Persevering Through Pressure
As a general rule, the end of the semester in school is the hardest part of the courses you enroll in. I know for me, I put things off time and time again and the end of the semester is just a pile of things that need to get done! Don’t you have that? Maybe at work or in something that you are responsible for the brings with it the anxiety of getting it done and getting it done well. In that moment, there’s lots of pressure, isn’t there?
I remember back in high school when I, for a very short time, ran cross country. I totally hated it and was horrible. I can remember being exhausted in the warm up! Well, while I would run (which really wasn’t running, it was kind of like a quick shuffle), I would always want to stop. I would always tell myself, “Just take a quick break” or “Just stop for a couple seconds”. Right when the pressure came, I wanted to stop. And there were times where I convinced myself to stop my “quick shuffle”.
The truth is that when life happens, we want to go off course. We are drawn to an alternative and compromising choice, one different than the one that God has called us to. And it’s all bound up in the lie that our “quick stop” will be but only for a moment. Now I have to be honest with you, when I would stop running in practice (I’m going to start referring to it as running now so that I don’t embarrass myself anymore than I already have), I would tell myself that I would just stop for a few seconds, but those few seconds turned into minutes.
We believe the same lie when pressure is present in our own lives. We take a break or pursue an alternate course for a while, and spend much more time there when we initially decided to. Sometimes we stop and get back on track, but lots of time we keep going. We stay stopped, or we go somewhere else. Sometimes we are off track for so long that we don’t know how to get back.
We must, as Hosea says, “…return to the Lord”. (6:1)
Pressure has a way of paralyzing what God wants you to do. Pressure puts stress on our judgement, allowing things to get foggy. All of the sudden, taking a break or pulling an unexpected left turn doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Christians need to be better at this. Because the mark of sincerity in one’s faith can be seen by what they decide to do when the pressure is on. Just like in sports, an athlete’s legitimacy is in a greater check when there is a high pressured moment.
I wouldn’t stop in our cross country practices just because I felt like it, I did it because I was tired! And I say that because I realize the pressure in your life is way more difficult than this post is giving it justice. I realize that important things are on the line. I know that’s the case for me; I have more pressure in my life right now than I have ever had. Life is fast, ministry is crazy, school is cruising by, and I’m still trying to figure things out. But it’s in these moments, the ones that are particularly pressing, that really matter. Our call to be faithful isn’t contractional to a circumstance of our choosing, it’s a consistent command throughout all seasons of life.
So don’t stop… don’t turn another direction… but keep going. God’s promises don’t adapt to circumstance, they are always true! In fact, that verse in Hosea goes on to say that when we return to the Lord, He will revive us, raise us, live with us, and bind us up. The Person delivering these promises are what make the promises so sacred and incredible. So use your current pressure to press into Jesus, and wait and see how His promises unfold, because they surely will.