dear daughters … is a series where I talk to my girls about stuff. I’d like to invite you to talk about stuff too.
I owe you an apology.
Every time you head out the door, I say these two things: I love you. Be careful. It’s almost as if the words are all linked together like this: I-love-you-be-careful. One message instead of two.
But they are two separate messages. One is beautiful. And one is toxic.
I love you. Obviously, the healthy one. I love you with all my being. No matter what. Forever and always. Beautiful.
Be careful. This is so tricky. It seems healthy and beautiful. Because I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. Especially when you go places that make me fearful. Like a mission trip to Uganda: I-love-you-be-careful.
Or even a simple road trip with your friends: I-love-you-be-careful. To be honest, there are times my heart seizes up over ridiculously mundane events. I hug you and whisper: I-love-you-be-careful.
But I’m reading The Art of Divine Contentment again. Thomas Watson says fear is a virus. That we are sickened with care. It’s all I’ve been thinking about … this idea that ‘careful’ is not as healthy as I’d like to think it is. He writes:
The word ‘careful’ in the Greek comes from a root that signifies to cut the heart to pieces, a soul-dividing care. Take heed of this. We are bid to ‘commit our way unto the Lord’ (Psalm 37:5). The Hebrew word means to ‘roll thy way upon the Lord.’ It is our work to cast care, and it is God’s work to take care.
Could I actually be asking you to ‘cut your heart to pieces?’ Am I sending you out the door with a ‘soul-dividing care?’ Right when I think I’m at the end of my fearing, I find a root. And am horrified to think I am training you to it. Infecting you with it.
I crumble at the feet of God, confessing my soul-dividing care over you. I confess to him how I have attempted to cast care all over your whole life. So nothing bad will ever happen. Forgive me.
Let me make this right:
I love you. Love God. Trust God. Look to God.
The best thing I could do for you is remind you to think on God more. And to love Him more. Not cut your heart to pieces thinking over all the bad stuff in the world. Or divide your soul in two worrying how to care for things outside of your control.
Most of the bad stuff that happened in my life didn’t happen because I was careless. When I got hit head-on, I was driving in my lane. Doing the right thing. When I injured my hand and got RSD, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Bad stuff happens. It just does. Cutting your heart into pieces only causes more anxiety. More fear.
And when you’re cutting your heart to pieces, it’s hard to follow after God with your ‘whole heart.’ When you’re slicing your heart up in anxiety, it’s hard to even hear him.
Dear daughters, I trust you to make wise decisions. And I trust God to take care of you.
So don’t ‘be careful’ ~ instead ‘cast your cares on God.’
I love you.
photo: arise africa international