I had a solo and five or six ensemble/quartet pieces to practice, a music exam coming up, and a speech (partly in the local Xhosa dialect) to prepare for. And not only that, but I hadn’t received the speech’s text from the organizers, or the music for which I was supposed to write a harmony!

I don’t like being stressed, and I don’t normally get that stressed, but this time was different. I kept thinking about what I had to do, mentally rearranging it over and over. This actually led to more stress and worry, as the pieces of the alarmingly intricate puzzle would float out of place in my head as soon as I got them in order.

I could barely do anything without some trigger popping up out of nowhere to remind me of all the things I wasn’t getting to. When playing soccer, I’d remember long to-do lists as I paced back and forth on my goal line, goalkeeper gloves crossed in frustration. I couldn’t enjoy time spent with my family, or studying, because I was so focused on all those things.

It got to the point where I felt like informing everyone who was counting on me that I just couldn’t do it all. And I would have been right. I couldn’t do it all. But where was Jesus in all this stress? Where had I included Him? When had I sought Him out and asked Him for peace and strength? I hadn’t.

With a repentant heart, I asked Jesus to calm my worries and smooth the way. I asked Him to give me peace of mind and a clear path to follow. And He did.

When the day came, everything fell into place. My solo went well, as did the other pieces I played in. Some of them were less than perfect, but the crowd was kind and we were happy. The elusive speech only ended up in my hands half an hour before I had to deliver it, but I managed. I may have mispronounced some words, but not many, and I laughed at my mistakes along with the audience. In the end, my mom and sister worked on the musical harmony together, and it turned out wonderfully.

Jesus can take away any stress that we feel, if we remember to seek Him out and cling to Him in our hour of need. He is more than willing to push all our stressful thoughts away and replace them with His peace of mind. We just have to ask.