THANKSGIVING—and my stressful life

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

I have been seeing this verse on my calendar every day, but not until the other night did it really sink in to me. It was exactly the verse I needed and it had been in front of me the whole time, I had even been reading it quite often.

I tend to let myself get very stressed out. And I don’t handle stress very well. And stressed out and teaching do not go very well together. The past several weeks I have really been fighting it. Some days I felt so overwhelmed, like I was drowning in this sea called Life; I would barely get through one wave and another would come crashing down on me. Some days I just wanted to run away and never look back, run far away to a quiet place where no one could find me; where life wouldn’t overwhelm me. Sometimes I just felt like having a pity party for myself…I knew this wasn’t the answer and I tried to pray, but at the same time I was hanging on to the ‘poor little me, I have life so rough.’ It didn’t work out so well. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The tears came against my wishes…When I was younger I never cried; I despised having people see me cry. Now it seems I can’t stop the tears, they just pour down whether I want them to or not. But with them, some of the stress does seem to flow away.

It just seemed like every time I took care of one problem, there was another one staring me in the face. After an especially tough day, I remembered Isaiah 40:31—“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” I felt weary and like I was fainting by the way and this just spoke to me. I prayed, asking the Lord to support me with his wings. The next day this verse kept going through my mind and I kept praying. I thought, Maybe God let me get low so I would seek him out more deeply. In all my stress, I haven’t been taking the time for God that I should. I’ve been putting my focus in the wrong place. And, although I wasn’t feeling very well that day, it was definitely a better day. And the next day was even better.

The battle is far from over. I have won a victory, but the Enemy is still there; now more determined than ever to drag me down into that dark sea of despair and self-pity. My challenge to myself is to spend more time with God and keep my focus on him rather than the stresses of my life.

Through it all though, there were bright spots. One night when I was feeling especially overwhelmed, I got a phone call releasing me from one of my responsibilities for the evening. They probably had no clue how much it meant to me; but I felt it was an answer from God—a chance to get my head a little higher out of the water. Another was getting invited to a friend’s for supper one evening just for anyhow. It was so good to have her little boys come and sit on my lap and want me to hold them because they love me. How can you not respond to that? There were other things, too, although I don’t remember them now.

I debated about writing this, I didn’t want to come across in a way that makes people pity me. Also, it is hard on my pride—what little I still have. I’ve always been the “tough one.” The one that is there for everyone else in their troubles. It’s hard to let people see inside my exterior to the real me who really isn’t tough at all. But I’ve found I love reading people’s blogs who are honest about life and what they are experiencing. Those are the posts that speak to me. So, I hope through this post you can be drawn closer to God and encouraged in your walk, not focus on me. This Thanksgiving, don’t let anxiety get in the way of your thanks giving!

P.S. On a brighter note, my students have kept me laughing the last couple days, as they have suddenly become my matchmakers. They provide me with great entertainment! No time for despair when they keep me laughing. Smile

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