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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Miranda Writes: Going Through the Motions

by Omar Miranda

Dear Omar,

I am physically and mentally exhausted. I feel as if my relationship with God has gone down the toilet. All I seem to have time for is school and work. And when I’m not doing that, I am either helping to clean the house or watching my little sister. I “wake up” every morning a little before 7:00 so that I can read my Sabbath school lesson, but I end up falling back asleep. Then my dad comes in and wakes me up, and then we normally go for a walk. When we come back, we exercise, and then I eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and start school. Around 11:50 my mom leaves to pick up my brother and sister, and I watch my sister and make lunch. After my mom comes home, I do more school and then go to work. My job is very stressful, and my bosses are, for lack of a better term, CRAZY! Then I come home and either help pick up or do more school. After that I sometimes eat dinner. Then I help clean the kitchen, and then I sometimes just relax or most of the time my dad tells me to do more school. I go to bed around 10:00 every night. When I try to pray, I either fall asleep or my mind wanders off to work things or school things. I’m homeschooled, so I really don’t have anyone to talk to. I’m really stressed, and I feel as though I’m just going through the motions. I feel nothing when it comes to God, and I don’t know what to do anymore. Please, give me some advice.

Thanks, Ariel*

PS: Please don’t tell my parents about this.

Dear Ariel,

I’ve been praying about what to tell you. I’m sorry you’re so tired. You mentioned a lot of things; I’m going to list them because this helps my ADD brain, and then I’ll do my best to answer.

1. You’re physically and mentally exhausted.
2. Your relationship with God is suffering.
3. Your job is stressful, and you feel as if your bosses are “CRAZY!”
4. You feel as if you’re always doing school.
5. You don’t have anyone to talk to.
6. You’re really stressed out and feel as though you’re just going through the motions.

WOW! Ariel, that’s a lot of stuff to be going through.

The first thing I would tell you is talk to your parents about this. I know that you didn’t want your parents to be told about this, but I think that they should address a lot of what you’ve mentioned in your message. Is there a specific reason you don’t want me to speak with them? Have you already tried and has it been unsuccessful? Some teens don’t want to bother their parents with their own issues because they don’t want to stress out already-stressed-out parents. But it’s the parents’ job to know what’s going on. I think they’ll be more understanding than you think. Give it a shot.

Your schedule sounds very busy, and you may need to slow down. Ask your parents about how things can be rearranged and improved.

About your relationship with God: I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I tried studying my lesson first thing in the morning, and I, too, kept falling asleep. I suggest that you do a small one- to five-minute devotional first thing in the morning. There are some good teen devotional books at Insight magazine’s Web site also has some good articles you could read for devotional time. Then, as the day progresses, and you’re good and awake, you could study your lesson. Also, you could begin reading the book of John in the New Testament. It’s specifically meant to stir your faith. Find a good version of the Bible that you understand and enjoy. I suggest the New Living Translation (NLT) or the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

About your bosses: I don’t know what to tell you. Job stress is part of it all . . . that’s why it’s called “work.” But if you are being verbally abused or disrespected in any way, you’ve got to tell your parents, your pastor, or your bosses.

If you feel as if you’re always doing school, take a look at your time management. I find that I do better if I first focus on the hardest subjects or the ones I like the least and get them out of the way; then the rest of my day goes better because I’m not dreading having to deal with them. And try to break big projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. How did the ant eat the elephant? One bite at a time. (I know, it’s cheesy, but it’s true.)

If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can always talk to me over Facebook, e-mail, or via Insight magazine.

About your being stressed out and feeling as though you’re just going through the motions: I’ve been there as well. It’s hard not to stay exhausted, but make sure that you find time just to chill (“me time”) every day. Make time to spend at least one hour doing something that you want to do—and I don’t mean falling asleep in front of the TV (that’s exhaustion, and it sounds as though you’re already there). Also make sure that you do the three R’s—relax, recharge, and reconnect—on the Sabbath; that’s what it’s for.

Ariel, I hope this information has been helpful to you. Don’t forget to write me and let me know how you’re doing.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site,; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Not her real name.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

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