I don’t know about y’all, but just reading the syllabus for a class stresses me out.
Assignments. Pop quizzes. Articles. Exams. Online work. Internships. Family. Social life.
Oh, and driving for us commuters out there. Just about every time my professors are explaining the outline for our coursework during the first week of each semester, I can’t help but worry about how I’m going to have time to get everything done without neglecting another area of my life. Wednesday was only my second day of senior year at the University I attend, and after having a rough morning, I texted my boyfriend about it because I needed to vent to someone. I told him that I feel like I’m going to fail in one or more areas of my life if I take too much stuff on this semester. The pressures of graduating in May have been weighing on me all summer, and I just want to get everything right. He told me to pray about it, and I said that I’ve tried to, but it feels like I can’t find the right answer to what I’m supposed to do. That’s when he replied with the slap-to-reality I needed:
When was the last time God made a mistake?
Yep… he shut me up right there. Every time I get worried about how I’m going to get through this semester, get a job after graduation, or whatever else… I have to remember that God put me in this position for a reason, and He didn’t do it to leave me here to figure it out on my own. God didn’t give me something I can’t handle, and I’m not stressing out because of a mistake He’s made, because He makes NO mistakes. Oh, and that doesn’t only apply to me. God has never made a mistake with any of us.
The only mistake here was caused by me.
“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” -Proverbs 15:22
Stress is caused by overthinking. Overthinking occurs when we have something on our mind, over-analyze what could go wrong in the situation, and practically kill ourselves to find a solution. Therefore, the bad day I had Wednesday was not due to the fact that God placed me in a situation that I won’t be able to handle; it was due to the fact that I was not relinquishing the burden to Him. Yes, as I stated before, I had prayed about it. Nevertheless, my prayer was, “please help me make the right decision”, when it should have been, “Lord, I place this situation in Your hands, and pray that you’ll have Your will with my life. Guide me to make the right decision according to Your purpose for me.” At first glance those prayers don’t seem that different, but the one I was hurriedly spitting out before falling asleep at night was said out of frustration in myself for not being able to conjure up an answer on my own, not out of true reliance on God. I was relying on my own counsel, not God’s, therefore causing myself disappointment when I kept letting the stress get to me.
Then I remembered a verse…
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” -Jeremiah 29:11
When I graduated from community college a couple of years ago, one of my favorite instructors gave me a bracelet with the scripture reference for this verse inscribed on a charm. I didn’t think much of the verse then, but I wore the bracelet around a lot until part of it broke one day. I don’t wear the bracelet anymore, but every time I think of graduating, my instructor and that verse come back to mind.
The first time I ever had a class with this particular instructor, it was for a programming class called Microsoft Visual Basic. This was my first time learning how to write computer programs, so I (and many of my classmates) struggled throughout the semester. Over time, I began do dislike my instructor because she wouldn’t help us when we ran into a problem; she made us take the time to figure it out the best we could before she would come take a look at it herself. For the longest time, I thought she was just being lazy or hateful; however, by the end of the semester I had grasped a good understanding of the programming language and had figured out that the instructor didn’t ignore our requests for help out of rudeness, but out of preparation. You see, she wasn’t trying to be hateful to me and my classmates so she wouldn’t have to do any extra work. Instead, she axed our lifeline so to speak to teach us how to solve the problems that occurred on our own. Just like Jeremiah 29:11, she had good intentions for us, despite the fact that I thought she was plotting my failure in her course.
God works in a similar way.
Whenever you’re wondering why God has placed you in a situation where it seems as if you have to do a million different, difficult tasks, think back to Jeremiah 29:11. During times like that, we may question God as to why He’s allowing us to be stressed out or worried about our future. I certainly have this week, but that’s not how we should react. Satan wants us to blame God for our circumstances, when in reality Satan’s handiwork (overthinking, self-doubt, insomnia) that causes our stress in the beginning. The key thing to know in times such as this is that God is trying to teach us how to rely on Him when our lives become overwhelming. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “figure it out thyself”. Nah, actually it says pretty clearly:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
You may not understand why you’ve been swamped with loads of responsibilities all at once. You may not understand why you’ve suddenly become sick and have had to take extended time away from your duties. You may not understand why someone left you to deal with life on your own. Nevertheless, know this: you may not understand it now, but if you trust in God to get you through it, He will reveal the trial’s purpose to you sooner or later. God’s not trying to hurt you by leading you through difficulties; He’s trying to teach you the most valuable lesson of all.
Goodnight and God bless!
Featured image found at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/283163895297962133/
Featured image attributed to: 561quotes.com | No copyright infringement intended