When Even Steve Carell, the Chicken, Can’t Fix It

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Me and Steve Carell, the chicken formerly known as Tim Keller, back in March

When I am filled with cares… I type Nate Bargatze into YouTube’s search box and watch videos like this one.

When I am filled with cares… I re-read this dumb fake-article about a frog who got a human brain transplant and shortly before dying, said “Moses.” If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s my favorite line — “Now that scientists have cut open a frog’s head and took out the frog’s brain then put a human brain in where the frog brain used to be and then the frog’s eyes opened and everyone got real quiet and then the frog audibly said “Moses” and everyone in the lab wrote down that the frog had said “Moses” in their notepads then the frog’s eyes closed and its heart stopped and the scientists rushed to resuscitate the frog but the frog had died, a whole new world of medical breakthroughs now seems totally within reach.”

When I am filled with cares…I rename my chickens after my favorite comedians and I stay up late and I guzzle caffeine and initiate text conversations with my friends, that are completely comprised of gifs. Like this one.

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Or this one.

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And often this one.

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It’s fine.

I just get like this sometimes. Do you?

Sometimes, I get filled with cares. That’s why that phrase stuck out to me last week when I was reading Psalm 94. Because, it’s almost like, when I get focused on one “care,” one problem, one prayer I’ve been praying since before I could remember that just doesn’t seem to get answered the way I want, I find myself opened up to all the other cares of the world. That one care, that burden, that thing the Lord wants me to pray about and give to Him, reminds me of all the other broken things around me.

And before I know it, I’m filled. Not with joy. Not with laughter. But with sadness. And confusion.

I am filled with cares.

Isn’t that ridiculous sounding? After all, if you’re reading this, you might be familiar with my Instagram or Facebook feed — my highlight reel. I post the cute things my kids do and sign language clips and my excitement about the books I’ve got coming out soon.

The hardest things are things I keep close. The hardest things stay in whispered conversations with the people who know me when I’m not smiling. The hardest things take away quiet moments of beauty on the swing under our maple tree and the louder moments of giggles with my three little girls. They weigh on me, as if to say, “Don’t enjoy this. Remember me? You’d better not even think about being happy.”

But God’s Word always has an answer, and this week it answered with Psalm 94:19.

“When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.”

I’ve been staring at that verse all week waiting for that comfort to bring me its joy.

I’ve got the cares, so where is the comfort that brings the joy?

I’m fully filled with plenty of cares? When should I expect the comfort to come?

But this morning, it clicked. The joy in that verse is already mine. It’s mine. I’m not waiting for anything. It’s not mine if the lost people I love find the Light. It’s not mine if the problems I face fall away. It’s not mine if my children are healthy and making good grades and screaming an appropriate number of minutes a day.

It is mine now.

It is mine always. Because, I have the Comforter and the Comforter has me. I have the Healer and the Healer has me. I am full to the brim with Him. And He is filled to the skies with care for me. I don’t have to wonder where my Comfort is. He’s off the cross and out of the grave and next to His Father, speaking of me. I don’t have to wonder how great my joy is. It is unspeakable and full of glory and Jesus has made it mine already.

When I am filled with the cares of life, Jesus is still filled with care for me.

Stand-up clips and frogs saying “Moses” can only lift a spirit for so long.

I can enjoy a deeper laughter — the kind written about in Psalm 126 — “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”

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