Pressure on Purpose

Are you under pressure?  Maybe I should ask the question differently: In which area(s) of your life do you feel pressure?  Relationships?  Finances?  Health?  Just too much to do? I suspect most of us are nodding our heads over at least one of those possible pressure points.

How do you feel about pressure?

While I do not necessarily endorse all the suggestions put forth in this video, it pretty well represents how we feel when we’re under pressure.  (Besides, I find myself humming the intro every time the phrase under pressure enters my head.)

Pressure can feel monstrous and destructive.

But it is necessary.

Pressure produces personal growth, confidence and skill because when we’re under pressure we tend to step up to challenges we would otherwise avoid.  And when the pressure is unbearable, when we reach the limits of our strength, then we learn what God is capable of. 

I know this because the Bible tells many stories of people under pressure. Joseph would rule Egypt, but he spent thirteen years in slavery and in prison first.  Under pressure.  The Israelites stood trapped on the shores of the Red Sea as they watched Egyptian chariots closing in.  Under pressure.  David stepped up to fight a nine-foot Goliath with a lot of attitude and a little slingshot.  Under pressure.  The citizens of Jerusalem under King Hezekiah were surrounded by a trash talking Assyrian armyUnder pressure.  A teenager named Mary had to explain to her fiancée, Joseph, that her child had been immaculately conceivedUnder pressure. 

Image from Wikimedia

Those are inspiring stories of impressive faith in a powerful God.  They are entertaining reading, especially since we know the endings, but the participants might not have thought those situation so much fun while enduring them.  I want to experience God’s powerful presence in my life, but I tend to forget that in order for God to dramatically deliver me I must be in desperate need of a deliverer.  I like the cool rescue part; not so thrilled with the hopeless circumstances part.

If it is true that God is in control of our circumstances, and it is, and if it is true that God has a good and perfect plan for our lives, and he does, then when God allows pressure into our lives, he must have a good purpose for it.

Image from Wikimedia

Maybe if we approach pressure with faith instead of fear it will be an opportunity for our own growth and for a demonstration of God’s glory and power.

It must be acknowledged that God does not always deliver us from our difficulties as we’d like him to.  The most notable Biblical example of God’s refusal to deliver in a desperate situation is when he let his son, Jesus, who prayed for another way, go to a cross.  He refused to deliver Jesus so that Jesus could deliver us.

Jesus rescued us under tremendous pressure, and he did it for our good and to glorify the Father. 

As his followers, perhaps we can expect God to allow pressure into our lives for our good and for his glory. 

How do you respond to pressure?  Can you see spiritual potential in pressure?  Have you ever experienced God’s miraculous rescue when you were in desperate circumstances?

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About Judy

At heart I am a student of truth, an observer of culture, and a communicator. Jesus is my teacher and my Lord. In pursuit of these passions, I read as much as I can, serve as Teaching Director for a Community Bible Study group, and write a blog in an attempt to synthesize it all. I take great delight in my relationships with family and friends, and I also enjoy long walks, bike rides and cooking. And did I mention that I like to read?
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12 Responses to Pressure on Purpose

  1. Pingback: Heed the Heat | Connecting Dots…to God

  2. myfunhap says:

    How do you respond to pressure?
    I tell my self to stop fooling myself, pressure comes from expectations. God does not want me to suffer, he has sent his Son to stop that. If I truly respect that sacrifice, I should appreciate all there and is given to me which is not causing pressure. To start with; the existence that was given to me and the Godliness installed into me. The rest is just a result of an obscured mind leading me into suffering. Do I have such a mind? Sure, I am only human ;-)

    Can you see spiritual potential in pressure?
    Absolutely, I am thankful for everything that reminds me to fight my obscurations. E.g. disappointments and pressure are skillful signs to start realizing that I am again running after a wrong interpretation of the real facts. On my blog I have an article : “A teacher called frustration”, perhaps you will like it. Facts are often not what they seem to be. Facts are often mistaken as reality, they are nothing more than perceptions. Perceptions is what we MAKE of reality.

    Have you ever experienced God’s miraculous rescue when you were in desperate circumstances?
    Oh yes, sometimes when I come to the realize that “I have been doing it again”, He smiles at me.

