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Can You Take the Pressure?

When the pressure is on, not everyone responds the same way. Some people buckle under the weight of it. They go along to get along. They quickly submit and get pushed around. They keep their heads down and live to cower another day.

Maybe if I just do what’s expected of me, they’ll leave me alone.

Others have the exact opposite reaction. They rebel against the pressure. They let circumstances work them into a frenzy. They’re not putting up with anything from anybody.

You think you can push me around Mr. Tough Guy? Think again.

These two responses – fight or flight – are basic, instinctual. They’re the easiest, most natural responses in our repertoire. Which one you pick just depends on personality and experience. When our backs are against the wall, we all experience the urge either to run away or turn and fight.

But there’s another response available to us. There is an alternative to the fight-or-flight polarity of stressful, threatening situations.

It starts with a decision to know who we truly are, down in our bones. We can dwell in that. Nothing can shake our core value, our essential spirit: our identity as beloved children of God.

When we’re rooted in that life, when we know who we are, ain’t nobody gonna rock us. We won’t be the people who get pushed around, tossed by every wind. Nor will we be doing the shoving ourselves, all reaction and no reflection.

We’ll stick around – firm, friendly, and unafraid. We’ll bear the burden – neither collapsing nor striking back. We’ll be the pillar that upholds real human community, despite all its messiness. We’ll live in the power that allows organizations to thrive, efforts to be sustained, communities to grow.

Despite all the pressures bearing down on us, we’ll remain rooted. Trusting. Joyful.

We’ll be able to give an answer for the hope that is within us: I am a beloved child of God, and I live in his unshakable power.

Fear can’t touch that.

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