Tips to beat stress
When our list of bills and to-do’s seem greater than the money we make and hours in the day, stress can creep in.
I admit that I often think about how to make ends meet. Sometimes I worry despite my husband Elijah’s assurances that we have plenty of savings as a safety cushion. If you have been following our story, you know that we resigned from our jobs, sold our condo, and moved into a used RV in June of 2019. Our plan is to journey across America in search of a small town where we can put down roots, buy a home, and adopt foster children.
Before we began our adventure, Elijah evaluated our money before deciding that we could afford to proceed. He assured me we are financially secure. Though I know this in my head, at times I still get stressed when I don’t have enough time to work on my portfolio or apply for writing jobs.
One evening, after a promising writing lead had led to nowhere, Elijah could see the worry in my mind, so he suggested one of my favorite activities, a walk (which is fortunately free!). We had parked our RV in the beautiful Anza Borrego State Park in Southern California. We walked, hand-in-hand, through the golden hills, admiring the pops of color from the little yellow buds that were springing up for summer. I breathed in deeply, enjoying the sweet scent of the wildflowers. “Look at how the setting sun is lighting up that mountain,” Elijah pointed out. I turned my gaze to the gorgeous pink sunset pillar.
I came back to our RV refreshed and energized from our romantic walk enjoying God’s beauty. To think I had almost missed out on it because I was wrapped up in stress about finding a job. That’s when I knew I had to change my attitude, and fast.
Adam’s Rib Podcast
I tuned in Adam’s Rib podcast. The homepage describes Adam's Rib as a podcast to “uplift, encourage, and guide women in being what God has created them to be.”
I listened to an episode, hosted by Lindsey and Jessica, on stress management. The hosts were candid in disclosing some of the not so healthy ways they had dealt with stress in the past, such as turning to alcohol. I appreciated their honesty because as a Christian, sometimes I feel the pressure to be “perfect.” I worry that if I make mistakes, others will judge me and think I’m a “bad Christian.” But hearing these women admit some of their less healthy past habits made me realize that I’m not alone in the mistakes I’ve made. After all, that is why I have Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior, who forgives me no matter what I have done.
In the podcast, the hosts reminded me that God has made so many great promises to me in the Bible. They encouraged me to start visualizing the promises coming true. They questioned why I would spend my energy and time on what is stressing me out when I have all these amazing things that God wants to do in my life to look forward to.
For the kids
The hosts explained that getting rid of stress requires me to shift my energy to what I give my attention to, remarking, “If I shift my attention to the good things I know I’ll be able to give to my daughters, then I don’t have time to worry about the bad stuff.” This quote motivated me because I want to be able to give my love and attention to my future adopted children. I want my and Elijah’s children to see me as a living example of the joy of Jesus. I am convinced that I need to start working on the way I handle stress now, so that way when we do adopt children, I will have healthy ways to manage stress and be a good role model.
This is especially true because when we adopt our children, I don’t know if they will already be followers of Jesus or not. Therefore it is even more essential that I deal with my stress and worry now so I can be a good example for them.
I turned to the two greatest treasures God has given me: the Bible and my husband. “I need a verse,”I told Elijah. “I know I should keep applying to writing jobs and pursuing writing leads. But somehow I’ve let the stress take the fun out of writing. Do you have a verse for me?”
After dinner in our RV, we watched the sky darken over the vineyards where we had parked for that evening. “I have your verse,” Elijah told me. He read:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
-1 Peter 5:6-7
“God cares for you,” Elijah told me. “You’re going to be fine.” He paused. “I care for you,” he continued. “You know that I looked at our finances already. I already told you you don’t need to get a job right away. You need to trust me, too.”
A flood of relief washed over me, as well as determination to start trusting.
That evening, I once again reflected on the Adam’s Ribs podcast I had listened to.
“Some people stress because they don’t trust God to provide the basic necessities of life,” the hosts commented. “They worry about providing for loved ones.”
I realized I had been relying on my own power and my own efforts, thinking that if could fill out just one more application, push myself a little further, then I would get that perfect writing job which would pay all the bills, when, in reality, I need to loosen my control.
I still need to work hard and turn in applications and writing samples, but I will worry less about the outcome. I will do my part, and let God do His part. I reflect on the verse that Elijah shared with me:
Humble yourselves ...so that he may exalt you in due time.
When it is time, God will exalt me. God will choose my job. I will work as hard as I can, but I need to stay humble and realize that I can only do so much on my own power.
I also need to remember that Elijah, as a former financial planner, thoroughly evaluated our finances before we embarked on our adventure. Elijah is my husband and the head of our household. I need to trust his decisions and wisdom.
The hosts of the podcast emphasized that believing in God isn’t going to take away all troubles. “But without God, dealing with stress is an impossible task.”
Elijah and I had parked our RV in the vineyards at Hatfield Creek Winery in Southern California, a place we had found through our Harvest Hosts app, which matches travelers in their RVs with local places to stay. I decided it was time to leave stress behind. Elijah and I headed into the quaint tasting room, where we met some friendly locals who shared their favorite hiking spots.
On the sun-soaked terrace of the vineyard, laughing with our new friends, the comforting words that Elijah had read me from 1 Peter in my mind, it was easy to forget my cares. I didn’t worry about applying for jobs or my next writing lead. I obeyed the words of the Bible and cast my anxiety on the Creator of the universe, the one who cares for me and will exalt me with the right job when He deems the time is right.
I pictured the hosts of Adam’s Rib alongside me, cheering me on for praising God and defeating stress!