I would be lying if I said that I have never felt stressed in my life. You would be lying too. One in five Americans experience stress.
Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium (balance). A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body.
Symptoms: inability to concentrate, anxiety, aches and pains, inability to relax, isolation, etc.
Before writing, I sat down and did some research. Researching about stress made me stressed. Ironic.
The #1 reason for stress in the United States is work related. I didn’t even have to research that one. The U.S. is known for overworking, limited vacation days, and no maternity leave. But what does this have to do with me?
When I was in middle school, I noticed that the board that the teacher was writing on was really hard to see. I could see it, but it would often times become blurry and my head would start to hurt if I looked at it for too long. I went to the Doctor, got a prescription, and started wearing glasses.
Years passed and it felt like my glasses weren’t working and my headaches turned into migraines. So I went in again and my Doctor explained to me that one of my eyes could see better than the other one. Because of this, there was stress added to my bad eye because it couldn’t catch up with my good eye (this is obviously simplified), and this was causing all my headaches.
This is a different kind of stress than the one that I talked about earlier, but I began to understand that if there is stress in one part of your life, your entire life will be unbalanced.
School is one of the biggest stressors in my life. Finishing up my Junior year in University and already thinking about what I am going to do after graduation, scares me. I have to choose a place where I will be doing my internship during my Senior year, I have to take extra classes because I refuse to take summer quarter (I mean, who wants to go to school in the summer??), and honestly, school is just a lot of overwhelming work.
So because of this, just like my eyes, I can’t see my life properly. Things are unbalanced. More effort and time is put to the thing that is stressing me out and no time or energy is used to help out the other parts of my life, such as relationships with people, family, and church.
The other night I was through with all of it. I sat down alone in my room at 2 am and wrote down every singe thing that stressed me out at that moment on a piece of paper. Then I got down on my knees and reading each thing out loud, told God all my worries.
I know that God is an all knowing God. I know that he knows what I am going through. I know that even if I didn’t ask for help that night, He would still be there for me. I know that. I know all of that.
But Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
And this may sound fake to some of you, and some of you may say “Olesya, you’re totally exaggerating,” but even before I said “Amen” to my prayer, I felt at peace. I felt as though my best friend was giving me a hug. I felt as though all my burdens and everything that I was carrying were lifted off of me.
Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation (comfort) brought me joy.”
And I can’t tell you that I am stress free right now. I can’t tell you that I don’t worry anymore, or that I’ve got this whole thing figured out, because I don’t.
I still don’t know what I’m doing after graduation. I still don’t know where I will be interning. And I still have a ton of homework to do (right after I finish this post).
But I do know one thing.
My God, the God of Noah who built an ark, who was laughed at, not knowing if it was actually going to rain…
My God, the God of Abraham who had to trust God in every situation: from almost sacrificing his son, to not knowing where he was going to live…
My God, the God of Joseph who was sold by his own brothers, not knowing what was going to happen to him…
My God, the God of Daniel who was thrown to the lions…
My God, the God of all the Apostles, all the Christ followers, who didn’t know if they were going to live another day…
My God, is the God of peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27
Remember: The struggle is real…but so is God.