There Is Always Grace

There Is Always Grace

 

I’ve been really stressed out this week.

 

You’d think that for a girl who wrote about stress as the very first topic in her book, that I’d be all set.

 

But I’m not.

 

People that try to say that stress is nonexistent are wrong, because it totally does exist. And I’m wary to admit it, but stress does consume me sometimes, especially on weeks like this.

 

(I promise I won’t talk about my problems too much; I just want to give you guys some background.)

 

Most of you know that I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I was doing great, but then I had a week of driver’s ed.

 

That was all last week. Six hours a day, five days in a row, on what was supposed to be my vacation. It wasn’t terrible, it really wasn’t, but it completely sapped my energy and I wrote a total of 300 words in that entire week, when I can usually write 300 in ten minutes. A writing rut, folks.

 

*cue dramatic sighing*

 

Plus, I have some things going on Friday through next week and I’m a little frazzled.

 

Well, maybe “a little” is an understatement. But I digress.

 

The point I want to make here is that as Christians, we try to come up with all these “cures” and “reliefs” for stress, when in reality, we’re only masking the problems. Things like “believing harder” or “confessing our sinfulness” or something.

 

We’re not really dealing with the issue of being stressed, we’re just telling ourselves that we shouldn’t be. But that isn’t fixing anything.

 

Before you write me off as super-religious, vague, and unhelpful, let me attempt to explain what I mean.

 

Stress, in and of itself, is not bad. In fact, it can be helpful when trying to achieve a goal. Deadlines are beneficial, and a little extra adrenaline never hurt anyone. Stress can motivate us to just do it.

 

But the scary part comes in when we’re so overwhelmed by stress that we let it overtake us. We let our feelings consume us and blind us to the hope we have.

 

Instead of letting stress dictate how we live our lives, we can live in grace. We can know that failing does not make us failures, as I wrote about on Saturday. We can know that we are loved no matter what we do, instead of thinking that our worth is based on our performance. We can know that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love.

 

I believe that much of our stresses revolve around having to get things done.

 

For me, this week, it’s studying enough for my test on Monday, completing 6,000 more words before Saturday, and juggling life on top of that.

 

Part of me is screaming “I CAN’T DO ALL THIS!” because it probably is too much, in the first place. But the other part of me is listening to the lies that are telling me it’s the end of the world if:

1) I fail my test,

2) I don’t get 6k written by the end of the week,

3) I miss another commitment,

4) I keep forgetting to respond to my emails,

5) I don’t write one blog post,

6) I let my friends down,

7) I don’t get to read quickly through the books people are depending on me to review.

 

I have this weight that’s pulling me down, because I feel like I have to do everything, and everything flawlessly. Is that possible? No. Do I make myself try anyway, and crush myself in the process? Why yes, yes I do. Is it smart or wise? Absolutely not. Do I know this? Yes, I do.

 

So what is wrong with me???

 

I have let stress overtake me and affect my thoughts.

 

I have decided to forget the truths in the Bible that remind me that I need not be perfect. I’ve forgotten the fact that my sins, NEVERMIND MY TEENY LITTLE MISTAKES, were all covered at The Cross. I’ve forgotten that the problems of the world are not my own, that I’m not responsible for other people, that it won’t kill off the world’s population if I take a little break from blogging.

 

God’s truths of grace and love do not depend on how well I live my life. If they did, I’d be in trouble. His grace stands in the places where I need it most, and His love endures when I feel the most unlovable.

 

Maybe I’m writing this post just for me today. Maybe I’m the only one that needs to remember that stress doesn’t have to control every hour of my life.

 

Maybe I’m the only one that needs a reminder of renewed grace for each day. Maybe I’m the only one that needs to be encouraged, especially when I do fail (because I’m very far from perfect).

 

Maybe I’m the only one that needs to be reminded to do MY best, and not necessarily expect myself to do THE best. I’ll do the best I can, but not beat myself up over what I wasn’t capable of.

 

But if that’s you too, please know that you’re not alone.

 

If you’re stressed out of your mind, I won’t try to “fix it,” I’ll only say this. You are not alone. You do not have to handle everything yourself; take some pressure off. And I promise, there is always grace for you.

