I learned a new word

When you think of the Puritans, do you envision a group that had it together, faith-wise? Super pious and dialed-in to God in a way the rest of us could only imagine? Speaking in “thees” and “thous” like old English poets or certain translations of inspired scripture? I do. Or at least I did.

I have a book of Puritan prayers, a Christmas gift from a dear friend a few years back. I regularly pick it up to ponder the eloquent way they expressed their deep and authentic relationship with God back then. I want to be inspired in my own prayer life and this helps.

Interestingly, I’ve found from these prayers that the Puritan “saints” wrestled with doubts, temptations, and failures just like the rest of us. Fortunately, many of them journaled their meditations and contemplations, not for publication but for the exercise and deepening of their personal faith. Their writings provide the source material for the book . . .  and some enduring lessons for me.

Recently I read a selection titled “Weaknesses” and learned a new word: carking. I can honestly say I had never heard this term before but in context it makes perfect sense.

(Yes, I stopped to look up the word on my phone, that’s how I know.) Carking is an adjective meaning “causing distress or worry”. What a useful descriptor of my go-to behavior in many ways!

Here’s the excerpt:

Deliver me from carking care,

and make me a happy, holy person;

Help me to walk the separated life with

firm and brave step,

and to wrestle successfully with weakness;

Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,

with the music of heaven,

And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude

to thee.

I engage in  “carking care” all the time, I just never heard it characterized this way. Worry is my default mode and being told not to worry or that “worry is a sin” really doesn’t help me all that much. What I need is a practical strategy for more peace in my life.

img_1562As I read beyond my new vocabulary word, I recognized the answer in the pleas of this long-dead Puritan prayer warrior: the way to be delivered from “carking care” is not through more determined human effort but by magnifying God.

If I will just take my eyes off my own anxiety and need for control long enough to redirect my focus on God; if instead of fretting, I will choose to laud, adore, and magnify Him as He deserves, I will become a “perfume of praiseful gratitude” to Him. 

Worship is “the music of heaven” . . . and  the cure for carking care.


If you’d like to receive an email when I publish new posts, just click the “sign up” button in the right sidebar above (or if you’re on a mobile device, you’ll find it below under “visit full site”.)  I’ll send you a link to my free (really short) eBook, Harmony Is Hard: Humans Are Involved just for signing up.

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

2 thoughts on “I learned a new word”

  1. How very nice to learn a new word! And the Puritan strategy of looking out from the self is a fine tonic to the self-advice we too often hear in our times of stress etc. Thanks for this!

Your feedback is welcome!