Life has been crazy. Absolutely crazy. If you’re a college student, you’ll understand that the end of the spring semester is chaos. I constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed. Not only am I stressed about school work, but also confused about what God wants me to do next.
Everyone keeps telling me to lean on Christ, but how can I do that? I want to spend time alone with Jesus, but I have so much to do that I barely have enough time to pee.
So, how can we lean on Jesus when we’re stressed and overwhelmed?
Well, there are a few options (probably more, but these help a lot).
1. Turn it all off.
One of my favorite things to do is drive out into the country, put my phone on silent, and talk to Abba God. I can drive 15 minutes from my university and end up in hick-town Missouri.
Psalm 118:5 says, “When I was hard-pressed, I cried out to the Lord; He brought me to a spacious place.” God knows the flesh and when we feel cramped. God knows when homework and studying takes up the majority of our time, and He understands. But, if we ask, He will provide a way for us to stretch and breathe in Him.
When we turn off our electronics, put away the textbooks, and let our mind freely wander, this gives the Holy Spirit a chance to speak into our minds. I know we hear this all of the time, but once we get rid of all distractions, God will most likely speak.
Normally we wouldn’t think of fasting as something to help with stress. For some, just the thought of fasting brings stress. Believe me, I understand. But Romans 8:6 says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” The flesh and its worldly desires will add stress to our lives, but the Holy Spirit brings otherworldly peace.
Sister, is there something distracting you or holding you back from receiving the rest God has for you? Maybe a crush on a boy who doesn’t know you exist? A grade that is lower than an A-? Romantic books and movies that distort our view of romance? Whatever it may be, let it go and let God take over. Make it a habit to not get coffee at your crush’s favorite coffee shop in hope of seeing him. Purposely study for a certain amount of time and for no longer so you learn to let your knowledge of God trump knowledge of anything else. Limit the amount of romance novels and chick flicks you read/watch.
Fasting isn’t always about food. It’s about setting down something you rely on at the foot of the cross in order to rely on God more.
3. Focus on priorities.
At the beginning of this school year, a professor of mine commented that I looked stressed. I thought, “Oh great, I feel chaotic and look chaotic. Wonderful.” I admitted to my professor that I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I needed to get done by the end of the week. He then suggested I write down what I had to do in order of most important to least important.
Let me tell you, it was a breath of fresh air. I realized that a lot of things I was involved in didn’t require the amount of work I was putting in them because they didn’t matter to me or weren’t what God wanted for me. I just wanted to build my resume. Don’t misunderstand me, building your resume is a good thing, but it’s not everything.
Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” When I prayed about what activities God wanted me to do and not do, my schedule became less busy. I realized there was more important things to do with my time like volunteering, spending time in prayer and buying coffee for friends. Not being president of every club on campus.
I encourage you to write out what matters most to you. For me, it’s my relationship with God, my relationships with friends and family, my health, schoolwork and my actual job. If God is truly the reason I wake up in the morning, then I will make time for Him over anything and everyone else. I can practice my devotion for Him by getting rid of distractions and figuring what’s most important.
Sisters, this life is nothing but an inch on our timeline of eternity. Let’s learn to run to God above all else, especially in times of overwhelming stress.
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