I had a very bad day earlier this week. I had a couple of things to do this week that really stressed me out. I did the first obligation and it went pretty well, but for some reason I started thinking negatively about the event and about myself and I got myself worked up into quite a state. I got so stressed that I almost called to back out of the commitment I had made for the next day and I wanted to just go crawl in a hole somewhere and never have to deal with anything ever again.
Well, I'd like to say that I prayed and asked God for help and I felt better right away, but I'm afraid that things didn't happen quite like that. Oh, I knew God was there. I felt the Holy Spirit trying to get me to focus on the right things, urging me to think about the good, reassuring me that I would be okay. Unfortunately, I didn't make a conscious choice to put my focus on the right things.
Instead, I focused on the "what if"s. I focused on all of the things that could go wrong. I focused on how bad I would feel if I didn't do things perfectly. I focused on myself and it got me to a very bad place.
I'm happy to report that I did what I had to do and it went just fine. I thought about it all the way home and realized that I had been way too stressed for no reason. I was glad I had not backed out of the event and I thought a great deal about God. I thanked Him for helping me to do what I had to do in spite of my fears. I reminded myself that I could go to Him right away so that my stress could be lessened in the future.
How timely that later that evening I opened my email to see a blog post from Susie Finkbeiner talking about the same topic. She shared great thoughts about doing what scares us in order to get where we need to be.
I also talked to my husband about my stress and fears and he reminded me of how nervous he used to get when he first went into the ministry. It has gotten easier for him, but he still gets nervous at times.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that I have grown this week. When I feel stress I usually want to flee, but I'm learning that it's usually much better to stay and fight. Fight through the fear, fight through the uncertainty, fight through the anxious feelings. It will get you closer to the person you want to be. It will remind you to focus on God and what He wants you doing with your life. Sure, it's easier to avoid everything outside of our comfort zone, but we never grow if we just remain in the same place and stay comfortable.
Fight, my friends, and you may just find that your stress lessens as you focus on God and His plans for you.
"Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 42:5 NIV)
What do you do when you feel lots of stress? Do you stay and fight or do you just want to flee? How can focusing on God help you get through those times of stress?