Friday, October 14, 2016

Defeating the Stress Monster

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:27-30 NIV

All it takes is a cough coming from my daughter’s bedroom, and I morph into another person.

This person isn’t pretty. It’s the part of me that senses my daughter getting sick. It’s the part that is shaken by my daughter’s previous admissions in the hospital and Intensive Care Unit, which all started with an ordinary cough and cold.

Stress floods on me the moment the coughing starts. As my daughter’s primary caregiver, it is my job to take care of her, take her to the doctor, and increase her medications in illnesses. It can be overwhelming as I fear the moment (which typically occurs at night) when her breathing will get extremely worse.

I hate this side of myself. I hate that I unconsciously pace around the house as I decide what to do next for her breathing difficulties. I hate that my mind is so busy with fears and worries when I hear her junky cough. I hate that I tend to think negatively when she gets sick. It cripples me mentally and the stress manifest through tight muscles on my body.

I have been praying about my reactions to my daughter’s illnesses. I don’t cope with these illnesses well. I know I am not supposed to be stressed, but my body almost seems conditioned for it now. How can I stop it? It seems to be this big undefeatable monster in my life.

My pastor recently did a message on stress in our lives. It was one of the greatest messages I have ever heard-mainly because stress is something I need help with so desperately.

He read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11 and asked this question, “How can the man who prayed tears of blood, was severely beaten, and died on a cross tell us that his yoke is easy and his burden light?”

“Yes! Great point!” I wanted to shout during the service. Instead, I made notes and more notes to read over later.

During the message, something was highlighted to me that was already revealed during my prayer time. My daughter’s health problems are not the main problem. My problem is how I have reacted to them.

You see, it would be so much easier for both of us if she was supernaturally healed. In reality, she has struggled with her breathing since she was a baby. Still, I am called to live in peace. I am told to find rest for my soul no matter the situation. How can that be? But how did Jesus keep going when he knew what he was about to face? How did he pray through and find peace when everyone was turning against him?

Instead of being like him, I tend to create excuses for my stress. After all, anyone in my shoes would see my reactions as reasonable. My excuses only feed that stress monster.

My pastor went on in his message to reveal the answer to managing stress, which was developing more self-control. I am in charge of controlling my fears, thoughts, and anxieties. I am responsible for pressing in to God when the outside pressures are too much. I am the one letting stress be the big giant monster in my life, and I am the one who can defeat it through Jesus.

I know that I can find rest for my soul in you. I know that stress is not from you and is not helpful in my life. Help me to develop the self-control in order to resist those thoughts that cause stress to grow. Give me victory in my own life so I can better serve my child. Amen.