I had car trouble last week. My engine would just randomly overheat. I’d look down at the temperature gauge and watch it creep up from the C to the H. Eventually, the needle would redline, and the car would stall.
Sound familiar? Welcome to 2020. Apparently, things are getting hot here in America. I write these words on the eve of our 2020 election. It feels like all year things have been swinging hot, and perhaps tomorrow we bury the needle, seizing up, and shutting the whole thing down…
At least, that’s what many Americans think, according to a poll that came out yesterday. Here’s how kabc.com reported this:
Wow. Seriously? I mean, I get feeling some anxiety, but the most stressful day of your life?
More stressful than the day you were born? Or the day your mother or brother or daughter died? Or the day you took the bar exam? Or your first day at boot camp? Or the day you slept through your job interview? Or the day you ended your long term relationship?
More stressful than the day you hit bottom? The day your bills all came due, but your paycheck didn’t come? The day you committed a sin and were afraid you’d get caught? The day everyone was counting on you? The day you finally had it out with a family member?
More stressful than the day you realized just how far you had drifted from God? The day you found out you had cancer? The day you were the only one who took your side? The day you realized you had a drinking problem?
I would like to say, to you and to myself, take a deep breath. Regain some perspective. Do something nice for yourself. Get some good sleep. Do all the things you’ve learned to keep your stress and anxiety at bay. You made your way through all those days. You’ll make your way through this.
Listen to Paul. He says, “Don’t be anxious. Present your requests, with thanksgiving, to God. ”
We tend to focus on the word “requests”, as if the point of this verse is to ask for what we want: “Please let my candidate win” “Please defeat my enemies” “Please, God, just let things go my way!” Hey, I understand making requests like that, but more important in this passage is how you do it: With thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be an antidote to stress and anxiety. If we can remember what we’re thankful for, our stress will become more manageable.
I made a quick list of some things I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful for being part of a church with all kinds of people in it. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for democracy. I’m thankful for a car dealership a block away from my house.
Did the $400 price tag on my car repair stress me out a bit? Absolutely.
But here we are a couple days later, and things have cooled down significantly.
Have a great week,