Pressure. What is your first thought when you read or hear the word? What about these: difficulties, demands, burdens, stress, or tension? Do those words mean anything to you? Feeling pressure is not something we enjoy experiencing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this, but decades ago I attended culinary school.
In my twenties, I wanted to manage a restaurant. However, when I began to experience the ridiculously long hours, the constant pressures that took place on EVERY shift, including the holidays for such limited pay, I had a change of heart. So, I started my own catering company after some time at a culinary school in Houston, Texas. Even though I embrace writing full-time, I absolutely love cooking and making gourmet cheesecakes for my family and friends.
One of my favorite things to do during my free time is to watch baking and cooking competitions.
Shows like Chopped, Iron Chef, and MasterChef, are fascinating to me. I love the creativity it takes to take ingredients and create something beautiful and delicious. Unfortunately, there are those contestants who fall victim to the pressure of competition. I marvel at those who create something spectacular. But I feel bad for those who make mistakes under the weight of competing.
Thriving under Pressure
Now, don’t get me wrong; feeling pressure isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, I loved having the pressure on me during sporting events in high school. I thrived in taking and making the last shot or trying to score the winning touchdown at the last second. However, I cracked under a different kind of pressure during that same timeframe in school. (You can learn more about the painful and humiliating result of my failure in my next book, The Furnace of Affliction: How God uses our Pain and Suffering for His Purpose)
God has a purpose for us during the painful, pressure moments that occur in or lives. These moments can cut sharply and wound us so profoundly that they sometimes knock us off our feet! So, I ask you this; how do you respond to the painful pressures in life? Are you screaming “why?” at the top of your lungs? Or are you down on your knees with a humble spirit seeking help from the God who loves you unconditionally?
Refining. Restoration. Reconnecting. Reminding. These are just a few of the words that come to mind regarding God at work in our lives. After blessing us with the privilege of joining His royal family, He has a unique plan for each of us. However, whether we like it or not, there will be several painful pressure moments in our lives going forward.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
Indeed, all who desire to live godly for Christ Jesus will be persecuted. -2 Timothy 3:12
Remember some of the meanings for the pressure I mentioned earlier? Check out these Greek definitions for tribulation: ordeal, calamity, disaster, trouble, suffering, discomfort, hardship. Do you notice the similarities? God warned us to expect these pressures in our lives.
The Reasons behind the R’s
Refining. God will continue to remove anything from our lives that He deems necessary. He desires to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
But now O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, You are our Potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. -Isaiah 64:8.
Restoration. Sometimes these painful pressures will bring us to a level of brokenness where our dependence on God and Him alone is revealed. God can use these moments to revive our hearts, restore our faith in Him, and renew our purpose.
But the vessel that he was making was spoiled in the hand of the Potter; so He remade it into another vessel; as it pleased the Potter to make. -Jeremiah 18:4.
Reconnecting. I shared a glimpse of my story in my last book on prayer; my connection with God was fraying. When He wanted to connect, I tried to live my way. It took an extended stay in a hospital for me to reconnect with the Savior who loves me. Why does it take something drastic or painful to draw us closer to Christ?
In my distress, I cried to the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. -Psalms 18:6.
It is easy in the craziness of this world to not make connecting with God a priority. The same rebellious attitude I had as a teenager toward my parents was the same type of rebellion I’d show toward God. That is until I needed His help with something. I’d beg and plead Lord help me close this deal or finalize this contract, “please Lord, please!” But once the deal was closed and the money hit my bank account, I made no time for God. It was all about me and what I wanted.We cannot let our responsibilities and routines ruin the connection with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet
Reminding. Sometimes it takes painful pressures to remind us of who we are in Christ. Regardless of God’s purpose for us at that moment, He wants us to remember we are an important member of His family. We are NEVER alone, and He is ALWAYS near.
…For He Himself has said, I will never desert you, nor will I ever leave you, so that we can confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me?” -Hebrews 13:5-6.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. -Romans 8:16-17.
We are children of the King! We have to remember this amid the painful pressures that will take place in our lives. So let’s take a deep breath-exhale and thank God for reminding us who we are in Him and how much we have to be thankful for each day.
Ask God to show you His purpose. Like Job, we may never understand the circumstance, but if we seek Him, the painful pressures are replaced by a peace that surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7.
Breathe, friend, breathe, and tell God what’s on your heart. I don’t take lightly the painful pressures you experience, and neither does our Lord and Savior. With that in mind, we will find peace when we seek refuge and respite in Jesus. He understands and feels for us when we are hurting. Remember God has a purpose in everything and we need to trust Him.