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Under Pressure Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by David   
Monday, 01 October 2007
If Psalm 46:10 says to be still and know that I am God, why do I feel so pressured? If God is in control, then why am I so stressed? What causes me to continued to live a frantic pressured activity-

I have discovered my pressured life coming from at least three sources: Arrogance, lack of trust and fear.

Yes, arrogance is a source of my pressured life. I'm pretty thick headed, so it has taken me a while to see this. It basically works like this: I am so busy because I believe the more I do, the more gets done. So, I take on more and more activities. I believe that I make a difference and the more that I do the more difference I can make. This approach seems to make sense, it seems to work, and it seems like a wonderful attitude to have. Yet as I add more and more activities to my life, I tend not experience this stillness the Psalmist refers to. 

If Psalm 46:10 says to be still and know that I am God, why do I feel so pressured? If God is in control, then why am I so stressed? What causes me to continued to live a frantic pressured activity-

I have discovered my pressured life coming from at least three sources: Arrogance, lack of trust and fear.

Yes, arrogance is a source of my pressured life. I'm pretty thick headed, so it has taken me a while to see this. It basically works like this: I am so busy because I believe the more I do, the more gets done. So, I take on more and more activities. I believe that I make a difference and the more that I do the more difference I can make. This approach seems to make sense, it seems to work, and it seems like a wonderful attitude to have. Yet as I add more and more activities to my life, I tend not experience this stillness the Psalmist refers to.

I do pray even on the busiest of days. I might even acknowledge that I can't do anything if it wasn't for God. However, the reality is I operate as if everything depends on me and my performance. This creates a lot of pressure and stress. If I operate in this mode long enough, I end up feeling like the man trying to keep a dozen or more plates spinning on top of rods. Surely you have seen this guy spinning his plates while adding more and more plates to the mix. Then he has to keep going back again and again to keep them spinning. It's entertaining to watch...but not to live.

Why do I say this can do attitude is arrogance? Because it shows that deep down I trust my ability to perform more than God's ability to control. If I really believe that God is in control, then why is my life so out of control? I've heard the advice that I should pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on me, but is that really good advice? I'm not advocating irresponsibility, but I am pointing out that working like it all depends on me never leads to 'stillness' or peace. All it leads to is a life filled with activities salted with prayer. We need more than prayer salt. Perhaps we should focus on praying as if it all depends on God....because it does.

Anything else is arrogance. Anything that believes that we have something to do with our success is arrogance. Anything that says that it depends on us is arrogance. Anything that believes that what we have, do, or accomplish is anything more than a gift from God is arrogance. Anything that we ever do, or accomplish is nothing other than the grace of God. We can't do anything. It is all gift and it is all from God.

The wonderful thing about God is that God continues to allow us to live in our arrogance! Amazing. There have been times when I have done something for my children, but stood by allowing them to believe that they did it all. I remember being amazed at why they would think they they were able to accomplish a task that they could only do with my help. Yet, they believed it was all them.

Sometimes I feel like Someone is behind the scenes. Sometimes I get a sense that God is there and is the real "secret to my success." Sometimes I remember and have a deep sense of gratitude. Other times I believe, arrogantly, that I had something to do with it. Those are the times I walk around forgetting how wonderful God is.

Humility is difficult to come by these days. We are convinced that we are the ones accomplishing great things for God. We work to create "names" for ourselves. We want people to believe that we are worthy and worthwhile. Perhaps some might even begin saying good things about us telling us how wonderful we are and how they couldn't get along without us. God help us if actually believe what others say.

Those who are truly close to God see life as it really is. They are the ones who know humility. They see how dependent they are on God for everything. They know that without God's grace and gifts they would be destitute. They are also the ones who know stillness and peace. They know that it doesn't depend on them so they don't live their life like it does. Their lives are not frantic and pressured. They take time to enjoy the gifts God places in their lives. They know what it means to be still and know that God is God because they know they are not.

In the next article I'll look at how lack of trust causes us to live a pressured life. 

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