 

*aj

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29 thoughts on “There Is Always Grace

  1. I REALLY get stressed when I forget or fail to write a blog post too, it really pulls you down and doesn’t let go. Praying for you Amanda! Xx

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  2. Your posts are always so encouraging! Seriously. 🙂 I’ve been stressed lately too, and often seem to be so consumed stressing about everything I have to do that I get nothing done, which, as you can imagine, compounds the situation. So this post was the perfect reminder I needed tonight – just to get back to that place of trusting God with my problems, and realize that I’m not the only one.

    May God bless you for being such a blessing, and I hope you accomplish your writing and test preparation goals. Just don’t stress about it. 😉

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    • I’m so encouraged to hear that my posts are encouraging, haha!
      I totally know what you mean. The more pressure’s on, the less we want to do.
      I’m so glad it could help you; as you can see, I’ve been dealing with the exact same thing myself.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 I really appreciate it.

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  3. Very timely subject for me 🙂 I agree can’t let stress overwhelm us. I believe a key factor in that is controlling out thoughts. Don’t let our minds spiral out of control rather conform to God’s Word. Be anxious for nothing. Awesome job, girl 🙂

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    • Absolutely, yes! I think that’s where many of us get tripped up. We think our thoughts are harmless, but we’re letting them be warped and affect us negatively.
      Thank you for your comment! I so agree!

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  4. Yes, yes, YES. So very true. And I’m not in a find-something-profound-to-say-in-a-comment mood, so I don’t really have anything to add, but this is true, and something I’m always needing to relearn.

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  5. Come to me who you are weary and thirsty and worry I’ll give you rest. Jesus said .
    Cast your mind to Him. Keep your heart and mind to things above everything going to be background and will get the real meaning of Life. Surrender your week to Him , your all stress time will be like a buble .

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  6. Praise God! This is so, so, so beautiful. And totally Holy-Spirit-on-point, too, because grace has been a huge theme in my life of late…everything is grace. I love how you talk about masking our problems, especially with stress, by just saying “oh, I shouldn’t be doing this, I shouldn’t be feeling this” because the reality is that we are and we do. But, as St. Paul tells us, in our weakness, Christ’s power is made strong.

    I have been incredibly touched by your writing today…thank you for allowing God to work through you. I can’t wait to come back! God bless you, girl, and I’ll be praying for you. xxxx

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    • Thank you so much, Anne Marie!
      I love that passage, and I’ve found it to be so helpful in my own life – the less I rely on me, the better off I am, and God can have His place in me to display His power. 😉
      Oh goodness, that means so much! Thank you for coming by! I really appreciate that and your prayers. xx

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  7. Great post, Amanda, and just what I need to hear right now! I identify with everything you said, and you described exactly what it feels like for me, too. 😉 Similarly to your situation, I’m in a stressful few weeks leading up to finals, so thank you for the timely post! And I love how you brought it all back to the grace of God, because it truly is the only thing that can overcome all our stress and performance pressure!

    You are not alone either, and I know God’s peace will be with you through all of this as you keep pressing on for His glory. 🙂 I’ll be praying that you’re able to rest in him during the craziest moments!

    Mary

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    • I’m so glad it could encourage you, Mary! 😉
      Ooh, finals. Ouch! I feel you, girl!
      Yes, it’s all about grace. 🙂 His grace is greater than us, thank Him!
      Thank you so much! I appreciate the prayers & the sweet comment. God bless!

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  8. Definitely relating to this. It’s been a crazy week for me as well. (Um, when is it not, I know…) But sometimes I just need to stop, breathe, and remind myself of what’s important. Not to mention pare things down to what I actually HAVE to get done and what’s just a “should” get done.

    Here’s a song a friend shared with me recently that really applies. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnjeMwxFuBA

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    • Glad to know we’re experiencing similar things. 😉
      (I know, right…I’m starting to think I’m just living a crazy life.)
      Absolutely. I’m learning it’s okay to say no, okay to decline, okay to decide, actually, I can’t do this anymore.
      THAT SONG. Oh my word. ExACTLY what I needed to listen to tonight. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely need to remember Breathe. ❤

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      • Isn’t that song wonderful?! I was so glad someone shared it with me. 🙂

        My favorite part is towards the end:
        “Chaos calls, but all you really need is to take it in, fill your lungs with the peace of God that overcomes…So let your weary spirit rest, lay down what’s good and find what’s best.” (That last line is what I was talking about in my original comment.)

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  9. Aww, thank you so much for writing Amanda! This was so encouraging to me! The past 3-4 weeks have been INSANELY crazy for me and my family, with soooo many different things going. I really needed this! Thank you for sharing what’s on your heart! God bless you Amanda!

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