Six weeks ago I went to the doctor for the standard sore throat and fever combination. I expected a throat swab and a doctor’s note for the day off of school – maybe two if I was lucky. They did the throat swab, but they also pricked my finger to check for mono and checked my urine to check for diabetes. Why? Well, I had lost six pounds in about a month and the doctors and myself had no idea why. All the tests came back negative (PTL), but that meant I would be back in a few weeks to check in again.
I went back two days ago. I had lost another 6 pounds. A grand total of 12 pounds in two months. They asked me if I was depressed about six times. They asked if I wasn’t eating correctly. They ran blood work and told me they’d be testing for thyroid levels (hormones), liver levels (digestion and nutrition), white blood cell counts (cancers and blood-related diseases) and other not-so-great things. The results came back yesterday, all the tests were negative, which was wonderful – but they also had an idea of what was causing the problems.
The cause was stress. Pure, simple stress.
Now when I thought about stress, I thought it was just a normal, daily thing in a teenager’s life; I didn’t think it was something that caused your body to melt away and your health to deteriorate. It was just something that everyone had and no one talked about very seriously. I honestly didn’t think I was stressed or anxious because the world had tricked me into thinking that constant boa constrictor around my chest was normal; that I should have that nagging worry; but I was wrong.
The newfound awareness of my anxiety has made me realize just how much it held me back. I wasn’t eating and I wasn’t sleeping as much as I should. I wasn’t relaxing and I wasn’t enjoying being social. But the worst thing I realized was that I wasn’t trusting God. I wasn’t trusting Him with my life: my grades, my relationships, how people looked at me, my insecurities and weaknesses. I tried to take control of it all and I kept saying that was okay.
It wasn’t okay. I had a weight on my shoulders. I had knots in my stomach. I had pressure around my chest.
I had a large heart-to-heart with God last night. I knew the bible said, “Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7) and I knew it also said, “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (Matthew 6:34), but I had never considered actually doing those things until yesterday.
Funny enough, my bible app told me to read a verse last night and it was nothing short of a miracle. I read Isaiah 9:4, “…you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.”
God was nudging me. He was saying ‘I can shatter your anxiety, I can take that weight off of your shoulders, I can destroy your stress so that it can’t hold you back anymore.’ So I told Him I’d trust Him and stop worrying. Now sure, there’s still going to be parts of the anxiety that I cling to because the world says I should, but the comfort that there’s a God that can take all of that away is enough to outweigh those tiny worries. It was a small step looking from the outside in, but a huge step feeling it from the inside out because now I have the Alpha and Omega on my side. It’s by no mistake that Isaiah 9:6 says, “..he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…” He is the most wonderful counselor and the governor and creator of peace and He wants to share that amazing counseling and peace with you and me.
I’m not a doctor, but after talking to a few I can tell you that stress is not a recommended weight loss program. There is a weight, however, that we can easily get rid of. That weight is the one resting on our shoulders – stress. The good news? There’s a weight loss program that gets rid of it quickly and easily. What is it? Putting our trust in Jesus Christ.