Monday, December 8, 2014

The Power of Pressure

I'm going to admit something here, straight out into the crazy world of internet readers. Are you ready for it? Ok. . .




Whew! Got that out there. I feel better now.

I've always had these idealistic views about how stress serves no purpose and reveals a distrust in God's provision (which is true). So I claimed an easy-going attitude and a yippidee-do-da nature and walked through life at ease, right? Well, despite these good intentions a new sneaky stress started to manifest itself in the tightness of my chest and the sleep that seemed to constantly evade me for about a month or two. As much as I wished I could get rid of it, no amount of forced positivity could change the manifestation of the stress in my life.

I couldn't figure out why this was happening until a co-worker pointed out with such nonchalance, "well yea you are stressed, you have a new job you are trying to figure out." Oh yea, that thing. The new job. The new job is more of a shift in responsibilities as I am now responsible for a lot of the details in running our new and constantly improving after-school program at our youth center. And the job rocks, but what I was experiencing with the stress was a new pressure I had put on myself to make sure everything and everyone was o.k.

The pressure was to create a meaningful afternoon for our students every afternoon, to take care of all their emotional needs, to figure out how to take care of myself and be better and on and on and on until I couldn't sleep and I couldn't breathe and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. And then of course (because I am who I am) I would get freaked out that stress shortens one's life which would stress me out even more as I realized I was making myself die earlier. Stress begot more stress. It was a weird little time.

So, how did I get rid of the little monster that pressed upon me with such force? Well, I took a retreat to a farmhouse for one thing, and I came back rested because for just a few days I had stopped worrying about everyone and everything else. I had to realize that I was not given the responsibility to make everything perfect or to fix everything that is wrong. When I put the world on my shoulders I sink fast into the ground. I had to be reminded that I answer to the call of the Lord, not the ever-changing response of the teenage people that I serve. The key became deep breaths, structured time, and prayer and Scripture as my guide.

I've been surprised actually. When the stress seems to pop its little gopher head up I have found that I immediately long for the Scriptures to soothe my soul. It seems to be the only thing that fixes the tightness of my chest. Isn't that cool? For God's Word reminds me that He is in control, not me (thank goodness).

And so each morning as I pack my things I have to remind myself that this task is not mine alone. As I pray for motivation I pray that I would be able to be content in doing my best. I pray that I would release myself from the bonds of expectations and simply work with the expectancy that God is going to do great things through this team, this program, and this year. And slowly but surely, the stress begins to fade. 

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