Have you ever noticed how a little added pressure can prove our priorities?
Deadlines and to-do lists at the office can quickly overshadow the priority of that recital, date night, or family dinner.
How about the added pressure of children on a marriage?
We can easily neglect the priority of our marriage at the expense of “what’s best for our children.” Like you, I confidently believe that my kid will be the next Prime Minister, sporting sensation, and cultural icon. Yet, what good is it to gain all that if it means living in an overly-scheduled calendar, shuttling our kids around like a glorified taxi service, while forfeiting the happiness of our marriages?
Maybe you find yourself facing the pressures of being single and ready to mingle, while waiting for that certain someone to give you a jingle?
We’ve all seen it: people eager to pair-off can trade-off that which they once held as priority.
Then there is always the added pressure on our finances, which can all-too-easily challenge our priority to be generous.
I get it.
The reality is, one of the many effects of pressure at work in our lives is its ability to unapologetically show everyone what we deem priority. Invited or not.
Pressures prove our priorities.
So, it stands to reason that if what you say is important to you is not what people see is important to you in the pressure seasons of life, maybe you need to reevaluate.
Make a plan.
As the old adage goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
So why not pre-determine what your priorities will be, and resolve to keep them the next time you find yourself under pressure?
If Paul could do it, I’m confident you can to.
He faced unimaginable situations and circumstances in his ministry — the types of challenges and pressures that might put our problems into perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, as devastating it is for the millions of people across North America that can’t get McDonalds delivered, Paul’s problems might offer us some food for thought.
While recalling some of his missionary journeys to the church in Corinth, he wrote:
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Cor 11:23-28). [emphasis added]
Here was a guy who, in the face of hunger, pitiless persecution, sleepless nights, and being left in the cold in his birthday suit, never lost sight of what was important to him.
While he could have grown consumed by the perils, he remained concerned for the people.
Paul modelled what it was to keep his priorities in the pressure seasons of life.
So what’s stopping you from doing the same?
Will you keep your priorities while under pressure?
What will the pressure seasons reveal about you?
My prayer is that when the pressures rise, your priorities remain.