Happy Tuesday, my friends!
On Saturday, I announced to you all that I am writing a book. Aaahh! I’m really excited, and I am having a ridiculous amount of fun with it. And what better way to kick off the excitement than to share a sneak peek of the first chapter that I’m writing?
My first chapter is about stress, anxiety, and depression, and effectively dealing with it. While this may seem dismal, fear not! I decided to write this book, specifically dealing with issues pertaining to the Christian life, in order to confront the tough things we all face.
So while some topics may seem more serious or somber, I want to share this message: there is always hope, and God will never abandon us.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt. The writing style is slightly more formal than what I use here, on Scattered Journal Pages, because I’m not quite sure who my audience will wind up being for my book. Who knows where I’ll be by the end!
Stress: Parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 1
If you’d mentioned the word “stress” to me when I was a preteen, I would’ve laughed and said that it probably wasn’t that bad, whatever it was like. If you’d slipped the words “anxiety” or “depression” into a conversation, I might have solemnly said, “Oh, Christians don’t deal with those things.” But I would have been undeniably wrong.
Whether you deal with any of these things or you don’t, or whether your depression or anxiety is medical or emotional, all these things are real. They’re painful, and there is no questioning the fact that they exist. However, they don’t have to undo us. They don’t have to ruin our lives.
Stressing Over Work, School, and Life in General
When I started high school, I had no idea what I was in for. I was sure I wouldn’t survive. So many days, I did school from 8 A.M. until 10 P.M., with only a few breaks, and I was utterly overwhelmed. I was terrified of failure, terrified of a B, terrified that I wouldn’t learn or something ridiculous like that. I was so scared that I would not get everything done, and of course I did, but I barely made it.
It was awful.
School became where I got my identity, and not who I knew God saw me as; that was poisonous. I placed so much of my worth on how much work I got accomplished, and for that year and the next, stress became my way of life.
I was absolutely miserable.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe your job’s got you tied up and it consumes every thought. You’re a workaholic. Or like in my case, a schoolaholic. Maybe your living situation isn’t the greatest and it weighs on you emotionally. I get it, because I’ve been there.
But that’s not what God wants for any of us.
Anything that takes up most or all of our thought life becomes greater than God in our finite minds. I don’t mean to condemn at all, because I understand what it’s like entirely.
Stress is like an ache, something that gnaws at the depth of your soul. It’s that pit in your stomach that manifests itself when you’re lying in bed and you remember all the things you need to accomplish. It consumes every thought, and every decision is made with whatever is wrong in the back of your mind.
It is so painful, so often unbearable, but many times, it seems inescapable.
And that’s what’s the worst of it.
But we are not without hope.
Stress Over Things out of Your Control
I think a lot. Many times, I worry about other people’s problems and forget that they can be handled by the people whose problems they are. Or maybe they can’t be handled. But it’s alright.
Sometimes I think that I must be responsible for everyone else, and every problem in the world, and that so often causes me uncalled-for stress and pressure.
I’m not talking about “bearing each others burdens,” as Galatians 6:2 says. I think it’s absolutely wonderful to help others, to have compassion, to pray for them, and to support them in their times of need. That is a beautiful thing, and something none of us can live without.
What I am speaking about is when we’re constantly letting ourselves be consumed by things that we have absolutely no power over, be it another’s poor life choices, the happenings in politics, or things that go on in the world.
But it’s not our responsibility to “fix it.” Oftentimes, that’s such a difficult stress to overcome, and simply because we can do absolutely nothing about it.
For us Christians, we don’t have to let that stress overtake us.
Because we know that the world is in the hands of God.
And while it’s definitely not easy, it’s possible to leave the weight of the world on God’s shoulders and not our own. We know that He sees all. We know that He wants the best for us. Yet, we spend days worrying and nights sleepless over what we cannot change.
The evil in the world is not of God’s orchestration; it is because of sin. We live in a fallen world, and we can’t expect it to always be good.
We have pain, we suffer. But this world is not our home, and the way the world works is out of our control.
By prayer and trust in God, let us let go of the misconception that says that we need to handle it all; we don’t.
We have to let God be God, and let Him be in control.
So, what do you think? Would you want any more excerpts of chapter 1 this month? Let me know in the comments!
I made a wallpaper for my iPod yesterday, and wanted to share it because I thought it really fit. This is one of my favorite Bible verses ever. And oh my word, graphic design is so. much. fun.