the Buffalo area, and I know stories of those who lost their lives in the raging waters. When I think of

Then tell yourself they’re gone because they are, if you leave them in His hands.

Then turn to God in faith and talk to Him about it.

Ask Him for your desire.

Ask Him to work out the circumstances for His glory.

Focus on the character of God and His past faithfulness.

Pray and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

And trust God to control things you cannot or should not. He is committed to your good.

 

What about you? Do you struggle with anxiety and trusting God with your struggles? How have you handled this issue in your life? I’d love to hear from you.

Shelly

When an Addict’s Confession Goes Bad

 

 

tear-stained-faceToday’s guest post comes from friend and fellow writer Lori Lara.

When I was in my late teens, in a rare moment of vulnerability, I confided in an older Christian woman about my struggle with an eating disorder. My healthy, athletic body had turned rail-thin. Exhaustion and aching, atrophying muscles took over. Baggy clothes no longer hid my private efforts of controlling food, and I could feel everyone’s eyes scanning me top to bottom, measuring how sick I was. I hated feeling exposed like that. I was out of control and my life was in danger.

But I had no clue how to stop my addiction. Good Lord….He knows I tried.

Having been an extremely private person, my confession was no small feat. I was embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted with myself for not being able to be “normal.” Just eat. And don’t throw up. How hard can that be, right? You might as well have told me to live under water. It was that impossible to do.

So there I stood with my jugular exposed to this woman, admitting my secrets in a Hail Mary attempt to get help. Addiction had whittled my worth down to nothing. My self-loathing held the knife to my neck, getting a head start on the slicing.

Unfortunately, death spoke to me that day. I squirm with knots in my stomach every time I remember her words.

“It’s a sin,” She said in a flat, as-a-matter-of-biblical-fact tone. “You’re living in sin.”

I stared blankly. It’s a sin. That’s it? That’s all you can say? That’s your summary of me alternating between starving myself and throwing up every bite of food? That’s all you have to say about me standing here in front of you exposed with the burden so heavy I can’t bear it any longer? Jesus, I’m barely over 95 pounds and I can’t stop this freight train. Really? It’s a sin. Just cold, hard sin? If God had appeared in the flesh and slapped me across the face, it wouldn’t have wounded me more. That woman unknowingly buried me that day. She closed tomb of secrecy on me, leaving shame to devour me in my private hell. I felt nothing but pure humiliation and completely severed from God.

It would be another ten years before I’d trust another soul with my battle; and another fifteen years of addiction, losing a tiny bit of myself each day, before I received the healing that saved me.

Because most addicts suffer from depression and severe anxiety, confession is painful and scary. We expect rejection. We know judgment is coming. Yet the most tender, wounded parts of our hearts yearn for understanding and a soft place to fall. So when our vulnerability falls on the hard stone of someone’s icy judgment, it can feel like a death. The death of the hope of getting well.

Through my botched confession (and the subsequent ones that ushered healing), I learned there is no short cut around vulnerability; it is paramount in an addict’s life. No matter the addiction (food, porn, work, alcohol, sex, drugs, fill-in-the-blank); if people want to get well, they must share their most vulnerable moment of truth. It is sacred. It is holy. And if we’re privileged to sit across from someone who’s confessing the darkness, we need to handle that precious, brave soul with the utmost care, respect, and love.

Because Love is what heals, not judgment.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

LoriLaraLori Lara is a writer, blogger, trauma survivor, and black belt martial artist. She’s passionate about sharing the hope and healing of Jesus through her raw journey as a mom and wife recovering from PTSD, depression, and addiction. Lori is a contributing author for Hope in the Mourning (Zondervan 2013) and The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide (Chicken Soup for the Soul 2014). She’s a guest writer for MOPS International and numerous recovery blogs and websites. Lori lives in Northern California with her husband Robert and two sons. You can find her blog at www.lorilara.com. Email: Lori@lorilaraphotography.com.

Trauma Therapy: Five Days to a New Me–For Real

Flower-In-Asphalt

Most people tend of think of people with post-traumatic stress disorder as veterans or Katrina victims. The general population doesn’t know that one in four women will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in her lifetime.

When you’re sitting in a restaurant, ball game, church service, or business meeting, if every eighth person stood up, that’s the number of people who are suffering from PTSD.

One out of eight. Of your friends. Your family members.

I was one of them. And I was in hiding until I went to Intensive Trauma Therapy in Morgantown, West Virginia.

What was life like for me?

Certain experiences, memories, sights, smells, and thoughts triggered intense feelings of abandonment and anxiety.

I lived with guilt because I couldn’t control my fears. I tried counseling, but it didn’t work. I consulted with spiritual advisers and spent time in prayer and meditation, but my symptoms persisted. So I threw myself into my work and pressed into caring for my loved ones, but my symptoms just wouldn’t go away. In fact, they continued to intensify.

But I was stuck in denial. Certainly I didn’t need trauma treatment. I could figure things out. Besides, I couldn’t afford it.

Yeah, right.

After nearly crashing and burning, I was forced to admit that I couldn’t afford NOT to go. My symptoms weren’t going to get better unless I addressed the roots of my problem. And so this past winter, I packed my bags and headed to Intensive Trauma Therapy–uncertain and afraid.

I was sure the therapists couldn’t help me in just five days. I mean, come on now. Five days? It’s taken me longer than five days to beat a case of dandruff.

But I was wrong. So very wrong. And never so glad to be wrong.

The therapy modality used at ITT is simple and effective. And I find it to be consistent with my Christian worldview. Certain parts of me and my brain are “stuck” and can’t get past the lies I believe. This is a biological fact caused by traumatic experiences in my life. The therapeutic approaches used at ITT “rewire” those traumatic experiences  and re-file them in my brain. I also learned how my true, healthy self can speak to the broken places in me and enable the healing process.

My healing began on day one of treatment. I returned to my hotel room that evening freed from anxiety that had gripped me for years.

Does that mean I’m living an anxiety-free life? No. But it means I’m living with a manageable range of anxiety. I now understand where that anxiety originates, how to cope with it, and how it interacts in my life.

So what actually happened in those five days of therapy? I learned writing and other graphic and narrative skills that move my trauma experiences from one side of my brain to the other. I learned how to talk to the “stuck” parts of me and gain clarity and new insight about the fears and anxieties that trapped me so I can move forward. I learned skills that allowed me to come home on day six with new behaviors that have become a part of daily living and healing that has changed my life.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of trauma, find a professional who understands.

There is HOPE.

For more information on trauma and PTSD, visit PTSDPerspectives.org. And looking for my upcoming book, written with co-author Wanda Sanchez, releasing this June: Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life.