I want to talk about stress. I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me this long to broach the subject. Stress is one of those nasty feelings that takes a grip on a lot of our minds – it thrashes us around, leaving us with tight chests and empty breaths. Stress is a natural part of life, and at one point or another we all experience it – fits of anxiety, plagues of worry, or just downright freaking out. I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish without thinking or trying we could ward off stress and anxiety (or maybe you can, I don’t know!). I wish that it would naturally and blindly be given to God without worry of how things will close or what will become of the cause along the way.
I hate to say it, but we need to take our control issues and catapult them to the nosebleeds at a baseball game because, really, isn’t that what all this anxiety comes down to? Wanting to know and control the outcome of a situation?
WE DO NOT AND WILL NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES.
Okay, now that I’ve pounded that into my head, I’ll forget it in five minutes. I’m stressed a lot. I stress about medical issues, baby stuff, work stuff, writing this blog, my dog jumping over the gate and setting off the motion detectors on our alarm system (he did), our new couch fitting up the stairs (it didn’t), our car getting spray painted (I wish it didn’t), or our tires getting slashed in our gentrifying neighborhood. Running out of MIO water enhancer, getting home on the metro alive, getting home on the bus alive, traffic, whether or not I’m finally going to find out who A is on PLL (spoiler alert: I can keep a secret), my dinner tonight, and finally, whether or not my pants will still fit after said dinner.
Okay, obviously I was exaggerating a little, but now you understand. My mind moves about a mile every 30 seconds, and those are literally all of the things that just went through it. In all honestly, though, I do get anxious. I worry about what my days will be like years from now when all my medical conditions get worse. I worry for just how long I’ll be able to work a full time job, or if having a child will take all of my energy. But these are not things I should worry about. These are all things I should be giving to God.
For me, worrying, stress, anxiety – all of those words cause me pain. Literal pain. You don't believe me? The next time I have something big coming up (like my wedding perhaps), just ask me how many ulcers I have in my mouth. The answer for that specific situation? NINE. All at the same time. Anxiety for me = pain.
I can’t just sit on this; I have to do something to lessen the stress in my life. And honestly, so do you. You may not get ulcers in your mouth, but you may crumple into pieces on the floor. You may cry hysterically until you can’t breathe. It may prevent you from working and living because it consumes every facet of your being. Stress is a sin, and just like any other sin, letting it fester will only pull you further from God.
Giving my burdens to God is hard. I wish I could just run to the doctors every time I get a few ulcers, take some steroids, and say goodbye. I wish that was fixing the actual problem, but it isn’t; it’s just masking symptoms of a bigger and more powerful issue in my life. Instead of running to medication to fix my pain, I should run to God.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I am far from good at giving my requests to the Lord. I am slowly learning to share these burdens – not even with God, but with my husband and my close friends. It is hard to tell others where you are failing. Anxiety is my biggest sin, and I continually battle for the Lord to surface among it. He will… if I let him. He can provide peace in our stressful and anxious lives. If he cared enough to send his only son to die for us on the cross, surely he cares enough to lift our anxiety and spare us the pain and sickness that covers us. It just takes faith. A LOT of faith.