Feeling the Pressure

Feeling the pressure? Don’t worry, it just means promotion is coming.

It was a Monday morning after a weekend full of fun and we needed a family work day to get the house back in order. During breakfast, I laid out the day for my children while we ate. First, we’d pick beans in the garden, then do our school work, and then fold laundry. Once they were done, they were free to do whatever they’d like.

Instantly, I felt the atmosphere shift as one of my children put up walls in her heart and took on a look of gloom; this was not in her plans for the day. I knew I was in for a long, difficult road if she didn’t change her attitude. I encouraged her that she could tackle this and then move on to whatever she wanted, but she didn’t budge. During bean picking she complained relentlessly, and kept wandering off to explore other things, thus getting out of bean picking. I had to keep leading her back to the beans and the task at hand. School was more of the same. I had to keep telling her to do the next problem and ended up prodding her along while she found everything to complain about and get distracted with and school took three times longer than necessary. When it came time to fold the laundry, she was lying on her pile of clothes crying. It felt like she was pushing back on me all day, and by now I was tired.

My usual tendency is to give up and help her, but today I said, “I’m not going to take the pressure off of you until you change your heart.” It was a kairos moment. It was like God walked into the room and was speaking those words to me. They weren’t really for my daughter, or maybe they were, but I knew God was saying them to me.

You see, for a couple of months, I hadn’t been guarding my heart or my thoughts well. I’d started grumbling and complaining, mostly about my new job, but also about how hard we have worked over the last 10 years and how little we have to show for it, at least by my standards.

I started shaking my fist at God asking why He hadn’t done all the things I wanted Him to do for me. And why, oh why, was there so much work for me to do? I have five kids, work a part-time job, and my husband and I pastor a church. We also homeschool our kids and are helping a friend start a school of ministry. It’s a lot of work, and I’d been feeling like if God would just give us a thriving church then everything else could and would change and I would be happy and content and my life would be perfect. (My life is already pretty much perfect; I just wasn’t viewing it that way.)

In fact, the other week, I was having a particularly hard day. It felt as if all hell had broken loose and was coming against everything we were trying to do, and I was very depressed and oppressed. I could not get the feelings of resentment and anger and woe-is-me to leave my head. So, I very beautifully embraced a full on adult temper tantrum, where I was complaining to God (and my husband) non-stop about how hard I was working and how He hasn’t done His part of things. I was also crabby with my kids and hubby. Now, I knew that this was the voice and lie of the enemy, but it felt real, so I went with it.

So what does any good woman do in that moment? Tell the hubby he’s on duty and go out for a walk. At least that’s what I did. And as I walked, I felt the Lord quietly drawing near to me. And as He did all those voices and complaints melted away, I felt peace return to my soul.

I asked Him what that was all about. I could almost see that He had lifted His hand of covering from me and the enemy swooped in and I fell for every trick and lie in the book. And the second the Lord replaced His hand on me, everything was fine again!

I felt like He said, “I did it to show you what was in your heart.” Oh man, that’s not good. I thought I was doing way better than that, but when the pressure hit, all this junk, all this yucky stuff came right up to the top. Like the dross when you refine gold. The good news is, once it’s at the surface, it’s easy to scrape off.

It felt a little like Job. God had given him a good life, then the enemy shows up and messes with him and Job laments. Then God shows up, sets his thinking straight, and blesses him with twice what he had before. This is the double portion blessing.

See, the pressure isn’t there to hurt us, but to strengthen and purify us. This season of pressure is actually ushering in the promotion. He’s purifying us to be able to carry the weight of the glory of the next season.

All my child needed to do to release the pressure was change her heart. If she would have apologized for the push back she’d been giving me all day, I would have jumped to her rescue. Or if she had looked at the task ahead of her as an opportunity to grow in connection with her family and viewed her role as important (no matter how unglamorous), it would have led her heart to rejoice and be thankful that she gets to be a part of such a wonderful family, instead of begrudging the truly good gifts that were before her (education, fresh produce, and clothes to wear are all good gifts).

So I took my words to heart, and decided to repent, and press into Jesus, thankful for the pressure that is purifying me, so that I’m able to walk in the weight of glory this next season is bringing. I’ve repented of the complaining and grumbling heart, and I’ve found ways to “give thanks in every circumstance,” and instead of pushing back against the pressure or fighting the season I’m in, I’m embracing it and letting it purify (and mature) me (James 1:3).

God is so good. He always completes the good work he starts in you. So if you are feeling a bit of pressure these days, rejoice, it means the promotion is coming!

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