Summary: Ideas on how to handle the pressures of life.
Survivor: Surviving Pressure
1. I can remember when I was a little boy and my sister was still alive that my parents took us to a place called Santa’s North Pole near Pikes Peak in Colorado. It was an amusement park of sorts and had a variety of rides. One was a big slide you came down and it twisted around a peppermint striped pole. There were bumper cars. There were swings. And then there were the tea cups. My sister wanted to ride the teacups but I really had no desire. The teacups went around at the center in a big circle but then each individual tea cup also went around in a circle. My parents must have told the operators that my sister had cancer because I can remember that they told us at first that they would start slowly and then pick up speed or stop at any time if we needed them to. My sister who was sick with cancer, got onto those teacups and began to spin around and around and wanted the teacups to go faster and faster and the whole time she did, but there came a time when I needed the ride to stop. It wasn’t my sick sister who had difficulty with the teacups, it was me. And even remembering this event in my life, makes me sick to my stomach just a bit, causes me to feel a little queasy. And the rest of the day was ruined for me because I had gotten sick on about the second ride I went on. As long as I can remember, those rides that create pressure so that you are stuck in your seat and you can’t move while the ride spins around and around just make me sick. I want to get off if I ever make the mistake of getting on.
2. And life can be like that as well. That pressure to perform, to be good enough, to live up to everyone’s expectations, to keep going, to make more money, to have more stuff, to take care of the kids, to perform at work, and the list goes on and on. And just like that ride I took as a little boy, it can go faster and faster, causing you and I to feel more pressure until we want to yell, "Stop this ride. I need to get off." And frequently the pressure of what we think we need to do can make us nauseous.
3. And pressure can also cause us to worry, but here are some statistics to keep in mind when you feel tempted to worry,
40% of your worries will never happen.
30% concern old decisions that cannot be altered.
12% center on unfair criticism.
10% relate to health which worsens as one worries.
8% involve something you can change.
So what this tells us is pressure should only cause worry 8% of the time. But here’s the big question, how do we know if now is a part of that 8% or if it falls into one of the other 92% categories? In other words, how do we survive pressure, especially pressure that causes us to worry?
4. Survivor step number one is that when we begin to feel pressure, ask the Lord, what kind of pressure is this? What sort of worry is this causing? Is it changeable? Can I do anything about it? And if the answer you get is "no." you can relax. If the answer is yes, "than you can change". But still don’t worry. Make the change. And making the change becomes the next few survivor steps.