Thursday, December 6, 2012


Stress. We've all encountered it. We each react differently to it, but one thing is universal: at some point in our lives, it gets to us.

Prepare yourself. I'm about to give you a rare glimpse into the workings of my mind--or my stressed mind at least. The other day, when a little bit of stress got to me, I decided to write down exactly what I was feeling. Bear in mind that I was sleep deprived and sassy...I apologize in advance. Here are the exact words I wrote throughout the night.

It’s always easier to look back on a tough situation and realize what you did wrong. Retrospection opens up a lot of paths that were invisible in the midst of the event. I usually get stressed or face a problem and then write about it after. But I’ve never posted about my feelings in the middle of stress. So here I go:

I have so much to do. It’s stressing me out. I left dinner early to work on homework. I’m going to do awful  on the quizzes and test I have tomorrow. I’d like to get some sleep. One hour or more would suffice. I wrote about how I was stressed and looked at the stars. Well I don’t have time to do that now or else I’ll be going to bed at 4 am. Well, I’ll probably be doing that anyway. Writing this is only going to make me go to bed later. This better lead to some pretty amazing post or else I will have failed for nothing. God should just give me all the answers now. I don’t have time for this....I don’t have time for anything and I have to wake up early tomorrow and my battery’s about to die on my laptop. This essay needs to write itself. I just want to go to sleep. God please help me. I admit that I’m not praying to You out of pure love like when I look up at the stars or the sun. I am saying it out of desperation and anxiety. Ok I will stop for a second and say it out of love really quickly. God please help me get this done and do well tomorrow. I can do all things through you who strengthen me. Not feeling really strong right now, but that did help a bit. Phil 4:13 helps a lot. I’m repeating it over and over to myself now. I cried earlier but now I’m all good. Oh goodness, I shouldn’t have typed that. I don’t want people to know that I cried about stress. My life is perfect…I don’t cry. I don’t get stressed. I don’t procrastinate. Haha NOT. That looked like Hot. Random. But I’m writing everything that pops in my head. Freud had his pupils do that when examining consciousness. Learned that in psych. Is this actually helping? I feel like I’m getting less stressed just because I’m putting it off more. Okay, I will return to---ah right when I started typing that I thought of everything I had to do and it made me freak out inside. Okay well I really do have to return then to work. I will keep you (whoever I’m writing to) updated.

I’m not as stressed. I’ve only completed one subject so far of my homework, but it helped. I just finished writing an essay on the prophet Ezekiel. He warned the Judeans not to place more faith in Jerusalem than in God. Once Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, he told them not to lose faith in God. He was still going to help them out. They would be returned to their land in time. I closed the essay with a reference to how it applies today. I basically said that Ezekiel preached a message that is applicable even today: God is with us in both the good times and the bad times. When we ignore him and place others before him, He’s still there waiting to embrace us. Thick and thin. He’s there. It’s thick right now. But it could be a lot thicker, that’s true. I’m feeling better knowing God’s there. Time to continue on with this mental marathon.

Well yay. Just found out that I have been studying for a quiz for the past half hour that is not even tomorrow. Great. And if you’re reading this you’re probably saying wow, come on... you’re alive. Don’t cry. It could be worse. I agree. I always use that when friends freak out. Remind them of all the good things in their life they have to be happy about. And saying that does remind me so I’m feeling better, but it’s just that when I’m caught up in the moment I make a mountain out of a molehill. And its probably because I’m exhausted from the tournament and sleep deprived that I’m freaking out. 

Woop woop. Late night partying. Jk I’m studying implicit differentiation. I think I’m done kind of. I’m going to bed. I’ll get up early and finish it but I’m dead tired right now.

Well, that just about sums up my mental processes during a stressful late night study session. Pardon all parts that make no sense at all. 

After reflecting on what I wrote, I see the error in my ways, as I said I would at the start. Retrospection really does help. I said that I wasn't really talking to God out of love. I was praying that he would give me the easy way out. I was praying because I was tired and stressed and anxious...not because I was grateful and loving and respectful to Him.  I complained that I didn't have time to go look at the stars. What a shame. True, sleep is important, but I just wish I would have found time to look at the stars because I know it would have helped me. Everything was a bigger deal than it needed to be in that moment. My laptop battery is about to die...oh my gosh, what tragedy! 

Moments such as these change us for a bit. We fail to put life in perspective and make mountains out of molehills. We shift our attention away from God. We fail to realize that we can accomplish daily tasks AND still be with God.

Stress is a necessary part of our life, but it must not define us. Don't let stress be the reason you must miss Church. Don't let stress be the reason you snap at friends and family. Don't lose focus of what truly matters (humility, faith, God, love, kindness, etc.) because you are stressed. I'm not saying you should blow off whatever task you are responsible for accomplishing. I am saying that you should look to God as you face these challenges. Looking for Him will bring you joy in a stressful situation. You can turn it into an opportunity to increase your reliance on God. It's easier than you think. When you are embarking upon a difficult task, prayer should be the first thing you do, not a last resort once everything starts falling apart.

It is so much easier to pray to God for strength before and know that He is with you from the start than it is to freak out and THEN ask for strength. Turning to God from the get-go is like laminating a piece of paper before you put it in a shredder. It will survive the shredder without severe damage (I assume...I've never tried it). Turning to God as a last resort, however, is like letting the paper be shredded into a million pieces and then letting God fit them back together again and tape them up. Be a laminated piece of paper!

When you're stressed, find the time to visit the chapel, go to Mass, jam out to Christian music, or just say a quick prayer. Actions such as these will help remind you to turn to Jesus. Recently, I have discovered that one of the best methods for refocusing myself on faith is visiting the chapel in my school...a chapel that is literally feet away from the very same math classroom that often causes this stress. As soon as the door closes, there is instant quiet and peacefulness. I am alone with my thoughts and with God. This may not be your thing, but whatever it is that helps, find it!

Whatever it is that stresses you out (school, work, family, friends, etc.), let it god. Give it to God. If you keep him in the forefront of your mind as you face stressful times, He will lift the burden off your shoulders and help you carry the load. He will help you keep life in perspective. It's not the end of the world if you can't handle it all every once in a while. It's only the end of the world when God says it is.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)

Shout out to Maria for giving me feedback on all my posts. Everybody reading this: Pray for MarMar that she passes her driving test!!

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