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Handling Stress

By Haley Morton, age 15 and Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Question

How do you deal with stressful situations when you don't feel good enough to overcome them?

Answer

Through my own experience, I understand that sometimes stress makes people feel alone and empty-handed. Each day teens across the world are faced with challenges and obstacles that test their absolute tenacity and strength. The situations at hand can come across as unbearable and may seem to possess the power to rid us of our senses and make our lives take a turn for the worse.

But I have found that experiences with pressures such as these can lead to silver linings with beneficial growth. When we are consumed by stressful situations, one of the first steps we can take to overcome stress is to look to people of the past. When we do, we are comforted by the knowledge that we're not alone. The Bible is a perfect record of real people making real decisions. Most importantly, they are handling stress by making decisions with God.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is an excellent model to follow in cases of stress or challenges. She was a young teenage girl and a student of God when she was given the assignment of mothering a child who was dubbed "The Messiah." She was young; she was a virgin; and though she was engaged to Joseph, she wasn't married yet. So being pregnant could put her reputation in a vulnerable situation.

We can also assume that this situation could put her under tremendous strain. But, she made a conscious decision to trust God. As a result, God took care of Mary all the way. The angels told Joseph, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matt 1:20). And Joseph took care of her, married her, and took care of Jesus.

Though our problems may not be as extreme as giving birth to the Messiah, we can still learn from Mary. As teenagers, we can relate to Mary in age. Mary's experience shows that when we trust in God, we are taken care of no matter what controversy is involved.

Each term of the school year during my freshman year in high school, I had to complete an honors project for my English class. The topic of study could be anything I wished. I always picked topics that I was greatly interested in, so I had fun studying and learning. As the term ended, I felt as though I didn't have enough of my project done, and I started to get worried and stressed that I wasn't going to be able to complete it to the best of my ability. With all the pressure, I decided to put my worry aside and just trust that I could not be given anything that I couldn't handle. As I held onto this thought, my work became easier, and my thoughts settled into one line of thinking.

From time to time, students are given large assignments for school and feel as though they are not good enough to achieve a level of excellence. It's helpful to remember that nothing given to students is meant to lead them to failure but instead to positive challenges.

Looking to wisdom of the past helps us to establish wisdom of our own. More importantly, when we are patient and seek the answers from God, we will successfully find the answers that will lead us to the next phase of life.

Haley Morton, age 15


Editor's Note:
What's so wonderful about Mary is that instead of letting fear and feelings of inadequacy overwhelm her, Mary let the Holy Spirit overwhelm her. She expressed humility and obedience. She could've easily been stressed out by the news and the incredible weight of responsibility as the mother of the Messiah. But she decided to serve God. To the angel, she replied:

     I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
      just as you say. (The Message, Luke 1:38)

And then, Mary rejoiced. When she was talking about everything with her cousin Elizabeth, Mary cried, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:47, 48 KJV).

uggles of being Jesus' mom. We'll never have to endure what Mary endured, but we can find strength by her example. So when we're faced with stressful challenges and don't feel good enough, let's remember Mary.

MFE