It was about a year ago. Despite being a person of great faith, I found myself on a destructive path of tears, fears and chronic worrying. I knew I couldn't stay sane if I didn't stop my anxious thinking, but I didn't know how to exit the deadly roller coaster of giving my worries to God and picking them up again. Dear Lord, I whispered, as I prepared for bed that evening, I really need a blueprint for letting go of my worries. I can't continue down this ruinous path. Help me, please.
As odd as it might seem, I have a practice of reading my daily devotional at bedtime instead of morning, and as I opened it to the day's date, it was like God entered my bedroom and personally delivered the blueprint I so desperately needed. Each word was timely and inspirational, but the real recipe for letting go came at the end where the author shared a story about Dr. Edward Payson, a 19th Century preacher who was known as "Praying Payson."
From Streams in the Desert:
You are worrying too much about him. Once you have prayed for him, as you have done, and committed him to God, you should not continue to be anxious. God's command, "Do not be anxious about anything" (Phil. 4:6), is unlimited, and so is the verse, "Cast all your anxiety on him" (1 Peter 5:7). If we truly have cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to pressure us? If we carry them with us from the throne of grace, it is obvious we have not left them there. In my own life I test my prayers in this way: after committing something to God, if I can come away, like Hannah did, with no more sadness, pain, or anxiety in my heart, I see it as proof that I have prayed the prayer of faith. But if I pray and then still carry my burden, I conclude my faith was not exercised.
Needless to say, tears fell that night, and I laid my worries down and exited the roller coaster with peace in my heart. Have I been aboard the roller coaster since then? Of course. I'm human. But I don't ride it very long. I have a blueprint for stopping the madness, and every time I follow it, the madness stops.