by Jennifer Stephens

Staring at the blank screen. Immovable fingers hovering over the keyboard. Jumbled thoughts spinning like a hurricane in my mind. The article is due, but I’m stuck. Trapped in a storm of mental and emotional chaos – unable to string letters into words into sentences. My thoughts cast on the ground like a pile of twisted debris.


I’d planned to write a November article about thankfulness. But the words won’t come.


Except for one. And it has nothing to do with being thankful.




I am one hundred percent categorically overwhelmed. Overcome with emotion because it’s all just TOO MUCH. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty. It’s basically the typical work/life combo of stress we all feel from time to time. And my time is now. Lost in a murky fog of endless information, expectations, and overlooked emails. Scolded. A recovering perfectionist pulled in so many different directions it feels like I might shatter. Racing thoughts lead to sleepless nights that grow into irritable afternoons.

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I know what I’m supposed to do when the greedy stress monster looms nearby. But I don’t. At least not right away. Instead I cry. Complain. I’m held captive by emotions. Resentful. Bitter. I forget what I’m supposed to do – what God yearns for me to do. And if I’m not careful, I’ll end up riding the relentless Ferris wheel of negativity. Be careful – if you get too close, I might drag you along for a spin on this perpetual circle of doom.


Jesus shows us what to do in Matthew 26:38 when, “Jesus said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.” The night before he went to the cross, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Facing unimaginable stress, He got away. And He prayed. But He didn’t go alone, He gathered His friends with Him.


Jesus models for all of us exactly what to do before it all becomes too much. Get away. Pray. And get together. He handled the pressure with peace. I want to be like that. I want to handle whatever storms life throws my way with grace. With thanksgiving.


“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15


This column is called “Life Right Now” and, well, life right now is…overwhelming. So I’m going to get away. Pray. And then I’ll get together with friends and family. Just like Jesus. And for His example I am eternally thankful.