Words that Empower ••• Pre-sure Under Pressure
I stood, staring in the mirror at my puffy, swollen eyelids a couple days ago on the morning of my 33rd birthday. I had been crying the night before, not because of the milestone (I'm actually quite proud of my age and choose not to have regrets). Rather, because in the chaos of spinning too many plates without a break, a whole bunch of unrelated emotions caught up with me all at once and I felt crushed by the heavy weight of their pressure.
I don't know how you deal with emotions, but I am the type of person who doesn't leave much room for my own feelings very often. I usually do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, and act how I need to act as required by the moment (often for the benefit of others), regardless of how it makes me feel. I love my life and have so much to be excited about! But, on Saturday night, tears began to soak my pillow as I allowed myself to recall little instances one by one that stacked into heavy feelings of sadness, frustration and defeat.
I share this honest story with you not to receive your pity, but to encourage you. My bet is that some of you reading this have recently felt the same way. I want to share about some words that rocked me out of that funk so that you can do the same.
Words of Encouragement
On the morning of my birthday, when I was feeling the effects of my "feelings funk," my phone was blowing up with notifications. I was receiving text messages, voice messages and posts on my social media channels from friends and family wishing me a happy birthday, letting me know the things they like about me, and telling me what I mean to them. None of the people messaging me had any idea what I was going through in that moment, but their words of encouragement could not have been more perfectly timed. My day was getting brighter with each word I read. Do you intentionally surround yourself with positive, supportive people who genuinely care about you—even when it's not your birthday? Do you consistently encourage others, even if you're not sure if they need encouragement? ...Chances are, they need it.
Words of Inspiration
After sifting through the encouraging messages on Facebook, it was then that I saw a live video of my Pastor (Steven Furtick of Elevation Church) in my feed. Turns out, he was prepping for his sermon that morning, but felt the Spirit of God ask him to begin streaming an unrelated, conversational devotional message about pressure for someone out there who needed to hear it. I'm sure hundreds, if not thousands, of people were impacted deeply by what he said, but I honestly felt like I was that person it was for and it completely rocked my soul and changed my outlook.
He was speaking from 2 Corinthians 4, regarding Paul's troubling situation and his encouragement to others in the same boat. You can watch Pastor Steven's whole devotional message here, but here's what I got out of it...
"It is when you get up against the wall that you discover the resource of strength that you had not previously accessed," Pastor Steven said. "It is when it seems there is no way that you lift your eyes to and beyond the hills and see that your help comes from a higher dimension. It is in the process of cutting the gem that you see how much it can shine. Pressure reveals treasure."
When Paul was in trouble, he was alright because he was "pre-sure" of his triumph. He knew in advance that the pressure he was under would eventually reveal the treasure for his taking. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed," the Scripture says. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
We may not not be pre-sure of the reason we are under particular pressure, but we can be pre-sure of the resurrection and therefore, trust God. We can be pre-sure that this pressure will produce power in our lives. No matter what you're up against, say it, "I ALREADY KNOW I'll triumph for the glory of God." You must go into the battle (situations) already convinced / already knowing / pre-sure / that God is with you.
Words of Choice
Later in the day, as a birthday gift from my thoughtful husband, I received a mini cinema light box. It's this cool little L.E.D. box I can set at my [currently messy] desk that comes with letter tiles to make three-line messages of my choice. Sure, it's a fun gift and neat novelty, but I love the deeper meaning here: I get to choose the words I live by!
It's okay to feel the pressure and to be saddened or frustrated by it every now and then (it's natural!), but how will you rise from it? How will you respond to it? What will your perspective be? We must be careful not to let a mindset of defeat slip in. We must take our thoughts captive and tell them what to be. We must access new resources of strength—through people, through words, through Jesus—to keep at it, knowing in advance that we will overcome.