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.