No. I don’t, actually. But if you took a look at some of my decisions you might think I like to be stressed. I mean, seriously, why else would I say yes to some of the things I commit to? Why can’t I say no to things that really should be a “no” in my life? Well…I wish it were that cut and dried. Or maybe it is, and I’m just trying to justify it.
Does any of that sound familiar? If not for you, it certainly is for your students. In fact, I think those of us who feel stressed have something in common: we are not alone. Most everyone I know deals with some level of stress in their lives that seems to be too much to handle at times. It makes us react in ways we later regret. It shapes decisions we make and dictates outcomes for matters that should be completely and totally stress free.
I talked about this with high school students this past Wednesday night. I shared with them that sometimes we don’t “look” like people filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, or self control. And I shared a stressful story with them from the gospel of Mark. Verses 35-41 of the fourth chapter report the time that the disciples were on a boat with Jesus. They were stressed to high heaven because of a storm that came up. Waves were rocking the boat and even spilling into the boat threatening, or so they thought, their safety.
When they go to look for Jesus, they find Him asleep at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion…not a care in the world - again…so they thought. He tells the sea and the wind to take a chill pill - and they do. Then He looks at the disciples and asks them if they still do not have faith in Him.
You may be in a spot right now where you need the Lord to speak some calming tones into your life. Some of the stress in your life may be out of your control. Other stressors in your life could be of your own doing. Take comfort that Christ is well aware of all of them and is able to speak a peace into them that we can’t understand. He is just as much in control when you feel stressed as He is when you feel no stress at all in your life.
Take a minute or two this week to have a conversation about stress with your students. Ask them what it is that stresses them out. Then share a little bit about your own stress factors. Read that passage from Mark’s gospel and talk about how Jesus feels and desires to speak into those areas of your lives. Personally, I could stand Him to take a look at the wind and waves around me and say, “Peace. Be still.” Let Him speak it to you this week.