If you’re anything like me, then you feel slightly stressed, tired, stretched and at the limits of your life. Welcome to being a vaguely useful human being. Or adulting as the kids call it nowadays.

The pressures of life can weigh us down, keep us stuck in one place and make life truly miserable at times. However, I have come with alternative news in this blog post. I really do believe that pressure is a gift.

Without question, all of the things that I might consider to be accomplishments in my life have come about as a result of pressure.

The greatest periods of personal growth and increase have followed my response to the pressures of life and leadership.

And yet it seems we are poor students of this thing called life. Because the next time we hit the limitations of our time, energy and resource, it’s all too easy to feel frustrated and at the end of ourselves but the truth is that pressure is not detrimental to the realisation of our future. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary.

We do understand this on a big picture level but it can be hard to apply to the granular everyday.

Here are six short reflections on handling pressure well.

1) Your problems are not insurmountable

In fact they are there to be conquered. Why does Everest exist? So it would be climbed. Why does space exist? So it would be explored.

There is something in us that wishes to conquer the unconquerable.

This isn’t just a prideful desire; this is woven into the heart of man by God himself. You see, God delights in the impossible. The challenge is a game of prowess to him, to test his strength and (lack of) limits.

When we consider just what it is that Jesus accomplished? He killed death itself – the ultimate finality. Not anymore though. God is into beating the unbeatable and solving the unsolvable.

Don’t think for a moment that your problems are able to get the better of you.

We would do well to remember the things that used to feel big and yet now feel small. They didn’t change but you did. Hindsight is a wonderful teacher.

It’s time for an enlargement – you don’t need less problems but there does need to be an increase in you.

2) Boredom is a recipe for disaster.

When we are busy, the idea of having nothing to do is a delight. When we’re stressed our worried about the challenges of life, this is never more true. But there is only so much idle time one can have before one starts to feel restless.

When muscles are not in use they begin to lose their strength. So it is with you. When we find ourselves without any problems, this is usually where we make stupid decisions to indulge our flesh and potentially destroy our future.

Boredom is not your friend.

The design of God is for us to experience rest but this is an internal state of being that flows out and overcomes the external. Work isn’t your enemy but boredom definitely is.

You brought this upon yourself

Have you ever wanted to do something great? Or become something great? I thought so.

Those prayers you prayed as a teenager are coming back to haunt you.

The desire of your heart to do something significant in this world is bringing about the world of trouble that is in your life right now.

What do I mean? It’s not that God initiates or orchestrates disaster or problems to unfold in our lives. But he is fairly smart about using the things that life throws at us for our own advantage.

When we pray and seek purpose and significance, we are going to find that life is never boring. We sought after adventure and we got what we really wanted. Adversity is not a killjoy, it’s the making of who you really are.

Stop complaining that things got busy when you actually love being busy. Embrace the life you’re actually choosing to live. Because you can go back to a small and ineffective life any time you want. It’s just you don’t really want it. I know I don’t.

3) Seasons come and go

In a high intensity season, it can feel like the end is nowhere to be seen. But life does come in waves and tides. And you’ll be surprised how quickly things changed when you look back.

Every difficult season holds a lesson in its silver lining.

If you can be quick to humble yourself and pick up on what is to be taught, you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary pain.

Become a quick student of life and it will treat you well. Or spend years without ever truly understanding the circle that life that keeps playing out.

You only get to go to the next level with a new understanding because God loves you too much to let you progress beyond your character.

We can’t necessarily alter the seasons but we can lean into the purpose of it which often opens up new opportunities.

4) Don’t hate the player, hate the game

God will use people in your journey at different times to bring correction, redirection and encouragement. It’s all a part of the process.

Without these crucial tweaks, we can find ourselves kept from entering into our future or worse, enter into it ill-prepared.

That’s why it’s important that we recognise that God is working through people around us.

Whether they are leaders, bosses, mentors, family members or friends. Or even enemies and haters. Each of them have a unique role to play to purify our heart and motives and to get us ready for our future.

Don’t despise who God has put around you. Instead embrace correction and become a disciple.

5) You have more than enough time (and other excuses)

This one hurts for me to write. I have three kids, one wife, a church to lead, a digital marketing business to run as well as a whole heap of other desires and dreams that don’t fit neatly into my somewhat chaotic life.

I very often feel like I don’t have enough time. But I am continually reminded that I do have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else.

The hard truth is that it is simply a question of priorities.

The moment that I believe that I simply don’t have enough time is the moment that I cut short my future with my own words. Because leadership is about making time for the things that are most important.

We play servant to the circumstances of our lives instead of taking ownership of all things.

If you’re stuck in a job that consumes extra hours and drains your soul then why not find a new job? If you’re in a commitment to an organisation that you made rashly then why not go and ask for permission to withdraw it?

If you struggle to get up early for something important then why not go to bed earlier? If you don’t have time to exercise then why not drop a social engagement?

These are just examples of course but the point is that we all have the same time in the day and you get to choose what you spend your most valuable resource on.

Pressure of time is often pointing to our own disorganisation and lack of priority in our schedule. Learn to cut the things that are least important to the vision of your life.

How do you handle pressure? Has this post helped you see some of your challenges differently? I’d love to hear from you.

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