What to Do When You’re Stressed Out

I want to be perfect so that people will like me.

That is the thought that came to my mind when one of my favorite Instagrammers posted the following photo:

The chapter of your life that you keep editing out is meant to be the headline of your success story. Stoop pretending. LIVE YOUR TRUTH.

I thought of how “transparent”  I try to be on here, and on social media.  I thought I had pretty much aired out any dirty laundry and kicked out any skeletons.  Then here she comes, and she tells me to stop editing.

“I have no outtakes, ” I redirect my conversation to the Big Man upstairs.  “There is nothing left to see.”

He rolls His eyes, “Really, Brittany? Really?”

So I rack my brain, and I come up with with a few scenarios, but I cannot see how they are even worth a mention.

“Dig deeper,” He continues. “What is your why?”

And slowly but surely, I understood.

“I just want them to like me,”  I tell Him in a voice barely above a whisper.

He nods and He smiles, and He hugs me.  “It’s ok, Brittany.  It’s okay.  It’s completely ok.”

Ace Hotel New Orleans
Ace Hotel New Orleans

***

I am experiencing what I will assume is migraines for the first time ever in my life. For the past two nights, I came home and my head hurt so badly that all I wanted to do was lay in my bed and call it a night after the kids’ homework.

I have been questioning myself, “Why in the world have I been so stressed lately?”

Yes, work has been a little more hectic than usual, but my students are pretty much the same. Some days they want to learn. Others days they do not. We are operating under new standards with a new curriculum and new “management” who has a little less classroom experience and a little more theoretical book sense which creates a bit of an issue. But I am stressed out about more than my classroom, my school, or any set of curriculum/standards.

Home is more of the same. The kids are growing. They want me to read to them and play with them. They have homework, princess dresses, and superhero costumes. I never feel like the moments I spend with them last long enough before I have to move on to the next task.  Mom-guilt is definitely a thing. But I am stressed out about more than my mom-life. I have embraced the power of undone.

So I continue to try to find the underlying cause of these migraines. I try figure out what to do about me being stressed out, when He stops me, “Nailed it!”

Me: *Confused face*

Him: “You got it!”

I oblige His usual antics with the natural question, “What exactly have I got?”

“You have figured out what to do to stop being so stressed out!!!!  You must STOP trying to figure it out.  That, my dear, is my job.”

I think back to my parent teacher conference.  As I waltz in the door of the building 5 minutes after my meeting time had ended.  I wait on a bench with an embarrassed demeanor in hopes of a reschedule with the teacher of the child who finds that staying on green is quite challenging…the same teacher I yelled at last year the day life handed me lemons.  (Talk about Karma.)  She, of course, squeezes me in as another mom insists that I go ahead of her.  I sit in the chair, and she touches my hand and tells me, “It’s ok.  You’re doing fine.”  It was like she was reading my mind, and it took all I had not to burst into tears on the spot.

You see, I have these gaping holes that plague me.  I have areas of my life, when the world was not so kind to me, and I did not heal properly.  The more I try to edit them out, the more they refuse to be silenced so I try to fix it.  I try to fix myself, because if I could just fix myself then maybe I could have avoided some of my past relationship(s).  Maybe I would not have been angry at my sister when she died.  Maybe the last thing she would remember about me was that I loved her.  If I can just figure out how to get more organized, maybe I can get out of the house on time in the morning.  Maybe my husband can stop pulling the kid’s uniforms out of the larger than life pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded.  If I can block my time, then maybe I will not run out of energy and need to crash every few days after cramming so much in.  Maybe I will not need to recover so much from overdoing it.

If I can just be pretty enough, and smart enough, and charming enough, and perfect enough, then maybe people will not note the fact that I am completely flawed.  If I can get enough likes on a picture, followers on a blog…If I can create enough Pinterest perfect photos and spaces…then maybe people can overlook my deep-rooted insecurity.

Mother Son Photo | Managing Stress | What to do when stressed out | stress relief | Inspiration | Faith

Maybe they will see past it.  Maybe they will not notice that I am still wrestling with the same demons.

Sometimes I win.  Sometimes I do not. And when I do not, I edit the demons out.  Every. Single. Time.

The truth, the real truth, the ugly truth…I am in love with my demons.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

***

My demons leave me stressed out.  Every time I politely (or even impolitely) escort them out, they just wait outside in hopes that I will ask them to come back in.  I live my life and carry on, and when my guard is down, they knock on the door.  Sometimes they look different.  Other times, they did not even bother to disguise themselves.  Either way, I let them in.  I think that maybe they are not as bad as I remember. I think I can handle it.

