Confession: I know what a sin is and still do it. All. The. Time.
One of the worst decisions I have ever made (repeatedly) is allowing myself to stress out about things. It takes a toll on me mentally, obviously, but it’s incredible trying to understand how my body can react so strongly to the emotions that aren’t supposed to be connected to it. I lose any ability to sleep, start breaking out like a 14-year-old and bear the weight of the world directly on my back, which leads to a weird semi-hunch. Basically I become a zombie that doesn’t eat flesh but would love a stick in the brain to get put out of its misery. And all of this is because I’m stressing, which is a sin.
I realized that stressing over things was sinful a while ago, but I didn’t pay much attention to the epiphany. I didn’t care. I wasn’t on speaking terms with God. But now that I am I have been trying to walk by faith, and not by sight, so that I can find out what God wants to do with me. It’s been an incredible experience and sadly I messed it up a little because I allowed myself to hit a stress level that could only be classified as code purple. If I chose to go into my reasons for stressing out I’m pretty sure there would be no intervention to save me from myself and my worrying, but I can already see from barely 48 hours of indulging in my sinful nature that it’s not useful or helpful.
Back to my point, stressing out is sinful because when we stress we are usually not caring if God has a good plan; we’re just sure that he forgot all about us and we are going to be on our own, or his plan sucks and ours is going to be a lot better if only we could get some control over the situation at hand. Instead of spending out time with him we spend our time trying to figure things out ourselves because we feel that we are the only ones that care about ourselves. This is a direct contradiction to everything that we say we believe as christians, because when one decides to follow Christ there is supposed to be an understand that Christ loves us so much that he died for us, and now he is using our lives to glorify him. If I stress (which I do) I am not trusting that God will pull through in the clutch, or that he has a plan that is better than mine, implicating that I don’t believe he has a hand in the situation and that I know better than he does.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11
I believe that when it comes to stressing out there is a need to humble oneself in order to make things right with God. My favorite definition of humble that I have found is for using it as a verb, so to humble would mean to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of. Doesn’t that ring so true for what we need to do to ourselves in order to be under God’s mighty hand? We should be destroying the power, independence and prestige of our human nature, our pride, our wicked hearts, casting all of our anxieties on God and believing in his promise to pull through, not just because he’s God and can do it but because he cares about us so much that he wants to help.
In my life that last part has been a real big problem. It’s not that I don’t believe he knows best, it’s always been about not wanting him to love me so much because I’m pretty sure I suck. I’m a christian that loves Jesus and smokes cigarettes, I read the bible and drink to get drunk sometimes, I love people and can insult them at the same time! I’ve spent years being sure that I’m on my own, that if I just turn far enough away all the things I’ve been doing will get back to God and he’ll cut me off and that’ll be that. I can go become a bartender/waitress living in a trailer in some random town in Utah while constantly bringing home and accidentally killing random hamsters in between my unprotected sexy-times with strangers that I bring back from the bar I frequent in order to be drunk at work. Apparently this isn’t the plan God has for me because instead of cutting me off he just pulled out a classic war maneuver, cutting off all my resources and forcing me back to him. I finally got to the point where I can humble myself for him, which I like to refer to as getting over myself, and then get back to my roots by stressing out over things. I think that is because there is nothing quite as scary and amazing as hoofing it down his path instead of blazing a trail of my own, and I need to continue without giving in to the doubts and fears. Simply put, there is a far better payout from doing things his way.