A very good friend of mine sent me this back in March and just came across it again. It’s a timely message that served me well then and that is great to be reminded of now. If you ever feel as if the pressures of life are getting to you, these words will help a lot!
From: Shawn Dove
To: Shawn Dove
Sent: Sat Mar 21 22:47:38 2009
Subject: Putting Your Pressure In Perspective
By Shawn Dove
Weather the Storm, Keep On Keeping On!
A good friend of mine recently called me to share how overwhelmed he was feeling about a few circumstances in his life. This is something that we men don’t often get vulnerable enough to do with each other, too often taking a stand and waving that false bravado flag that reads, “I’m alright!” Anyway, my friend went on to share the pressure in his life that had him feeling like he was in the eye of a hurricane named Overwhelming! I listened intently and, sensing that my role was to just serve as a sounding board, told him that while he felt overwhelmed he wasn’t overmatched – that God had his back.
Those very same words of encouragement I offered my friend sure didn’t bring me much solace a few mornings later when I was faced with a mountain of personal and professional pressures of my own. While in the bathroom looking at the man in the mirror (that would be me), getting my “game face” on it suddenly occurred to me that the pressure I was facing in my life certainly paled in comparison to what President Barack Obama must have been facing that very same morning. With the fast spiraling economic storm with which he was charged to tame, not to mention a host of other seemingly tsunami-like pressures that come with being the Commander in Chief of the United States. Had he made a decision about the dog for Sasha and Malia yet? Then my mind moved from thinking about President Obama’s pressure to Harriett Tubman’s pressure. Just imagine what her mornings, and nights for that matter, must have felt like as she trudged through swamps and hillsides on her Underground Railroad mission. Now that’s real pressure for you.
We are wonderfully liberated when we put our pressure in perspective. I am not suggesting that you minimize the challenges you are facing compared to other people’s pressure, and just about everyone seems to be going through or coming out of something, but remember that whatever pressure you are facing could be worse. Putting your pressure in perspective is like picking up a pebble and holding it very close to one of your eyes. When you do this you can’t even see around the minuscule pebble – it blocks your entire vision. But if you simply extend the pebble further away from your eye you will see it in its proper perspective as a tiny little rock that you can see as far beyond as your vision allows. Furthermore, if you drop the pebble on the ground, personifying the mantra “let go, let God,” then what was once a stumbling block is now a stepping stone.
If you take the pulse of the people in your life you may discover that their collective life pressure is high. In fact, what’s the pressure reading in your own life these days? Whether it’s financial pressure, relationship pressure, family pressure, health pressure or work pressure that you’re currently experiencing, I’ve learned a thing or two from putting the pressures of my own life in perspective that might offer you or your loved ones some relief. Here are six things that you can do to put your pressure in perspective:
1. Pray: Prayer should be your first response to putting your pressure in perspective not your last resort. Don’t say “I guess I’ll pray” after you’ve tried everything else to relieve the pressure in your life. Don’t ask God to remove the pressure you’re facing. Ask Him to provide you with the strength, wisdom and guidance to master it!
2. Patience: Do know that whatever pressure you are facing you can put it in perspective by understanding that it has come to pass. Every time I have to speak in public I feel immense pressure. My mouth gets dry, my palms sweat and I get lightheaded – all because of the pressure I put on myself. But before I know it the public speaking experience has passed and it’s over.
3. Plan: Being patient in the face of pressure doesn’t mean that you just wait and do nothing. What do you do while you’re being patient? You plan! Let’s say you are feeling the pressure of having a very difficult conversation with a loved one or your boss. Get a piece of paper and script out a plan of how you envision the conversation turning out for the highest good.
4. Partners: Whatever pressure you are facing you don’t have to face it alone. Assemble a Dream Team of friends and colleagues to help. Proverbs 18:1 reminds us that “a man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” Hey, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!
5. Perseverance: I recall a point in my career when I was under heavy pressure with one of my publishing endeavors. I was under attack from rivals, facing a setback and wondered if I was going to lose my income. Through the help of my mastermind group I adopted the self-talk survival strategy of “weather the storm and keep on keeping on!” After a bit of time pressing on I found myself not just merely surviving but thriving with the publication.
6. Produce: Sometimes when the heat of life’s pressure is bearing down on us we can become frozen by the paralysis of analysis. Like that proverbial deer frozen in the headlights we become stuck, awaiting inevitable disaster. When facing pressure revert back to your plan and do one thing that gives you the reassuring feeling of making progress. Write the first sentence of the first paragraph of the written assignment you have been fretting over.
While these are just few things that can help you put your pressures in perspective, there are also some “pressure cooker” potholes your should avoid driving in to like procrastination, people who would rather see you sweat than succeed; pity parties (only the devil and your enemies show up to these anyway); and focusing on past pitfalls because what you focus on grows in your perspective. So, how are you putting your pressure in perspective?