I am wrong every time.

So I am stressed at things that should stress me like work, and raising kids, and running a ministry, and walking the path that God designed.  I am stressed because I am not healing properly from situations handed to me that were outside of my control.  But mostly I am stressed from holding all of it together well after I should have let it all go.

And I hear God telling me with that same voice of calm and patience as my son’s Kindergarten teacher, “It’s ok.  You’re doing fine.”

Even though I am not fine.  I am not perfect, and people will not like me once they see my demons and my scars.  What if all I have to offer is myself?

God holds out his hand, and I give Him all of it.  I give him my demons, my scars, and my open wounds.  I give him my insecurity, my kids, my household, my marriage, my job, my husband’s job, my hair, my finances, my family, my blog, my Facebook, my Instagram, my friendships, my ex-friendships.  I give Him all of my chaos…all of it…again.

At that moment it all comes together.  I finally understand what to do to stop being stressed out, which I will now share with you.

  1.  Let go of what you CANNOT control.
  2.  Let go of what you CAN control.
  3. Let God do His job.

***

What do you do to stop being stressed out?

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What to Do When You’re Stressed Out

Linked at Heart Encouragement

28 thoughts on “What to Do When You’re Stressed Out

Add yours

  1. Oh man, I have just recently discovered that even though I just handed an issue over to God yesterday, I need to hand it over to Him again….and again….and again! (but didn’t I already do that?) I guess I have a hard time realizing when I start to take back over. I have really been working on the whole, let go and let God thing this year. Some days I make progress, some days I backtrack. Hand it over to God, and then hand it over again, and again, and again. This post read my mind 🙂 God Bless!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It is time to let go of it all – especially the numbers and the followers for blog posts and Instagram. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I think the last thing we will care about when we are old and gray is all those “nameless” people who clicked like on a post. It won’t be about the quantity but the quality of it all and maybe we won’t touch millions, thousands, or even hundreds, but if we even touched one, then that’s what matters. And this is coming from someone laying awake at night stressing about all these things because I know that with their increases I might could get more work and with that I might could help support my family better, but then I remember – this makes me rely on ME and not on GOD. in other words, I’m praying for us both in this journey!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know exactly what you mean. What I know and what I do don’t always match though. I am slowly learning how to let it go. I know I should, but it’s a matter of me putting things into place to make sure I don’t pick up old habits. Thanks for the prayers. I’m praying for both of us too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like stress is a constant part of our lives, even when we think we are not stressed. It’s really about how you manage your stress that makes the difference. Taking a moment to breathe and remember God and your ultimate focus in life are the epitome to managing stress. The worst is when you allow your stress to derail into a further tailspin of negativity. That’s why it’s best to sort of go off the grid for a bit when you’re dealing with something particularly challenging to allow yourself time to really focus on the difficulty and overcoming it before assimilating yourself back into mainstream society so to speak. Of course, to each their own. Everyone has their own way of handling it and you summed it well by reiterating that you really have to let go of what you have no control over and only focus on what you do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So very true and insightful, Brittany! I’m certain this is a word from God because it cuts through the insecurities and posturings that we all try to do. Thank you for this beautiful and vulnerable message my friend! I’ll be pinning! And praying for those nasty migraines to fade away!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Amen! Love, love, love! Great writing as always! 🙂
    Yup, you’re so right! Let go and let God! We need to stop leaning on our own understanding that is not big enough to actually understand, and lean on Him instead, who understands perfectly and is able to do what needs to be done in us and in others. I picture leaning on my own understanding as leaning on a weathered fence post that is anchored shallowly in mud. I barely put any weight on it, and FLOP! Down in the mud I fall. But leaning on God I see as leaning on a huge rock, like the huge granite boulders at Elephant Rocks State Park. I lean on the Rock, and I am stable and safe. I can rest in the sunshine of His love!
    I hope your migraines will get better soon. Get some rest while you’re letting God do the work that belongs to Him. He gives us the strength for everything that HE calls us to do in a given day. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a good post and probably many of us will identify with the same types of things. “But mostly I am stressed from holding all of it together well after I should have let it all go.” This really spoke to me, because I think that’s what a lot of my stress comes from. Oh, yes, when we give it all to God, peace comes even though everything isn’t “fixed” yet. But I sometimes try to take things back, I think, and I have to remember that God’s got it. I don’t have to keep worrying about it.
    Blessings to you! Thanks for sharing such wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

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