We all experience adversity in this life. Often it is how we respond to it that determines the environment we live in and the direction of our life. Adversity tests how much pressure we can actually take. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10 NKJV) The level of our strength is determined by how we handle adversity. Do we handle adversity or does it manhandle us? As followers of Jesus our faith should govern our feelings. Jesus said to his disciples that, “we are going to the other side.” When adverse wind and waves came against the boat the disciples were afraid. Although his disciples were afraid Jesus was not afraid. Let’s make it personal. Just because we experience adversity doesn’t mean we have to be anxious. We must not allow adversity to give us anxiety. Scripture tell us “to be anxious for nothing.” When scripture tells us to do something we are then able to obey scripture through the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper. He did not come to help us to do our will. The Holy Spirit is here to help us to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit is in believers to help us to obey God’s word. When we obey God’s word we experience God’s power and provision. When others are anxious we can be peaceful. Peace is not the absence of adversity, peace is what we can release to bring change to the adversity that we may be facing. The gospel teaches us that peace was more powerful than the storm. God’s peace is more powerful than the enemy’s storm. Jesus could speak to the storm that he could sleep in. We can’t speak to a storm that we can’t sleep in it. If we can sleep in it we can speak to it. Jesus rebuked the disciples for having fear of something they had authority over. The issue was they didn’t know they had authority over the storm. When we lose our peace and give in to anxiety or fear we surrender our ability to bring kingdom influence to the adversity that we may be facing. Hold on to your peace, because you will need it especially in times of adversity.
One day I asked my son, “Justice, what are you thankful for?” When I asked him that he started to name who he is thankful for. He didn’t name things, he named people. He reminded me what really matters. People matter. You matter, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you stopped by my blog for a quick read. I hope it encourages you. This blog is not about me, it’s for you. I am thankful for the relationships God has allowed me to have. The scriptures teach us that we enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving. The scriptures teach us to live with an attitude of gratitude. We are taught that it’s God’s will that we are always thankful. When we are thankful we live with the correct perspective, we live from God’s presence toward our circumstances.
Jesus was teaching the multitudes for several days. They were hungry and so the disciples wanted to send them away. Jesus commanded the disciples to feed the multitudes. What he commanded them to do was impossible in the natural. They found a boys lunch. The lunch was brought to Jesus, he lifted it to heaven, thanked God for it, blessed it and gave it to his disciples to pass out to the multitudes. There were 5,000 men in attendance not counting women and children. Thankfulness is what opened the door to the impossible and through the obedience of faith the miraculous was manifested. When we are thankful we are inviting God to invade our circumstances with his power and provision. I am thankful that God will finish the work that he began in us. You can be thankful to Jesus and confident in his work in you. What he has began he will complete so don’t quit.
It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value.
We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential.
Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch.
To be a trustworthy person and an effective leader we must be good under pressure. That means we need to have a pressure relief valve. Praying to God through Jesus Christ and talking with a trusted friend are safe ways to relieve pressure without self-medicating in a destructive way.
Casting our cares on the Lord and confessing our faults to a friend are essential for our spiritual, emotional and physical health.
If we don’t learn to do this consistently we won’t know how to handle pressure properly. Broken people can’t handle pressure; they either blow up or break down. Getting healed and getting healthy is essential if we are going to handle the very real pressures of this life. Below are two short parables to illustrate that often the value of something is determined by how much pressure that something can handle.
In Haiti there are several animals that are used for work and transportation. We will focus on 3 of them: the horse, the donkey and the mule. The horse is a horse. The donkey is a donkey. And the mule is a hybrid between the horse and the donkey. The horse is the best looking and the fastest. The donkey is the smallest and the slowest. The mule is the best of both worlds. We are truly stronger together. The mule can carry the heaviest load. If you go to the market to buy one which one do you think is the most expensive? The horse? Because it’s the fastest and best looking? No! The mule is the most expensive because it can handle the most pressure.
In the world of watches Rolex makes a Submariner and a Deep Sea, Sea Dweller. They are almost the same watch. The Submariner is smaller and skinnier. Its face is 40mm. The Deep Sea, Sea Dweller is a bit bigger and a bit thicker and its face is 44mm. The Sea Dweller also has a helium escape valve which can relieve it of pressure if need be. The Sea Dweller has been deeper in the Marina Trench than any other watch ever. Meaning although it is similar and it has the same maker, it can handle more pressure. There is more than a $4000 USD difference in price simply because one can handle more pressure.
Trustworthy people are healed, Trustworthy people are healthy. Therefore trustworthy people are good under pressure. God allows pressure to be put on us to do something in us. Be honest with God and transparent with people and you will become a trustworthy person who is good under pressure.