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5 Things that Stress Me Out

I was talking to someone the other day about job-related stress; and as I listened to them go on and on about how hard their job is and how stressful it was for them to work with certain people something dawned on me.  I realized that often when it comes to my role here at the church, I don’t really carry a ton of stress.  I’m not saying that church-work is stress free, but that I’ve learned to manage work related stress easier than other kinds of stress.

I can remember stressing out in a major way about big upcoming church events, or meeting with certain people on my staff and dreading every interaction and potential failure.  However, I really don’t stress about it too much anymore.  I would say that maybe I’ve learned that some things will work themselves out, and many of the dramas associated with church and ministry will work them selves out just fine without me stressing out over them.

So what do I stress out about? That’s a question I walked away from the above conversation thinking through… and here are 5 things I came up with:

  • My wife stresses me out.  Now hold your horses before you go jumping to conclusions, my wife is a terrific person and does nothing in and of herself to purposefully stress me out.  What I mean is that if things are not right between us, it stresses me out.  I need the two of us to be on the same page on 90% of what’s happening in our lives, or I will feel massive amounts of stress.
  • My kids super-stress me out.  Now here I’ll hold nothing back, plain and simply they stress me out.  They yell when they should be quiet, then don’t always do as they’re told, they leave little things on the floor for me to step on when I have my shoes off, and they rarely act considerate in any way.  But of course they’re kids, so what can they do about any of that?  I’m not saying it ruins my day, but if I don’t have the right perspective when I get home…my kids will stress me out.
  • My future stresses me out.  I don’t always like this “not knowing” part of life, and it can stress me out  occasionally.
  • Money stresses me out.  Not the “how will I ever spend this much” kind of stress, but the “I need more of this” kind of money stress.  I’m getting better, but honestly it has a  tendency  to stress me out.
  • Work.  I know I said earlier that work doesn’t stress me out a ton, but I’d be lying if I said it NEVER stresses me out.  Particularly the part of managing a group of diverse  individuals, and wanting God’s best for them while at the same time being held accountable to God’s best for my church.  This always stresses me out the most at my work part of life.

Anything you stress about?  Or am I the only person in the entire world that carries a little bit of stress around with me?  Do share in the comment section RIGHT NOW!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Emily Hart · May 31, 2011

    Sadly, I’m known for being stressed out 24/7. “You wouldn’t be YOU if you weren’t stressed about something…” How sad is that, that this phrase is what people use to describe me? I think in some ways, stress is good…it means you CARE and strive for greatness, but I know that it can rule and control every little thing and that is not good. “Stress” has been a common dialogue between God and me this year-He has taught me so much about letting go of what needs to be let go without losing my desire and drive to be all that I can in Christ. A phrase He gave me to handle my stress and “let go” of some things today: “Wherever I go, there I am…Embrace it! Embrace His grace and take Him in. Because wherever I am, there He is also…”  

    • Jonathan · June 1, 2011

      The idea of “letting go” is daunting to say the least!  Stay tuned for a post later this week and next, where I’ll share some of my stress recovery hopes for myself!

  2. AmyRdot · June 1, 2011

    Thank you for your total honesty Jonathan! While your wife and children do not stress me out – because I adore them and do not live with them 24/7 as you do – work, “not knowing” about the future and money issues do stress me out. As in “What is God’s plan for me – my occupation/living situation/marriage and children?” Causes my chest and heart to tighten up at least once a day and I can easily get overwhelmed just thinking about it all. I have to remind myself that I’m only promised today and to take that day and do the best I can by the grace of God. There is an old hymn my grandmother loved to sing “Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”‘ I try to remember this and will be the first to admit it is a daily struggle most of the time. But thank heavens for God’s Grace and Mercy…”I’m not where I want to be, but thank the Lord I’m not where I used to be – I’m ok and on my way!” – one of my favorite quotes from Joyce Meyer.
    Thank you for sharing and beIng so open and transparent to create this kind of dialogue. I’m so thankful you are my dear Starr’s Buddy’s husband and the father of her children. What a blessing you are to so many!
    Now as for some REAL stress that will cause your hair to fall out, I do not recommend having raised the two most spoiled dachshunds in the entire world and then bringing in a 70 pound rescue black lab puppy from off the side of the road to add into the mix. The shedding alone will drive you crazy…..but that’s another story for another day.
    Praying that God will give you peace, joy, patience and guidance everyday in your service to your family and the Kingdom of Heaven.