[To my guy readers, a heads up that this blog post includes decidedly female imagery. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.]
Last week was so intense, at one point I looked at my daughter and said, Tomorrow’s blog post is going to be titled “The Day I Died from Stress.”
She said, No, mom.
On Tuesday I went in to do a trial run at a job. I hadn’t worked outside the home for 20 years, so I was grieving leaving home and was more than a little anxious about getting up and dressed and to work like normal people. By the end of the day, it was apparent the job wasn’t going to be a good fit for me or the employer, so I pretty much cried all the way home and intermittently until bedtime. I found myself saying, Now what, Lord?
The next morning God dropped a new job in my lap, totally unexpected. I heard about it at 8:00 a.m., interviewed at 11:00, and by 11:30 was shaking hands on the deal.
This caused emotional whiplash that physically stressed my body to the point that Imodium was required, if you know what I mean.
And the whole job thing was just one of three major decisions peaking in the same week. It’s all resolved now, but WOW that was a lot at one time. Seriously.
So now I’m sitting calmly, with Bible in lap and coffee in hand, praying through and pondering over all the stressors, and I would like to offer you the insights I have won from all of it.
When Life Is Stressful
- James (1:2-4) informs us that trials are God’s tool to make us complete. It stands to reason that as we grow in maturity our trials will become more intense, like birthing a baby. When Caleb was being born I remember telling Matt, Um, I don’t want to do this. Apparently that wasn’t an option. When the stress gets great, the Holy Spirit says, Bear down! Push! Push! Push!
- David informs us God’s word is a light (Psalm 119:105). My interpretation: God’s word is Lamaze. When your trial gets to the “transition stage” and the people down the hall can hear you groaning and ranting, well breathing is all you’ve got. When I was awake at 1:00 and 3:00 and 5:00 in the morning last week, feeling like I was going to puke from stress, all I had was God’s word. I leaned on a few verses like a woman breathing through a contraction. Trust. Don’t be anxious. Pray instead. Trust. Don’t be anxious. Pray instead. Cast your cares. Trust. Women practice breathing BEFORE they go into labor, you know. Are you memorizing Bible verses diligently? When life gets hard, and it will, do you have enough truth stored up to help you breathe through it?
- We need people to give us courage. In the middle of all the stress, I had a bad day and totally lost faith in everything and wanted to give up. I went outside and sad down on the steps to have a good cry, and pretty soon my whole family was around me speaking courage into me. They coached me through the worst of the pain until I was actually laughing and felt like I could get through it. My daughter even wrote me this most awesome quote for my new chalkboard (with artwork by my boy):
- We’re idiots if we lean on our own understanding of how things are going to turn out (see Proverbs 3:5.) I mean, a job I thought was perfect falling through on one day and within 12 hours another even more perfect job in my lap? I could not possibly have seen that coming. Next time I’m anxious would somebody please email me this blog post and say, Chill, sister! God understands the future, and you don’t know anything.
If you’re stressed, be encouraged that Christ gets how you feel (picture him sweating-blood in the garden.) He’s sticking close to you, and you’re going to get through this.
I didn’t die, see? You won’t die either.
We’re women. Let’s remember that 10 centimeters is the inescapable journey to new life.