Stressed. I used to hate saying “I’m stressed”. Partly because those words were an acceptance of defeat and partly because I didn’t feel that whatever was going on in my life was really that bad. After all, there are children around the world without parents or homes, no education, and much harder lives than I live. There are also other souls with truly hard and heavy burdens to bear, as well as those who are daily required more of than I am. So instead, I felt lazy, weak, and awful for even thinking that what I was going through was really that rough. I mean, if I look at my surroundings, my life is so incredibly filled to overflowing with blessings. I have no cause to complain. But there I go again, talking myself out of admitting the truth. And the truth is, I struggle deeply at times. One of this life’s beautiful and best kept secrets is that no one has it all together. We all have things that cause us to randomly burst into tears, to cry ourselves to sleep, things that don’t always instantly, but day by day wear us down. This life is hard. Living is hard. And if we try to lessen or remove the pain, that doesn’t make it less real, we just cause ourselves to fall into deeper hurt. Our stories are all wonderfully and uniquely diverse. No one person handles the same set of issues and stresses. What is hard for you may not be something another person ever gives a thought to. But that’s where God comes in. Every soul is walking a different journey, but we all have areas that need to be refined, perfected, and sanctified. Considering it’s in different ways for every person, it’s no surprise that that our problems don’t line up or compare. God is shaping each of us, in the ways that He knows we best and desperately need to be. It’s like play dough, all different colors, formed into various structures and squeezed through different molds. The art placed inside you is distinctly and purposefully not the same design as what resides in the fabric of my soul. So never apologize for being real. Don’t beat yourself up over caving in to things that you consider as “inferior” pressures. But when you sink, refuse to sink into anything other than Christ alone. Look to Jesus, He and His grace alone are sufficient to fill your empty cup with hope. Appreciate the diversity that God created you with. Stop comparing. You are human. There will be moments when you feel like a train wreck, like a stained glass window that has shattered. The order you work so hard to achieve will be hit by a hurricane. But it won’t suffocate you completely, though it may knock the air out of your lungs. Never give up hope. Don’t let tinges of guilt steal all of your light and consume the strength that is left in the middle of stress. When days are hard, not in comparison to anybody else, but for YOU, look to the only One who stays perfectly together and can hold your stresses as well as the entire worlds. The only one capable of rescue. He really does have the whole world in his hands. And always remember, in the light of eternity, none of these struggles and falling apart details will matter.