Every day I fight a monster. He is truly a hideous beast, and he stalks me wherever I go. This particular monster doesn’t live inside my closet—he lives inside my head. And I hate him. I HATE HIM SO MUCH! Everyone has monsters they battle, and my ugly monster just happens to be stress. My mother tells me that if I don’t have something to worry about, I will INVENT something to worry about. That statement worries me. In fact, it stresses me out…
Hmmmm…… (((sigh))) (((rueful, sheepish chuckle)))
Okay, so maybe my mom is right about me. Maybe I worry too much. I know stress isn’t healthy. And truthfully, I can see the effects of stress on my body—especially when it comes to my hair. I have started to turn gray—and not gracefully gray—SILLY gray. Most people get pretty silver highlights as they age—I’ve got a thick patch of white hair smack-dab in the middle of forehead. It looks like a giant bird let loose and pooped on my head. And since I can’t use hair dye—I’m stuck with my bird-poop patch. When I first noticed how weird it looked, I tried to pluck the white hairs with a pair of tweezers. That worked for a while, but I had to stop plucking when I realized I was replacing the bird-poop patch with a bald patch. Trust me, being bald in the middle of your forehead is worse than being gray. I know it’s silly, but every time I walk past a mirror, I look at the bird-poop patch and groan…
(Gracious!!! I think I’ve just discovered another character flaw—I hate to admit it, but I’m vain. I really hate looking silly, and my bird poop patch looks ridiculous…Oh, for Pete’s sake!!! Here I am writing about my tendency to worry, and here I am worrying about my hair…my mother is definitely right about me!!)
Ahem… (((self-conscious clearing of the throat)))
Let me try this again. I have a tendency to worry, and I know that living under constant stress isn’t right. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably sinful. After all, the Bible tells us 365 times to “FEAR NOT,” but I spend practically every day of my life doing the exact opposite of God’s command. If that’s not the definition of sin, I’m not sure what is. God doesn’t want us to live in fear—He wants us to live in faith. I just wish that living in faith wasn’t so BLASTED hard! I heard once that the devil is always trying to counterfeit God, and I’ve been told that worry is the devil’s counterfeit of faith. Faith reassures us that everything is going to be fine. Worry yells loudly in our ear that everything is going to blow up in our face. I’ve come to the conclusion that I spend way too much time playing in the devil’s pond when it comes to worry, and I’ve GOT to cut it out. In fact, that’s going to be one of my New Year’s resolutions.
Having fully resolved to do better in this area, I’ve decided to stop stressing and trust that God’s got my back. Now, some of you can probably relate to my struggle, and if you can, I’m going to share with you some of the “power verses” that I’m going to cling to this year:
To combat my tendency to cross all of my bridges (and paths, and roads, and gates, and…) before I come to them:
Matthew 6:34–Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
To combat my tendency to envision the worst case scenario breathing down my neck:
2 Corinthians 10:4-5–For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
To combat my desire to have everything written down in black-and-white, explained in detail, copied in triplicate, notarized, and safely sealed in my safety deposit box:
2 Corinthians 5:7–For we walk by faith, not by sight.
To combat the idea that feeling stressed is an acceptable way to live and that I can’t overcome my worrying tendencies:
Philippians 4:6—Be careful for nothing [don’t worry]; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
To combat my tendency to lie awake at night stressing over stupid stuff like my “bird-poop-patched” hair and the big stuff too:
Psalm 127:2b—God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.
To combat my tendency to let worry to run in frantic, unchecked circles in my brain:
2 Timothy 1:7—For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
To combat the idea that living a stress-free life is an unreachable goal:
Philippians 4:13—I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Friends, I don’t know what New Year’s resolutions you’ve made, but this is one of mine. I WANT to live a worry-free and stress-free life. I know destressing isn’t something I can accomplish in my own strength, but I do believe that with God’s help I can forge a new pattern of thinking. I hope that you have a truly wonderful day, and I ask that you keep me in prayer as I battle my monster. And whatever monsters you are facing today, I encourage you to search the Scriptures and gather your ammunition. This year, let’s make our resolutions stick. This year, let’s load the big Biblical guns and go monster hunting. Let’s make 2016 the year of MONSTER DEFEAT!!!
(That’s my warrior’s yell, if you were wondering… It sounds FAR more intimidating than it looks on paper. Believe me, if we were in the same room, you’d be shaking in your boots. The worry monster had better watch out! I’m coming for it!)