    In all of this, what helped me a lot, was to realize that good doesn’t COME from God, it is already there. We, with our obscured minds, fail quite often to see and recognize it. In other words, God has already done his miracles. He gives us the opportunity to pick them up, to activate them in our lives. He is the Father, the Son AND the holy Spirit. We should simply look at the right places.

    There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Simply accept that we make pressure ourselves and give yourself a big hug whenever you find that “you did it again”. I believe, when you hug yourself, God is smiling.

    Hugs

    Francois

  3. Cristal says:

    Every time I visit my sweet chiropractor, he feels of my tense neck and asks what kind of stress I’m under. And every time I have the same response, “I’m always going to be under stress.” Stress is not bad. It’s how we respond to the stress that makes or breaks us. The pressure can form our character and create in us the courage, tenacity and strength of Christ.

    • Judy says:

      I have been known to say, “Stressed, me? Nah.” But my clenched jaw and/or stiff neck tell a slightly different story. Busted:) Just today, after writing this a few days ago, I had to remind myself that God uses pressure for my good and for His glory. How soon I forget!

  4. myfunhap says:

    “waiting sounds much better” is perhaps the result of your wisdom mind, telling you that there is more to it than meets the eye.

    Waiting is practicing patience, one of the best methods to give your mind “time off’s” from external impulses. Patience makes humble. Humble people are blessed. Practicing patience can be a primary objective in life, God is doing it all the time with us, what a great leader he is!

    Freezing is home made emotion which can be cut of from patience and be thrown in the bin.

    Like freezing, pressure is a matter of perception. If you look carefully at any pressure or freezing, you will realize that they are stuff that we make ourselves.

    One can apply a simple rule: If you can change something that you want to change, change it. If you can’t, you can’t anyway. So, in any case stop worrying!

    I know that this may sound awkward and that one may want to resist the acceptance of it. That is due to habit. Many habits are “automated responses” and we never question them. I think that we should very much question them, because then we can cleanse our behavior from mind polluting habits. It can be really hard work to try to change habitual responses, but I experienced large benefits from it. Try it.

    regards
    Francois

    • Judy says:

      Thank you for your thoughts, Francois. I agree that much of our pressure and worry is self-imposed and that a healthy approach is to either take appropriate action or release it. (Easier said than done, however.) I think God can use pressure to teach us to have faith in Him and/or to move us to obedient action.

  5. Sue Anderson says:

    Pressure often makes me stall. I don’t run. I freeze. I feel a little pressure now… :)

    • Judy says:

      I wonder if pressure feels the most uncomfortable when we feel like we’re stuck under it and don’t/can’t move. If I’m moving, I feel like I’m making progress at least, but just waiting (freezing?) adds to the pressure. Which sparks a question: what is the difference between freezing and waiting? Waiting sounds so much better:)

  6. Caddo Veil says:

    In the past I would freak out, run in any direction “away”. I hope and pray that God is growing a fine crop of faith, courage and confidence in me–that, in Him, I will be more than ready and able for the next pressure time. God bless your weekend, Judy.

    • Judy says:

      For much of my life that was my typical response too. I’m learning…growing faith instead of fear. Blessings on your weekend too, Caddo.

  7. Larry Who says:

    “…How do you respond to pressure?…”

    I now respond to pressure much different than I did years ago, but that’s because I’ve somehow survived a “sentence of death within ourselves” experiences as Paul described in 2 Corinthians 1: 9. At the time of the experiences, I wept,I paced, I begged, I prayed, I asked the Lord to kill me, and yet His grace was sufficient to bring me through.

    Would I like to go through those experiences again? No, not really. But if I did, my response would be, “His grace is sufficient and I will survive…or not survive. It’s up to Him and I can trust Him to do what’s best for His glory.”

    I believe that the reason for intense pressure in our lives is to yield within each of us a “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)

    • Judy says:

      Wow – it sounds like you have quite a story of pressure. I so appreciate your perspective to trust God “to do what’s best for His glory.” Maybe when we get to that point of surrender, we really do experience the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Thank you for your inspiring thoughts, and may the Lord work mightily in your life for His glory!

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