I was and am very blessed to have been raised in a church. Every Sunday when I was little I would put on my fanciest dress with the white “leather” shoes, socks with the itchy lace, and always a matching hat and purse. Go to jr church, go to Sunday school, do the church camp, youth groups, summer missions all of it. I’m not the type to push my beliefs on people so sit tight I promise there is a reason for my sharing. A few weeks ago, I had the most terrible cough and I mean worse than bronchitis. Waking up in the middle of the night with asthma attacks, sore throat, deep chest cough. Terrible. A couple weeks into the sick, I could not sleep, it felt like every time I let my body relax enough to drift off I stopped breathing. I prayed and prayed every night for the coughing fits to stop just long enough to get some sleep, just a little. Now I’m a natural worrier, I worry about everything all the time always have. Laying in bed so frustrated over not being able to do the simplest task of breathing on my own without having my inhaler attached to my face, trying not to cry, going over how upset I was because I still had so much to do, Thomas said something to me that just made everything click all at once like a domino effect. He looked at me and said “that, that right there is why you can’t get better. You stress yourself out to the point that your body can’t deal with it. Take a breath and relax.” Not going to lie I fought it at first I was like no I’m just busy. July is busy for my family and has been for years. But I stopped fighting and I thought about it. I will never admit it out loud but he was right. I’ve been this way my whole life. When my oldest brother went to Iraq I literally threw up every day in school, it got so bad my teacher told me to just go to the bathroom if I was going to get sick so I didn’t disturb the class, and come back and sit at my desk. The first time all three of my brothers went somewhere in the summer I had a panic attack and ended up in the ER. I have a history of getting myself so worked up that my body physically cannot handle the pressure anymore. So back to church. I prayed for the tightness in my chest to go away, for god to take the cough just long enough to get some sleep but it didn’t work. And of course it wouldn’t because the cough wasn’t the problem. The problem was, I was so caught up in making sure everything was done, gifts were bought, games were attended, meals were cooked, clothes and dishes were clean, everything was in order, on top of every thing else all without asking for help, or, talking about how I was feeling, because in my mind, people do those things every single day, why can’t I? So I laid there in bed and I said “ok. God. I’ve been told all my life to lay my burdens at your feet, and we both know it’s easier said than done but I’m done. I can’t take another night fearing I’m going to need my epi-pen, keeping everyone awake because I can’t breathe. Take it. I don’t want it. Take my stress. Take my problems. I don’t need them.” I pray every night before bed, for my family, my friends, this country, the usual, but I rarely pray for myself. Not that night. I prayed for me. I prayed for my mental health. I prayed for my physical health. I didn’t stop until I was asleep. For the first time in what felt like weeks I only woke up once coughing. I did end up with a pretty severe sinus infection, but I learned something, it’s ok to talk about your stress and your worries and to just let them go. Don’t think of it as a burden because other people do everything you’re doing just fine, because you don’t know what they have going on behind closed doors. Ask for the help, slow down, life is not a race to the finish line. And if it’s what you believe lay your burdens at gods feet, don’t just say it actually do it. Don’t get me wrong I still stress about things and worry, I most likely always will but stopping and realizing I don’t have to, that I have people to talk to, to work things out with, a team to go to, makes it a whole lot easier. Don’t let the stress control your health mentally or physically. Weather you believe in god, or another higher power or even if you don’t, let that stress and the worries go.