September 6, 2017
By Amanda Conner

Alright, so we all need to come to the hard reality that summer has ended. What does that mean for us now? For some of us, it means one simple, heart-clenching word: Anxiety. In fact, some of us experience anxiety from simply reading this word! With summer “officially” over after Labor Day, I’m going to guess that everyone has either started school or gotten that stressful work assignment you would rather not do. Lots of people are very stressed out right now, feeling bogged down with the weight of adulting and responsibility. When we are in this time of super-stress mode, how do we react and who do we turn to for help?

Speaking from experience, I gotta admit, when I’m in “crack-down mode,” I’m not the person you want to be around. I’m shifting moods from super hyena hyper, to don’t touch me if you still want your hand, to how much do I really care about anything anyway? Like how important can this assignment be really?! I’m out of control, going all over the place, AND NOT ACTUALLY DOING THE THING I’M STRESSED ABOUT! So how do I fix that? Well, I have learned that the number one thing I need to work on in times of stress, is not time management, but keeping my focus on God.

Philippians 4:6-7 is a good place to start. Paul, the author of this book in the Bible, reminds us of God’s presence by saying, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

So, how do we deal with stress in our lives? Our man, Paul, has got the solution right there for us! Give it to God. That sounds very cliché, but it really is the simple answer. Bring your problem, whether it be big or small, to God, and ask for His help in the situation. He is literally always there, completely ready to help guide us.

Maybe you are reading this, and thinking to yourself, “That sounds great, but I don’t know how to pray.” Let me let you in on a little secret: There isn’t some magical formula to prayer. Just talk to God about your issue. But if you are still uncomfortable, ask Pastor John or Kelley to pray with you, or perhaps another person who walks firmly in the faith. You don’t need to spill your guts if you don’t want to, just ask for someone to pray for your unspoken prayer request.

Anxiety seriously is one of those things that is hard to deal with, especially in that moment when you feel like the world is crashing down on you. So, talk to God and ask for guidance in the storm. Read your Bible. Through God’s Word, you may find the answer you are looking for. And here’s another tip: If you read a passage and nothing pops out at you, re-read it a few times and ask God for clarity. Or chose another passage. Just don’t give up! Anxiety is something that can completely disorient you and make you feel lost at sea. But keep your eyes on God, and you will be led to the shore at some point. So, in the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming…”