Friday, March 13, 2015

Everyone Hurts

Philippians 4: 6-8

If I'm anything like you, I know that I go through periods in my life - sometimes only lasting for a few minutes, other times lasting for upwards of months - that I feel super down. No matter how great things around me may be going, instead of focusing on those things, I will focus on all of the bad, smaller details that went wrong. At the stage of life that I'm in now, I find myself in these moments when it comes to things related to either finding a job after graduating, trying to manage my grades or making "decent" grades, or when I'm feeling alone. I begin to feel so overwhelmed by everything that I feel that my head is going to explode with all the thoughts that are constantly running through them. Being stressed, as I mentioned awhile ago, can sometimes be good because it can give you that needed push to get things done. However, being overwhelmed - being in distress, is not okay, and can have a toil on us in many ways.

I know that stress and depression has a negative side-effect on me in the way of abnormal body functions. During these times, my digestive and circulatory systems that would normal function right will be pushed to the limit and every once of adrenaline that my body can produced will be depleted. It's pretty nerve-racking because in those moments, all my flesh wants to do is curl up in my bed with my lights turned off and cry. However, I know that there's another option - and indeed there always is another option.

After I've cried a little, I'm reminded of a scripture that I learned growing up. Philippians 4:6 states:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (NKJV). Something that I've learned from this scripture and also from an older woman more mature than I am is some steps that you can take in those stressful and depressing moments to reaffirm and remind one's self of the nature of God.

  1. Stop worrying! - Worrying only does one thing for you: causes you to worry even more! I read one study not too long ago that crying can actually magnify the anxiety one may be presently feeling. It has a lot to do with hormone imbalances within the body (Barth et al 2015). One thing to do is to stop what you're doing at that time and breath in and out repeatedly.
  2. Pray - Who else is better to talk to during these times than the One who created you, the One who knows your ins and outs and knows all about what you're going through. Yes, it's good to talk to someone close to you like a best friend, husband/wife, or parent, but God knows all things and wants to hear from you. He cares about us, not just spiritually as far as salvation concerns, but is concerned about our mental and emotional well-being. 
  3. Read and Meditate on God's Word - Remind yourself of the promises God has made throughout His word. God is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). What He says, He will do, but it may not be in the way we may like it to be or the timing that we would prefer. We have comfort in knowing that we can call upon the name of the Most High God and He will deliver us and be with us in our times of weakness. Our God is merciful (Psalm 116: 4-5).
  4. Thanksgiving - Thank God for all that He has done and will do. Find peace in knowing that God is never-changing, has welcomed us in a relationship with Him, and respond in songs of praise and thanksgiving.
I admit that I am doubtful, fearful and anxious at times, at it hurts both physically and spiritually, but mediating on heavenly things - whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report - will allow us to turn our focus off of our insecurities and failures and press towards fulfilling the call of God on our lives.
Reflection:
  1. What lately has caused you to become stressed, depressed or afraid? How have you been dealing with it on your own?
  2. How can you allow God to work through your circumstances to give Him the glory and take your focus of the insecurities you may be facing?
References
Barth, C., Villringer, A., & Sacher, J. (2015). Sex hormones affect neurotransmitters and shape the adult female brain during hormonal transition periods. Frontliers in Neurocience, 9(37), 1-20.