Stressed. Once I heard that stressed spelled backwards is desserts, which is ironic because all I crave when I’m feeling overwhelmed is some fresh chocolate chips cookies with a tall glass of milk. Lately,though, that word has become infectious and has caught on to the vocabulary of every person I have come in contact with. It seems that we have accepted stressed as the automatic answer whenever anyone looks depleted, lethargic, or even when they act out in an inappropriate manner. We are all just trying to work off some stress.
In a sense, it’s great. We all relate to each other, and stress has a way of lighting the fire beneath our feet. Plus people in high stress scenarios tend to bond more easily with each other. Stress’ dark side is better known to most of us though. It can be debilitating, causing your heart to race and filling your stomach with those ghastly butterflies (definitely not the nice kind, we’re talking more like moths for most of you). Sometimes the pressure we’re constantly under can seem like tsunami waves that at any moment are going to crash down, annihilating you in one fowl swoop. Currently that’s the boat that I seem to find myself in and it’s exhausting. Luckily there is an answer, and you have all probably guessed it already, but I’m going to share anyway: the answer is Jesus.
Okay cheesy, I know, but take a quick journey with me.
You are sitting in a boat. It’s a small, wooden rowboat, but it’s a nice day and the small waves that you drift over cause you no alarm. Occasionally a larger one comes about, but it passes quickly and with it so goes your anxiety. You become comfortable and you drift asleep. You are awaken by a large crash and you look up to see that the sun has disappeared and in its place there are large menacing clouds, darker than sin, with cracks of lightning brightening the sky. This only shows you the deep water that sounds you crashing and cresting over in monstrous waves. How did this happen? Weren’t we just drifting nicely minutes ago?
Raise the alarm, because with no land in sight and no one to contact, a full blown panic attack is about to begin, adding your own salty tears to this dreaded ocean of discontent. You frantically search around, in hopes that some miracle can save you. That’s when you spot Him. There He is, sound asleep in the back of the boat. Nothing seems to be alarming Him, and He doesn’t stir as yet another bolt of lightning crashes and the boat shakes filling with water. You rush over and hastily wake Him. You beg and plead, can’t He see you two are about to perish? Can He not save you?
He slowly awakens and with one simple swish of the wrist and a small command, the waters calm and the sky is once again that beautiful, clear blue. He walks over to you. You are quite considerably a mess: your hair is out of place, mascara smeared, and let’s not even talk about your drenched clothes. He looks down at you with loving yet exhausted eyes. He gently reprimands, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (NIV Mark 4:40). He smiles warmly. Finally in typical Jesus style, He walks away (yeah, our Savior walks on water).
I hope the next few weeks, months, years are not too stressful, but when you get to that point when you feel like breaking, find Jesus sleeping in your boat. Go to mass, spend some time in adoration, blow the dust off your bible, or just meditate on the joys God has given you as well as the stresses. I promise they’re here and I promise, He is not going to let you drown.
Sara Bushland is a Senior at Stephen F. Austin State University, currently serving as President of Kappa Upsilon Sigma. She is studying Rehabilitation Services with a Specialization in Orientation and Mobility, largely inspired by her youngest sister. Sara is fearless when it comes to grabbing people's attention on campus, loves coffee and braiding hair, and is pretty fond of #authenticrelationships! Feel free to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org!