Sunday, May 6, 2012

Step Away From the Ledge: STRESS


It's getting down to the wire, and people are beginning to feel (if they haven't already been feeling) the pressure.  University students everywhere are shooting up coffee, slamming their heads on library desks, and trying to cram a semester's worth of information into their heads, wondering all the while if they'll ever pass and why they decided to go to college in the first place.  It's Hail Mary time.

When Will This END?!
I am one of those students.  That scream up at the top?  Yeah, that's me, and I have a feeling every single student entering into finals just shared that moment with me.  I've been near breaking point for a few days now.  It's been a tough semester, but, and maybe this is just me, it feels like it's all peaking here.  Like it's been waiting, biding it's time.  I've been slowly climbing this mountain of work to the top, only to find myself facing Everest.  And all I can think is, "What the heck?! I just did this!" 

The theme for this semester has been, by far, STRESS!  I've been so attacked with every little thing that has to do with classes; I've had more breakdowns this semester than probably all of them put together (and being a super-duper-senior, that's a lot).  I just want to be done.  Finished.  As all the people around me become younger and younger, I feel the pressure just a little more.

How many of you have felt like this before (or are even feeling it right now)?  Uh, probably all of you.  I would even venture to say every single human being ever in existence.  Probably every person surrounding me in the library right now as I take my break are a part of that guess.

It seems like our stresses just kind of take turns, rotating on a lazy susan that goes around and around in our heads, never ending.  We keep wondering when it'll be done, if we'll ever be free from money stress, or study stress, or family stress.  These are legitimate worries, of course, but how much do they show our trust in God?

A God of Stress?
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a worrier.  To. The. MAX.  I worried when I was a kid, and I still worry now.  Take for instance, right now: I have a huge three days ahead of me that have me crying and sweating bullets.  Yet, here I am writing a blog instead of working on my papers so I can no longer be worried.  Silly.  I know I'm not the only one with useless worries though (those are the ones we could fix, but we don't).

God speaks to us a lot through stress; maybe a better term would be that he "yells" to us.  He constantly is calling out to us, desperately desiring our hearts to rest in Him.  I know for me it's because I don't want to listen sometimes.  It's easier to worry than to give my heart away.  I want the strength without the cost.  Instead, I been torture myself with "why didn't I do this sooner" and "why was I so dumb" or lazy.  And when I do that, stress sort of becomes my god, a "god" that only makes me suffer and fearful.

The Beauty
Recently, I've fallen in love with Psalm 46.  If you've never given it a look, take out your (dusty, if you're Catholic) Bible and bookmark it.  I won't give you the whole thing, but essentially it says: God is with us, and we will not fear, though our lives are being moved.  It reminds us that with God at our side, "we cannot be moved."  Wether we feel it or not, He is with us.  Loving us.

God has given us a power; the enemy knows it, and he will never stop attacking, especially when we are weak.  But we have to remember that God lets the stress in, so it can't all be for nothing. Suffering makes us who we are.  We were promised suffering, but we were also promised light (Matt 16: 24-5; John 8:12).  We never go at it alone.  I think God allows it so that we will run to Him.  God is constantly fighting a war for us (Psalm 46:9); He fights for our hearts, and, for some of us, our sanity.  He wants to show us His glory for Love of us, and sometimes it takes beating us over the head with an exam to get a glimpse.

The Message
"Be still, and know that I am God!" Psalm 46: 10
Be still.  We forget that bit.  We are called, daily, to stop the constant worrying and stress.  We're called to be still and recognize the true God.  Leave the god of stress behind you; embrace the God of Love.  And so... I will.  I'll suck back that scream and offer it up.  I think, for once, it's time for me to stop and let Him move.  We need to get down on our knees, instead of letting them buckle beneath us from stress.

When you take a breather from your work the rest of this week, find gratitude.  It's easy to be bogged down and busy, but make time for prayer and thanksgiving.  It'll do wonders for your day.  Life's going to be hard, and sometimes, it's going to suck.  It's the greater glory in the end that will hold us up.  Step away from the ledge, and remind yourself He's got you this week and always.

I'm praying for you all (especially during finals), and please keep this worrier in your prayers as well.  Now, back to the books.  ;)  God bless and Mary keep.

Erica Trabanino
                                         I'm lactose intolerant, but I love cheese (and ice cream).  I am a missionary studying Creative Writing at SFA (and multiple schools) for what seems like a million years, but I know there's a bigger plan in mind.  Mary is my homegirl, and St. John is my brotha'.  My joyful pastimes are books, laughing at silliness, random crazy dancing, and finding God in everything.  If you would like to contact Erica, you can email her at:

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