Why You Need to Be a Quitter

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“What’s going on, Jen?” I asked my fourteen-year-old-friend. She had sent me a stress text a few days earlier because she felt desperate to escape the pressure of her life.

“I dunno. I’m just stressed. I’ve just been so busy, and I feel like I can’t handle it anymore.”

Jen is a smart, talented, bubbly freshman. She has a lot of things going for her, but life had reached a boiling point a few weeks earlier. What’s weird is that Jen’s family was not in crisis. She wasn’t in a bad relationship with a boy. Her friends weren’t talking behind her back. She wasn’t hiding a secret sin.

Jen’s problem was simply this: she was trying to cram 30 hours of stuff into each 24 hour day. It didn’t take long for her to run out of steam and then she crashed. With no energy, and no time to re-fuel Jen was S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D.

The Pressure Cooker

Jen’s story is not unique. I recently traveled the country talking to middle and high school girls. I found that most of you are living in a pressure cooker. Here’s why.

  • Because of the pressure to get into a good college, you may have opted to take advanced placement (AP) classes. Experts say that each AP class will likely result in forty-five minutes of homework every single school night. If you’re in three AP classes—say, AP English, AP Biology, and AP Math—you can expect to spend almost two and a half hours doing homework after an eight-hour school day.
  • 23% of you spend two to five hours per day practicing a sport or musical instrument.
  • 21% of you spend at least 10 hours a week working for pay.
  • Most of you are spending between two and ten hours per week hanging out with your friends.

I’m sure you’re tired from all of that homework; so let me do the math for you. Each week you have 168 hours to spend. Between school, sports, and friends you’ve spent as many as 80 hours of that time. Add in some time for sleep, and you’ve ticked away 133 of your hours. Now factor in time with your family, involvement at church, and time for good, old-fashioned fun, and the numbers can stop adding up. You’ve only got 24 hours in every day, and yet you may be juggling more than your day can hold.

 

Be Still.

Be still? For real?

If you’re like my friend Jen, and feeling the stress of a schedule that is overflowing, coming across verses like this one might really make you feel the pressure: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).

How can you be still when there is so much going on? How can you know God when your schedule feels ready to burst at the seams? How can you have a radical faith in Jesus when so much of your day is spent just trying to survive business as usual?

First Things First.

Jesus knew that our hearts would get wrapped up in the wrong kinds of treasure. That’s why He went on to warn us to keep first things first.

Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you?” (Matthew 6:31-33).

Jesus is telling us to stop sweating the small stuff. If you were sitting on that mountain with Him when He preached this sermon, He might say, “Stop freaking out about that grade, or that friend, or whether or not your basketball team will win district.”

Then He offers a simply alternative to the chaos: “Seek first the kingdom of God.”

Make God your first priority. Listen to His voice before you listen to anyone else’s. Start your day with Him. Plan your schedule around Him. Treasure His will above anything else. That is a simple formula for radical faith.

Are you stressed?

Does your life feel like a pressure cooker?

Are you trying to cram too much stuff in each day?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Look at your to do list. Are you seeking God first? Look at your calendar. Is it full of “good” things that are crowding out the best life God has for you?

I’ll shoot you straight, seeking God first can be painful. It often requires radical amputation of the things that compete for our time and affection. But it is worth it! Jesus didn’t come to give you a stressed out life, a worried to the max life, a super anxious life…Jesus came to give you an abundant life. (He said so in John 10:10!)

How about you? What needs to go, so that you can seek God’s Kingdom first and trade in your stressed out life for the abundant life God wants to give you?

P.S. Much of this post was adapted from my book, “My Name Is Erin: One Girl’s Plan For Radical Faith.” Check it out here: http://www.erindavis.org/her-books/

If you’d like practical help to get your life in order, consider the Equipped Just 4 Girls resource.

 

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