Since April 30, 2018, my only job has been as a delivery driver for the apps UberEats and Doordash. This has been great, because I’ve been able to work whenever I want and get paid whenever I want. Three weeks ago, I started a new job. That new job will be paying me nearly five dollars more an hour than I average as a delivery driver, but it will only be paying me once every two weeks. For the first pay period, I have to wait four weeks to get paid. That’s not good for someone who has been behind on bills and now doesn’t have time to work all day for a job that pays immediately if need be. Needless to say, on top of the endless stress I’ve been feeling essentially nonstop for the past two years (some from my own doing and some not), I’ve been feeling even more stress. I’m already behind on bills and now it seems like I won’t ever be able to catch up because of this waiting period until I get paid. In between the moments of unbearable stress I’ve been feeling the past two years, God has really been showing, or at least trying to show me (I don’t always listen very well), how to handle stress in a healthy way. But more than that, He’s been asking me to trust Him. That’s hard. I’m a person who likes to know things. I like to know the when, where, and how of everything in my life. I haven’t done much knowing in the past two years. Everything’s kind of just been a constant progression of “I know something you don’t know” in terms of the when, where, and how of things happening. Today, God quickly reminded me of the ways in which I can combat against stress.
- Be Real with God– In the past couple of days, a few relatively minor issues have arisen and I’ve been really annoyed with God about them. They’ve been things completely out of my or anyone else’s control. I’ve been trying so hard to stay positive and believe that the Lord will provide for my every need. But, as I said, my stress plate has been overloaded lately, so every small issue threatens to topple it over. In those moments, I can feel myself reaching my breaking point, so I cry out to God in frustration. He’s okay with that. I think He even wants it. Most of the time, I’m usually crying something like, “God, why are you allowing this to happen? I’m trying so hard to be positive and get back on track, but every time I’m almost there, there’s a setback and I can’t handle it.” I think it’s healthy to cry out in frustration to the Lord. I think He even wants us to. If we can’t cry out to Him, then who can we cry out to? We just have to remember where the line of respect is and remember to, with His help, reign it in after a little while.
- Be Grateful. Normally, about halfway through my frustrated crying, God reminds me of His blessings in my life. At first, I push back in frustration and He gives me time to get over my frustration. Then, He’s kind of like, “Okay, Brittany. You’ve had your time to express your frustration. I’m okay with that, but now it’s time to focus on the positive.” So, I reluctantly release my frustrations to Him and let Him remind me of all the things and people I have to be grateful for. In that moment, after surrendering my frustration and claiming my blessings, I feel so much better than I did in the fear-driven frustrations of before. Today, for example, He let me complain to Him and then He reminded me of something I hadn’t quite realized yet. I get paid this Friday. Then, I’ll have a week off from my new job for Thanksgiving break and will be able to make deliveries all day, every day for a week. This will be convenient because that’s the week all my bills will be due and I’ll be a little short with my coming paycheck. He also reminded me that Black Friday will probably be an exceptionally busy day as people will be shopping all day and won’t want to leave their shopping to eat, so I’ll be able to go to them. And, of course, He reminded me of my Ebenezer Stones. Those are the ways He’s provided me every time I’ve needed Him to in the past. He has always been faithful and He always will be.
- Be humble. Fear, at least for me, almost always accompanies a need. Most often, I’m afraid when I think a need won’t be met. In those moments, I have to be humble. I not only have to be willing to humble myself before the Lord in prayer by asking for His provision. I also may have to humble myself and ask others for help. Sometimes, that may be as simple as asking them to pray for me. Other times, that may be asking them for tangible help. Will you take care of me when I have my wisdom teeth removed or when I sprain my ankle? Will you help me fix the A/C in my car? Will you help me move all my things from my old living place to my new living place? Or even, will you lend me some money for gas? Right now, that’s the hardest thing for me to ask because I’m the main reason I’m in a financial bind.
- Be in community. I like to be alone more than I like to be with people, but there are people I will more readily sacrifice my alone time for than others. Those are the people who fill me when I’m in dire need of a spiritual recharge. More times than not, that spiritual recharge is needed when I’ve been living in or fighting off fear for one reason or another. In the past several months, fear has been telling me that I need to spend every waking moment working so I can pay my bills. God has been telling me to rest, not only by myself, but most importantly with His people. The past two months, I’ve been in the tightest of financial binds I’ve ever been in. It seems logical that I should spend every waking moment working until I get out of this bind. It’s not practical though. When I found myself in a dark abyss of depression in high school, it was because I was burning myself out trying to climb out of what felt like binds at the time. When I finally came out of that abyss, it was because of fellowship. Now, I have to continue to remember that. I may not be able to say yes to every social event, but when it’s a spiritual social gathering or a one on one spiritual gathering, those are the times when I know I have to say yes. These past three weeks as I’ve been waiting for a paycheck, I’ve been more stressed than I think I’ve been in a long time. Logic says I should be making deliveries whenever I’m not at my nine to five job. Practicality and health say that’s foolish. So, last weekend I spent 36 hours with my best friend at a women’s event. Then, after church the next day, I went to lunch with another friend and had dinner with my family. Today, a week later, I spent about an hour and a half after church with another friend and then had dinner with my family again. These were prime money-making hours, but that doesn’t matter if I’m spiritually burnt out. So, even though it pained me, in the beginning, to do so, I took time off and I fellowshipped. By the end of each social event, I felt recharged and ready to take on the world. If I hadn’t spent time with these darling friends of mine, then I can guarantee you I’d be writing a different post right now.
These are only four simple steps to take when overcoming fear and they pretty much encompass any other step you may need to take, but they’re not easy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Fear doesn’t want to hear our honesty. Fear is a thief of gratitude. And fear, at it’s core, is selfish. Fear is also often accompanied by misery and misery only loves company when the company is also miserable. When the company saps up your fear and gives you peace, misery wants nothing to do with it. So, next time you’re feeling afraid, try these steps. Be real with God. Be grateful. Be humble. And be in fellowship.