Stress: Casting off Fear
May. The month famous for the start of exams.
Not only do exams start but the levels of stress that we feel increase too. Those of you taking exams, whether GCSEs, A Levels or end of year exams will be asked the question ‘are you feeling stressed?’ from probably two people a day. We are made to feel that we should be stressed. It is important however to think, ‘do I actually feel stressed myself or am I feeling stressed because the world is telling me to?’.
The Mental Health Foundation website says ‘stress is not a mental health problem itself. The stress is a survival strategy to keep us safe’. Stress comes from so many different things that we are trying to keep ourselves safe from. I have decided to focus this post on the stress we feel from school and exams, but it is important to remember that stress stems from so many different topics and as individuals we all feel and deal with stress in different ways.
As Christians we have a God who has given us a brilliant perspective on life. Throughout the Bible, God reminds us that we are living for something more than exams and earthly praise. Colossians 3v1-2 says
‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things’.
These verses give us great encouragement that we need not stress and worry about the things of this world because this is not our home. I am sure a lot of you reading this will have been told many times that what we get in our exams does not define our relationship with God, he doesn’t love us any differently. I know that when I got told that it went in one ear and out the other, but it is so important to take it in and understand. We can have a true relationship with someone who sees the worst of us. In those moments that we feel overcome by the pressure of this world and feel that stress has taken control of us, we can cry out to him.
His love for us does not change one bit if we fail all our exams.
The Bible app recommends different Bible verses for different emotions. The first verse for stress is from 1 Peter 5:7,
‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’.
I wanted to pick out 2 things from this verse. The first being the words ‘Cast ALL’ - God is telling us here to come to him in prayer no matter what we are feeling, whether it is stress about an exam or much more than that. God is always there, ready to listen to our prayers whether through floods of tears or gritted teeth as we pour out our hearts to him.
The second thing is, ‘because he cares for you’ we will never be able to grasp just how much God loves us. One thing that we do not need to be stressed or scared about is if God loves us, no matter who we are or what we have done, God loves us so much.
Finally, John writes in John 16:33, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’. We are told here that in Jesus we find peace and even though we will have trouble in the world we get through it because God has overcome the world by sending Jesus to die in our place.
Emily is in year 12 at Sixth Form in Cambridge where she is studying drama A – level and Health and Social Care extended diploma. When she is not doing school work she can be found washing up at the café where she works, watching TV and eating cake! She loves laughing, spending time with friends and the long summer holidays.