for he cares for you

Well hello! Long time, no talk. Quarantine has clearly dried up every ounce of creativity in my body because it’s been over two months since I’ve written last – oops! But as a lot of you may already know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I love doing what I can to call attention to it since one of my passions is to end the stigma surrounding mental health. If you’ve been a follower of The Southern Sooner for a while, you’ve seen me talk about my personal experiences plenty. One of my struggles when I first started struggling with my anxiety was misinterpreting it as a lack of faith, which I’ve come to learn now is a lie from the devil himself. But at first, I had to come to terms with the fact that God is not a distant being that expects perfection – if He did, there wouldn’t have been much need for Jesus, now, would there?

related: the anxious truth | open letter to the broken spirit, pt 1 | open letter to the broken spirit, pt 2

I think a common lie that circulates a lot of peoples’ minds, whether they admit it or not, and especially among those of us with anxiety and depression, is that God doesn’t really care much about what’s in our minds and on our hearts unless it has to do with our faith (or, perhaps, lack thereof). The fact that I ever thought this might seem extreme to some of you, but that’s exactly what anxiety will do to you – lie and lie and lie, time and time again until you’re thoroughly convinced that there is no other explanation, no other outcome. It takes intentional, dedicated training to be able to push your mind back past certain hurdles mental health has pushed you across, and it’s not always an easy process.

But I confronted the lies the Enemy tried to convince me of, and that’s what I wanted to share with y’all today. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the passage that says “Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Honestly, if you’re at all like me you probably got sick of hearing that verse because it’s seriously about as cliche as it gets when people try to preach to you about anxiety or mental health. But one day, I read it and wanted to dive a little bit deeper into the word care.

I felt like when I read this verse before, I would look at “he cares for you” at face value and kind of be like – well duh, that’s what God does. But, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to look up the definition and it added so much depth. The Oxford Dictionary defines care as “the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something (n),” “feel concern or interest; attach importance to something (v),” and “look after and provide for the needs of (v).”

Well okay, God, I see you.

But I took it a step further and looked up care for, which Miriam-Webster defines as “to do the things that are needed to help and protect; look after” and “to feel affection for.”

Basically, I came to find that this whole concept of God caring for me was so much deeper than I gave it credit for. God caring for us is so much more than Him looking down on me and thinking, “Oh Samantha? Yeah, she’s alright. I hope she’s doing okay!” lol Look at just how much this verse changes when you replace “cares” with the various definitions:

Cast your anxiety on Him because He feels concern for you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He feels interest for you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He attaches importance to you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He looks after you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He provides for you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He protects you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He looks after you.

Cast your anxiety on Him because He feels affection for you.

When I put this all together, I never let myself believe that any concern or worry of mine is too small or too irrelevant for God. God’s love is intentional and it is deep. It’s an active love that doesn’t ever stop; not during our highs, and especially not during our lows. He wants to be there for us in our times of need and take care of us, just as much as He wants to be able to celebrate with us when we’re at our best. Our God is not passive – He never has, and He never will.

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