At different points in our lives, we all face pressure. Like everyone else, I experience times of strain and in fact, recently, I have been going through some very ‘stretching’ experiences.
In time of pressure, it can be easy to be overwhelmed and to ‘react’ from that negative place, but is there a better way to handle the stresses and burdens of life?
Through my own experiences, I’ve learnt that it is not what happens to us that will make or break us, but the way we choose to react or respond to the situations.
I am learning that although we cannot always control the things which come against us, with God’s help, we can control how we respond.
Watch what you say
Words are important and can have a big impact on how we view and respond to a situation. In times of pressure, I think it is very important to watch our words, watch what we say. Are you speaking negatively into the situation? Going over and over it with friends and family, always speaking ‘death’ by your words? Our own words can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so if we are going to speak words, let’s speak the Word of God. We know the enemy comes only to steal, kill and destroy, so let’s be sure that when we speak, we do not do the devil’s work for him.
Check your attitude
In times of pressure, your real attitude comes out in your response to the situation. I am learning (almost every day) about the importance of reactions. I have to remind myself that I cannot do anything by myself and even though I am being challenged, I want my attitude to be aligned with what God has spoken to me. When we align our attitude with what God says in his Word, our reactions will be measured and will demonstrate the heart of God.
Temptation comes to us in lots of different ways but let’s also not be tempted to give up in tough times, to resist the temptation to become bitter and to make sure that we guard our hearts against temptation in all its forms. God’s desire is for us to be fruitful, to go to higher places, to be successful but giving way to temptation can destroy all that God has done (and plans to do) in our lives.
When you squeeze a lemon, what do you get? You get lemon juice! But if you were to be squeezed by pressures today, what would come out? Would it be Christ? Or would it be self? It is often only in times of pressure that we see who we really are, because difficulties tend to bring our true character to the surface. In times of being squeezed, I want my character and my response to reflect all that God has done in my life.
Watch out for your loved ones
In times of stress, it’s easy to take it home and to vent it all on our families. But we also need to remember that we have to protect our households. We shouldn’t allow the pressures we face, cause us to react and change the atmosphere of our homes. We all need support and we all sometimes need to talk through our issues and problems with the people we love, but we should always be mindful of protecting them too.
If you’re facing your own difficulties at the moment, can I encourage you to spend time in God’s Word and God’s presence. In his presence, our problems and trials will melt away like wax (Psalm 97:5) and it is in that place, that we can hear God speak to us most clearly.