Tis the Season

PressureMy grandmother used to cook with a pressure cooker. For those of you who might not be familiar with this type of cookware, a pressure cooker is a large sealed pot that does not allow any liquid or air to escape. As the liquid boils inside, pressure builds up and food cooks faster — about 70 percent faster — than it would on a standard stovetop.

Working with a pressure cooker could be very risky if it were not for the pressure release valve on the lid. This allows steam to escape and keeps the pot from exploding.

Do you ever feel like a pressure cooker? Is there so much pressure built up inside of you sometimes that you think your head’s going to explode?

Unfortunately, we are all under pressure at times. There’s the pressure to produce, the pressure of meeting deadlines, financial pressure, family pressures, the pressure of measuring up to the expectations of others (and ourselves) and the pressure to climb that ladder of success. This time of year, with all the extra demands of the holiday, the pressure to perform becomes even greater.

As you achieve more during your lifetime, your responsibilities will grow — and so will the pressure. We all want to reach new levels, but, as author Joyce Meyer warns, "If you want a new level, expect a new devil." Whenever you climb upward (or out of your comfort zone), you will be subjected to newer and greater challenges as part of the responsibility of being more and having more. And yet you won’t accomplish a great victory without first experiencing a great battle. It’s your ability to fight the battles to persevere against the pressures of change and mediocrity. that will set you apart. As the saying goes: If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Well, it isn’t easy and everyone doesn’t do it. Truth is, the majority of us want to avoid pressure and, by default, we also end up shunning success.

So, where’s the balance? How can you be a Superachiever in the pressure cooker of life without blowing your valve?

Evangelist John Hobbs says, "If the pressure on the outside of you is greater than on the inside, you will be crushed." There’s the secret. You don’t allow external pressures to become greater than your ability to deal with them.

Accept the fact that, in this life, you will have problems and pressures. So, when the times are quiet, fortify your mind by feeding it on words, thoughts and other things that are good, pure and inspiring. Then, when the external pressures hit (and they will), the positive pressure on the inside will be greater than the negative pressure on the outside and you will live in victory.

This season, as we celebrate the birth of the One who came to give us life abundantly, is a good time to begin practicing peace amid the pressure. For it is there that you’ll find the joy, hope and endless possibilities that all wise men and women seek.

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