In the world we live in today, the word that defines success tends to be simply, busy. How are you? Busy. Do you want to have dinner? Busy. How is work? Busy. How is school? Busy. I hate that word. Busy. Busy implies that you do not have time in your life to fit in anything extra. Sometimes, I feel as though I am on a boat, alone, in rocky waters that never seem to settle. In this boat, the more it rocks, the more anxious I get and the more stressed I feel. What if the boat were to tip? What if it sinks? What if I fall in? Often times, we allow our business to keep us from what really matters and allow it to cloud our vision. For me, lately, my busy schedule has kept me from my time with the Lord and has kept me from being happy. Me being busy has led to stress beyond words.
I am a college student that literally doesn’t have time for a social life. I am a full-time student, with a full time job, that doesn’t understand two out of the five classes I am enrolled in right now, therefore barely passing each. I have always grown up doing very well in school. I have never failed a test, let alone a class, so this new “adventure” has caused me, you guessed it, stress. With my full-time job, I don’t have time to study as much as I normally would, and the job itself has faced a lot of setbacks the past few months and has caused me even more stress. Then the lack of friendships because I do not have time for friends equals more anxiety. The stress of relationships, or in my cause the stress to find one, has caused me anxiety for absolutely no reason. It is like as soon as I opened the door to a small sliver of anxiety, all of the sudden Satan found every little thing in my life that he could to have me find worth stressing over. I know I am not alone in this. Anxiety and stress are a apart of everyone’s everyday life. Moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, teachers, etc. No matter how small your anxiety may seem, it is a real thing that is hindering you from the Lord and his peace. How can we say that we follow the prince of peace, when all we do is worry and stress about the days to come?
There are a few verses in Philippians that I want to simply share. The first is Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Such a simple command, yet also so difficult. Do not be anxious. Easier said then done for sure, but when you really sit and consider the pros and cons of worrying, you realize that it is doing you no good. Worrying will not change a failing test grade, or a failed relationship, or the problems concerning a job. All worrying will do is make life miserable and add years to your face. And trust me, we don’t want that. Pray about everything. No prayer is too small for the Lord. Even if that prayer is Lord, just help me to have a clear mind and be focused in class today. Simple as it may seem, all God wants is for you to fully rely on him and his goodness and let him carry you when the anxiety seems to be too much. This is a verse I have come to memorize the past week. Anytime I get worried or stressed I quote Philippians 4:6 to myself and allow myself to understand that in doing so, the peace of God will come upon me. Think of this as asking God to hug you. When you let go of your anxiety and lift it up to the Lord, he welcomes you in His embrace.
Test anxiety is something that I have struggled with for a very long time. As a matter of fact, test anxiety is part of the reason I have failed two tests this semester. As soon as I was notified that I only had a few minutes left to complete an exam, I panicked and was unable to finish my exam. Studies show that stress releases a chemical in your brain that makes your brain forget anything in its short-term memory. So when I get anxious about a test, what I am doing is allowing myself to forget everything I have learned. I cancel out everything I have studied when I allow the anxiety to take over.
Stress is a powerful thing, almost as powerful, if not more than fear. It is easy to fall into the ways of worry, and Satan knows that. He feeds on that. It is like his secret weapon against even the strongest. Another verse that is sitting on my heart is Philippians 4:8-
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
It is easy to be hard on ourselves and point out all the things that we are doing wrong. I know for me, it is easier to point out how bad I am doing in school, and how much I don’t enjoy class or work, and how I just have so much going on, and really, all that does is make me even more miserable than I already am. This verse reminds me that, it is okay to brag on yourself sometimes. I have started journaling each evening before I go to bed. In my journal, every night, I end it with three things I am doing well, and thing things God is doing in my life, and three things I am thankful for that day. It has not only made me a more joyful person, but has made me realize that I AM NOT DEFINED BY MY FAILURES. I am defined by my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am a child of God. Think about positive things, things that make you proud of who you are, not things that disappoint you.
Lastly, Philippians 4:4 says,
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
It does you no good to worry or stress. Because God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. Whatever is going on in your life, there is a purpose. Right now, I have to believe that God is sharpening my perseverance and showing me that I have a little bit more grit than I thought. And one day, I will look back on this time and realize, oh yeah, that is why I went through that. So that it would help me right now, today. God places things, people, opportunities, as well as takes them away, for “the good of those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose.” So yes, I am failing a class, barely passing another, and rubbing ointment on hives from stress, but in the end, none of that matters because God is good, and I love Him and He LOVES me. Just remember how much the Lord loves you and that you are never defined by your failures. Let them be a lesson to you, so that way you fail just a little bit less every time. Get back up, dust it off, and pray about it. Pray about everything. Your problems don’t scare Jesus. Trust me, he can handle anything and everything you throw at you. No matter how big, or small they may be.