Photo by jppi on Morgue File.
Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.
Ah, deadlines . . . the pressure cooker, the finish line, times up, racing against the clock . . . and on we could go. Whether in work or life, we all face deadlines. We all face time constraints and limits. Some we probably give very little thought to really. We have become accustomed to their demands. We have grown familiar to their persistence and neediness. For instance, if you work, there is a certain time you need to be ready in the morning to get to work on time. This is a deadline. However, it is probably one you do not, at least most mornings, stress over often. Why? Because you have done it so many times. It has become ingrained in your consciousness. It is simply part of the daily schedule.
There are other deadlines that crop up that cause more aggravation and panic. A deadline for a report, paper or essay at school. As I have been an adjunct professor, I know all too well (not to mention my own student days) the vice of procrastination. Many will put off and put off, until there is no time left to put off any longer. Then, and only then, will they work on that project or paper. Usually, the quality suffers from the lack of enthusiasm and attention to detail.
At work deadlines come and go. Certain projects or jobs must be completed by a certain time. Often we feel pushed and addled by such demands. We may feel our blood pressure sky rocketing as we hurry and worry over completing the task.
Not to mention deadlines and demands we have with our families. We have children that require attention and place demands on our time and abilities. We have chores around the house that will not do themselves.
If we are not careful, we will feel as if we really are in a pressure cooker; ready to explode at any moment.
Life can have a way of bullying us if we are not careful.
It will pelt us, round after round, with jab after jab, wearing us down and causing us to succumb to the incessant barrage of hits; falling helplessly to the mat for the ten count.
There is an older contemporary Christian song that said, life is hard, but God is good.
Life can be hard. In fact, at times, it can be excruciatingly so. It isn’t always of course. There are times when life is full and free and delightful. But, there are those dark nights of the soul. Those times of agony, worry and uncertainty. There are those times when it seems everything is crashing down on our head and we will suffocate beneath its mass.
Deadlines begin to pile up and swarm us. Before we know it, our calendar is just one big red mark of deadlines. We feel trapped. We feel as though we are swimming hard and helplessly against the current. The harder we paddle the farther we seem from reaching the goal. The more we kick against the current, the more we feel as though we are being swept away by its swirling pull.
Where do we turn in such desperate times? Where do we find safe harbor in times such as these?
Some find it in booze or sex or drugs. Some escape through entertainment or sports. Some simply try to ignore it and pretend it is not there. Others flee within themselves, sinking headlong into depression.
In the end, none of these will answer the question. In the end, all these are lacking to really get to the heart of our problem.
As a believer in Christ, I find the answer in him. I would go even a step and further and say he is the only answer to this dilemma.
It is not to say that as a Christian life is always easy for me. It is not to say that there are no problems or deadlines or toils I face. It is to say, however, that I do not face these times alone. I do not go it alone. I am not a maverick, living in my own little world, doing my own little thing. I have come to accept, and I’m continuing to grow in this regard, that God is in control and I must put my faith in him. I may have my questions. I may have my doubts. But, none of these change the facts.
Christ promised that those who came to him, those who were tired and weighed down, he would give them rest (cf. Mt. 11.28). Some read the context of this passage and come away thinking the way of Christ is easy. They are deluded in thinking that by becoming a Christian their life will suddenly be worry free; all their problems will instantly vanish and they will have no more cares or worries.
This is a lie.
The way of Christ is hard. It is arduous and demanding. But, even still, there is a peace and joy that comes to those who put their trust in him. Even as we stumble under the weight of our cross, a cross we are commanded to carry each and every day, there is a contentment in our service to him. As we obey, we grow. As we learn the path of discipleship, we learn more and more to trust and have faith in him. We learn to depend upon him. We learn to trust in his provisions, his will and his plan.
It is a process; constantly learning, growing and maturing.
Whether we are facing deadlines or just the normal rigors of work, as believers, we should remember that we are to be pleasing in his sight. We are to do our work as unto the Lord. We are to see our jobs or families or other places of service and commitment as paths of serving and honoring our Head, our Lord, our God and Savior.
Part of the path of discipleship is learning to trust and finding that peace which he gives. A peace which sometimes seems the antithesis of the situations of life.
It is not easy; but, with God, it is possible.
Have you come to put your faith in Christ? Have you experienced the rest and peace he gives?