Turn pressure into a positive
Do you ever feel under pressure? Stupid question, right? Everyone does.
If you're human you'll face pressure. So I guess the better question is, "how do you handle pressure?" Do you cave in under it, do you react to it or do you just go with it? You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle pressure. If you want to see how this works then just get married and then get in your car and drive to a place you have never been and don't know how to get to.
When my wife and I were first married we lived in an area that we did not know very well-which meant I would get lost. Now this is before the days of iPhones and personal GPS devices. It was the day of the giant paper car map. If you think texting and driving is dangerous, it was nothing compared to finding directions on a fold-out map. I mean that thing took up the whole windshield! Anyway, we were trying to find our way and like a lot of guys, I get stressed when I'm lost. I hate feeling out of control and that stress leads to frustration and when I'm frustrated I feel pressured. In that moment I no longer heard the sweet voice of my wife kindly telling me where I should turn. Instead my mind was focused on the pressure I was feeling and I did what most men have done at some point and I snapped at her.
Have you ever done that? You know it's bad because the car get's really quiet. What made it worse was that we had two friends sitting in the back seat. Yes-it was awkward but my point is this, when you're under pressure people get to see what's inside of you. You really don't know who you are and what you believe until pressure is applied.
Most people don't handle pressure well. It's under pressure that we blame others, say things we regret and for some pressure causes them to shake their fist at God.
But what if God actually uses pressure to work out the inconsistencies and dysfunctions of our life? What if pressure could actually be a positive thing? Like a tube of toothpaste, what if God uses pressure to push out the things in our life that he wants us to deal with.
Jesus said that ".. . whatever is in your heart determines what you say" (Matthew 12:34). God is all about using pressure to give us clarity on what's really inside of us so that he can heal, fix and make us whole.
I don't about you but that makes pressure something worth facing rather than running from.
So, the next time pressure puts the squeeze on you, remember you can either try to handle it yourself or you can grab on to God as your handle. My hope is that you choose the latter.
. Shawn is a pastor at Promontory Community Church. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.