Pressure – Finding Rest
In this unprecedented season of lockdown, we may not have the pressure of going and doing, but there are many new and different pressures. We have had to adapt to changes very quickly. Here are a few noticeable changes
1) Not seeing our relatives or being able to hug them or having that support we had looking after our little ones.
2) Homeschooling and the pressure to keep up with the elusive “perfect” routine. The reality is far from this.
3) We are used to being in control, yet we can feel out of control as there is no end date at present to this lockdown, although things are moving in a positive direction.
4) For me, working in the hospice I haven’t been able to hug patients’ families which just seems so unnatural and difficult when patients are often dying and it is the very essence of what nurses do.
Everyone will have individual pressures related to themselves and I would encourage you to spend a minute and think about them.
Priscilla Shirer writes in the book Fervent (2015) “Life will never stop being hard. I know that. And yes, being our best and giving full effort is important in every area of our lives. But we have not been put here to be slaves to schedules that eat up every inch or margin from our families, our friendships, our worship, and our calling, nor to let others decide every day what our plans and priorities are supposed to be”. It may be ironic that I use this quote at a time such as lockdown, but many of us are finding things tougher and more demanding.
We need God’s perspective more than ever. We can choose how we respond to situation we face, but need the tools to see our lives and situations from God’s eyes. Here are some useful ways to handle the pressures we are facing;
1) Recognise that the enemy wants us to be in bondage. His strategy is similar to that of the Egyptian taskmasters; the only way of avoiding the cruelty of the taskmasters was through endless work and toil. Likewise, we may feel our worth, what others think of us, is tied up in what we do or don’t do. Our insecurities can stem from the fear are we enough? Will God be disappointed in me if I don’t stick to a rigorous routine?
The truth is your value is not in what you do but who you are. Proclaim that truth. Youtube hillsong “who you say I am” for encouragement.
2) The Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptians, working and toiling with no rest (Exodus 1 v 8-14). This is all they had known from birth. They had experienced the firstborn in their families being killed and knew all about pressure and suffering. God takes them out of that situation, and into… rest, a radical concept of having the Sabbath day. They had to re-programme their lives, and adjust their thinking.
Be guided and directed by God, and not other people or pressures.
“ He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. The Lord values those who fear him, those who put their hope in his faithful love” (Psalm 147v 10-11).
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you “(Matthew 6 v 33).
Examine your motives. Be at peace with what you do, and remember it was for freedom that Christ has set us free, no longer to be subject to a yoke of slavery. It can be so hard, but spending that time with him each day, and asking for the Holy Spirit to guide and help us will provide that direction we need.
3) Whatever our circumstances, his grace is sufficient. We all have our difficulties and struggles. I am a testimony to his faithfulness and goodness in the face of difficulty. When you feel at the end of yourself, his strength is made perfect in your weakness.
Read, pray and proclaim these verses over your life and family;
-“ I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my STRONGHOLD; I will never be shaken (Psalm 62v 1-2)
-..being content with what you have , for he himself has said, “ I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13v5).
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37 v 23 &24)
Remember, you are loved, not forgotten, and a precious jewel in the eyes of God. His banner over you is love. You are enough.