Stress-busting with God at the wheel
By Jessica Brodie
A recent text exchange between my sister and me went like this:
- Morning! How are you?
- Exhausted. You?
- Completely exhausted.
If only that were an isolated instance. I haven’t counted, but I imagine being tired and overworked is a common theme of half our sisterly check-ins. That goes for my friends, too. Rarely do I get a “great” when I ask someone how she’s doing. I’m more likely to get a “running like crazy” or “hanging in there.”
Like a lot of women, my sister and I work full-time in careers that are as much our ministry passion and calling from God as they are ways to pay our bills (she’s an inner-city school counselor, and I’m a writer and run a Christian newspaper). But the demands of life and the myriad hats we wear take a toll.
I know I’m not alone. My sister feels it. So do countless female friends—that constant strain of being a mom, a wife, a working professional, a child of God. That pressure to keep all the balls in the air even as we simultaneously learn to juggle.
I have one friend who described it this way: “Lately I feel ragged and worn, like I’m hanging on by a thread that one strong gust of wind could snap.” And it’s not just women. Even my guy friends say it.
We’re all exhausted, but it’s a stress-induced, personal-pressure kind of exhaustion. So, so tricky.
For a while I admit I thought the solution had to do with organization and time management. But no amount of to-do lists or apps or family plans sufficed. Then I decided I wasn’t eating clean enough or getting enough exercise. That wasn’t it, either. For the last month or so, I was convinced all this stress was caused by inadequate sleep, so I set out to get at least eight hours of shuteye a night.
But I know the real truth: There’s no solution I can come up with that will ever work. Only one thing can cure emotional, mental, and spiritual exhaustion: Jesus.
I don’t mean just knowing Jesus and following Jesus and acknowledging Jesus as savior.
I mean allowing ourselves to be led by Jesus. In every way.
God knows what we go through. He’s not just some distant figure sitting up there on a cloud. He’s our heavenly father! And He gave us words of wisdom through His prophet Isaiah on exactly this:
“The Lord your redeemer, the holy one of Israel, proclaims: I am the Lord your God who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. If you would pay attention to my commands, your well-being would be like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your offspring would be like the sand, and your descendants like its grains. Their name would never be eliminated, never wiped out from before me (Isaiah 48:17-19).”
God has been leading us since the beginning. Throughout Scripture He tells us He’s our Lord, and all we need to do is listen to Him and He will steer us right.
Perhaps we’re exhausted because deep down we think we should be steering, not Him.
Today, I’m stepping away from the wheel and letting God steer my ship. I can’t do this on my own, and God never wanted me to, anyway.
Will you join me?