All Stressed Out
I think you know who I am. In fact, you and I are good friends. I'm your old pal, stress.
Yeah, you can ignore me for a while, but you know I'll be back, waiting to take over your life again. As long as you have plans to make, work to do, people to please, I will be there. And just when you think you've got me licked and can finally lay down your head to sleep, I'll creep up on you and invade your brain.
We go way back, you and me. I'm the one who wakes you up in a panic when you've forgotten about your math quiz. I'm the one who makes you look at your teachers with disbelief when they add more homework to your load. I'm the one who gnaws at your gut when you realize you only have two days left to finish a research paper. I'm the one who reminds you that this game, this concert, this performance is the one that could make or break your future.
I'm the one who shortens your temper and makes you snap at your friends. I'm the one who convinces you your parents are trying to drive you crazy. I'm the one who wants you to believe there isn't room in your life for fun and games.
And as you think about your future, I can convince you you'll never amount to anything unless you try harder. I can make you feel like an incompetent failure for all the things you've left undone. I can make sure you miss out on good times because you have too much to do. I can teach you that saying no to one more commitment will look bad on your college applications. I can remind you that you'll never make it out of high school without an ulcer.
I can make your palms sweat, your stomach churn, your head spin. I can make you forget where you put your car keys. I can make you yell at your sister. I can make you kick your dog.
Oh, you can try to get rid of me in 101 ways. You can try to ignore me and hope I'll just disappear. You can deny I exist and fool people into thinking you've got your act together. But I'll always be waiting for you around the next bend.
You see, I live in that annoying little part of your head that wants you to think you have to be all things to all people. It's the same part that makes you think life is about impressing people and meeting expectations and being a "success." And when you start thinking about all that, I come rushing in to do my thing.
Even though we spend so much time together, I know you're afraid of me. But the truth is, I have a few fears of my own. I fear you'll discover the secret that can lock me away for good. I fear you'll find love and joy and peace and patience. I fear you'll find out that you and I don't have to know each other so well, that you'll discover how pleasant life can be when you give your worries to God.
An allegory by Carla Barnhill
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