Today I felt totally stressed out. I have a great opportunity to speak to share my program, “Why and How to Write Your Story,” The speaking event is a good opportunity to educate, empower and equip others to write their stories.
I have a lot to do to get ready for it and many decisions to make which make me feel a lot of pressure because I want to do it right. In the midst of thinking all these issues through, I had a sudden craving for chocolate. 🙂 I’m health conscious so I’ve purchased raw cocoa because of it’s superior health benefits and came up with my own variation of a raw chocolate recipe.
When I finished putting the raw chocolate, virgin coconut oil and raw honey together, the mixture looked rough. I had left it rough before. Even though it was tasty, I didn’t like the rough texture. We used to make fudge when I grew up and I remembered that if you beat it well, the fudge would become smooth and creamy.
So I beat the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon until it turned smooth and creamy.
As I did this, I heard a little voice whisper, “This pressure is good for you.”
Sometimes my heart feels like it’s going to explode so I wondered about this statement.
At least the voice reassured me so rather than resist I could embrace the pressure.
As I thought about pressure, these benefits came to mind.
5 Benefits of Pressure
- Pressure forces us out of our comfort zone. When we’re comfortable, we don’t stretch and grow. Sometimes, we may feel so uncomfortable we feel like a lion of fear has us cornered. However, this gives us an opportunity to face that lion. Like a lion tamer, we can raise up our chairs and back that lion down.
- Pressure forces us to grow in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. Adversity opens our ears to hear. In times of pressure we seek out different ways to think and better ways to do things. If we love God, we seek Him more and our hearts are more open to wisdom.
- Pressure purifies us. Issues and attitudes that need to change, surface. We may be forced to deal with a conflict instead of running from it. Iron sharpens iron and makes us a better person.
- Pressure tenderizes us. A pressure cooker can tenderize the toughest meat. Hard places in our hearts begin to break down.
- Pressure makes us more compassionate. We’re not quite so ready to have all the easy answers for others when we’ve been in the hard places ourselves. Our hearts become more tender. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Paul’s encouragement in Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) comes to mind. In the NIV translation it says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another. . .”
The next time you feel pressure, rather than resist it or run from it, look for the opportunities to grow through it instead of simply go through. Rather than escape it, embrace the pressure. Face that lion of fear and overcome it. Seek the lessons you can learn from the situation and the compassion you can gain.
I talked about a number of strategies for overcoming fear in my book, “From Stuck to Success: Conquer Your Fears and Achieve Your Writing Dreams.” Even though the book was written for writers, the strategies for overcoming fear and dealing with pressure are applicable in a number of situations.
For sure, enjoy a piece of dark chocolate. 🙂 God has placed many good things in nature to help us physically and emotionally in times of stress. God knew we’d have stress and has natural stress relief remedies for us.
If you can’t have chocolate, choose some other good treat you can have or do something good for you. Good things actually give us the strength to deal with the hard things in life.
“He satisfies our desires with good things so our youth(strength) is renewed like an eagle.” Psalm 103:5 (NIV)
How can you make practical application of these truths to your own life? Share with us in the comments below.