This time in the semester is always stressful. Students have multiple exams and finals, they are emotionally and physically drained, and the stakes are high. In nursing, this is no different. As a teacher, I am also fried…so many things to get done and I feel the pain of the stress that the students are going through.
Today I gave an exam and I looked around at the room with everyone’s stress showing clearly on their faces. It isn’t only nursing that is doing this to them, but life. Stress in life doesn’t stop. Death, disease, fights with loved ones, work, bills, responsibilities, they all attempt to topple us over. It always seems worse when we already feel like we are drowning.
“It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
People do weird things when they are extremely stressed. For some, it is to work harder. Some don’t want to work at all. Others shut down emotionally. Some focus only on things they can control. But for most, when the pressure mounts, perceptions become skewed and emotions rise to the surface.
A few weeks ago, the source of my stress came when I started feeling a little undervalued. I wanted to be a priority in other people’s lives, and I just felt like I wasn’t. It was amazing how quickly I saw that I wasn’t being valued the way I wanted in ALL of my relationships. Every time someone did something I didn’t agree with, my thought process was justified. I was overwhelmed and undervalued. Over the next few weeks, I began to get more angry and more sad as I continued to feel unappreciated. It doesn’t matter if the source of stress is physical or emotional, if left unchecked, it grows, compounds and soon you are looking and waiting for reasons to react.
The fact is, my students are overwhelmed, and there is some truth to my feelings, and you have some source of stress in your life. How do we change it? How do we blow off the stress, be grateful, and feel loved?
Alexander Den Heijer said, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
The answer is to give it to Him.
Give it ALL to Him.
Give it to Him because He gave his life to allow us to give it to Him.
Second Corinthians 10:5 says, “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
I learned from a beloved colleague that when I have a thought or stress that I can’t figure out, place it in my hand and raise my hand while repeating this scripture. Figuratively and literally, give it to Him. You don’t even need to ask if He wants it, just give it.
He paid the price so you could give it all to Him.
We speak of going to church, reading our scriptures, and praying so often that at times it becomes just something to say. The same thing happens to my prayers become when I get in a funk. Repetition can be a wonderful thing and there are times for it, but it also can cause us to lose our passion when our desire and intent becomes skewed.
Maybe you feel you are too busy and can’t read, pray, and go to church…but for me, doing those things has been and is always the answer to fixing my life. Sure, I still have issues with those I love. Yes, I still feel stressed. Sure, I still feel beat down and alone.
But doing those things changes my environment to let me fight another day.
They help me keep trying and looking for answers.
They give me a glimmer of peace that I don’t necessarily recognize, but that peace turns into strength for me.
I have strength to keep asking questions.
Strength to argue and yell and fight to understand.
I have strength to wrestle with God.
”Set peace of mind as your highest goal and organize your life around it.” – Brian Tracy
The environment changes so quietly that often I don’t know that what I am doing is making a difference. To be honest, often times I don’t feel like it is doing much in my day to day life. But as I look back at what I have gone through and what I am going through, I can see moments of a changed perception. I can begin to see that my soil is being changed. And that gives me strength to work again tomorrow.
Don’t give up.
Do the things He asks you to do.
They are how your environment will change.
They are how your life will change.
P.S. Looking for a great Christmas gift for someone who is stressed out? Add my book to your list!