The average person today faces a myriad of different pressures. For some, I’m sure, it feels like they are living in a pressure cooker.
We all know what the stresses of daily life can be like. Many today are finding themselves under stress, and pressures they never thought they would encounter. Financial stresses, relationship stresses, job stress, health issues, emotional stress—one stress piles upon another. The tensions of life have been tough on many people. The tensions of life have led to breakdown, strain, a lack of peace, and health problems.
Maybe you are in a battle for your health today. Or maybe you’re feeling the pressure of not getting anywhere in your life. You wonder why you aren’t at a different level of life—why you don’t seem to have any sense of direction. Whatever it is, feeling the pressure of life is something you and I have in common. But we cannot really avoid all the pressures—no matter how carefully we plan our day, unexpected things happen.
Some Pressure is Helpful
Pressure is another word for stress, and what pressure does is squeeze out what’s inside—like lumps of coal thrive under pressure to become precious diamonds. Olives release their oil when they are crushed. And actually, this applies to life. We need some pressure (not too much) to keep us going in life, to reach our potential, and to stop us from becoming stale.
I believe the Bible has answers to this dilemma, and we read the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God”. Another translation says in every circumstance continue to make your wants known to God. God wants us to bring every pressure or stress to him in prayer. He will meet me at my level of understanding of what is happening, and gradually take me into a deeper relationship with himself. And the more I release to him, the more inner peace I experience.
Don’t forget that God will often give us people who can help—those special friends who can show us how to cope: with support, a bit of laughter, someone to listen with their hearts and big shoulders—those who genuinely care. We all need these kind of people. Sometimes we need professionals, like doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Why? Because God brings healing to our inner beings by these professionals working with us, working through some issues we cannot do ourselves. Seeking professional help is a sign of strength—it shows we are serious about dealing with our problems.
Talking about this puts issues out in the open so we can see them clearly. And then, perhaps slowly at first, we can start to manage the pressures, or some of them at least. The reality is we must control the pressures, or they will control us. We must take active steps to relieve the inner turmoil, while dealing with outward circumstances.
Priorities or Pressures
The loving God who holds the universe together has a personal concern for you, and he alone has the power and love to manage and guide your life and bring you into peace. All of us have to deal with pressure. Sometimes it comes from the unavoidable stuff of everyday life. But other times it is brought on by the bad decisions, poor planning, wrong values, selfishness, and not allowing God to guide our lives. This God of love comes to you in the person of Jesus Christ.
So the only safe and right surrender is to surrender your problems to the One who gave his Life for you: the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only true image of God, who has come to us in the flesh. He gave his life for you on the cross to cleanse you, and to lead you to the true centre: the heavenly Father who truly does love you and rule over all things. Jesus said it clearly: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” (John 14:6).
“Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.” (Ephesians 6:10 – CEV)
I’m reminded of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Talk about pressure. I think Paul experienced the most. Yet whether the pressure was minor or major, he persevered on, not giving into the pressure. That’s hard to do, you say? Yes, it can be; but it’s doable when you determine to stand “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10, NIV).
Those most stressed are those who have no purpose. Everyone operates under one of two principles: priorities or pressures. If you don’t decide what’s important in your life and what you want to accomplish, other people will decide for you.
Having a plan keeps you from being a victim of the tyranny of the urgent—just going around and putting out fires. No one likes to get to the end of the day and wonder if they accomplished anything meaningful. Busyness doesn’t mean we’re achieving something significant. It can just mean we’re walking around in a circle. What are your goals in life?