From pressure to presence

· Thoughts on pressure from a sister under pressure ·

Sep, 02, 2023

Whether it’s back to school, looming deadlines at work, or a mix of joy and dread for the upcoming holidays, you might be feeling pressure in many areas of your life right now. I know I am, especially as I watched the days of August flip by with alarming speed. 

I realized something needed to change when I realized that I had basically just held onto my energy enough to get my daughter to her 7pm bedtime, then proceeded to collapse onto the couch. This isn’t to say that being a working mom isn’t exhausting (it definitely is), or that there’s anything wrong with spending quieter evenings of rest after a long day (there isn’t!).

However, I realized that this evening time between putting my daughter to bed and putting myself to bed was filled with swirling thoughts and a sense of overwhelm. It stole the joy from my time with my husband and the peace from my limited hours of time without needing to be “on” for work or my daughter. 

While I can’t say I’ve “figured it out”, there are a few things that have helped. Starting with the most important: 

Lean into the presence of God

We can never overstate the presence of God in our lives. If we believe the promises of Jesus about the Holy Spirit, then we know we are never alone, never left to fend for ourselves. 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

So because alliteration is a fun tool, here’s what I’ve been reminding myself: pressure to presence. Don’t let the pressure of my circumstances squeeze out my awareness of the presence of God. Here’s the most encouraging truth: even if I am not aware of it or looking for it, God’s presence never leaves me. 

No circumstance can force God from my life, from the way He is working in and through me. 

Find ways to lean into God’s presence today, starting with prayer and Scripture. 

Share the load

I’ll get a little nerdy for a moment, but hang with me. The basic equation for pressure is force over area. If you don’t feel like thinking about math, trust me on this: when you increase the area over which force is exerted, pressure decreases. But let’s not take the metaphor too far. The basic idea is that sharing the load (increasing the area) can help reduce the pressure. 

equation for pressure equals force over area

One way to do this is to brain-dump everything in your head – you’ll likely find lots of forces exerting pressure. But more helpful than that is to share the load (whether that’s actual work/responsibilities or the mental load) with someone else! Start with people closest to you, respect their boundaries, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

As believers, we’re not meant to cut ourselves off from God nor from other believers. So let those who love you help you. 

This is not just okay, it’s Biblical!

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

So what's next?

Whatever pressures you’re feeling, I hope this encourages you as you face the months ahead with courage and stewardship. Here are some ideas to wrap up: 

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