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 Fortunately, many of them journaled their meditations and contemplations, not for publication but for the exercise and deepening of their personal faith.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
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.
As 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.
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- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016