Today, I am in Seattle, taking a vacation for the first time in over two years. It’s amazing what can happen when you choose to take a step back and really examine your life. I’m learning that beautiful things happen when you stop and breathe.
As I’ve spent the day wandering and getting lost in the city, I’ve realized just how much time I spend putting pressure on myself. Seriously, if I’m not careful, I fill every single thing with pressure. I have to be the best, the smartest, the quickest. I have to be successful and I have to make it look easy. Productivity and efficiency are key and I won’t settle for less.
So, when I set out on this vacation, I was determined that I was going to relax and breathe and just focus on being. When I’m at my best, I can do this, at my worst, this is an impossible task. But I didn’t realize, when I set that intention, just how hard this was going to be for me. I didn’t know just how loud that internal monologue that runs through my mind really is.
Around midday today, I got really tired, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I didn’t know why. But my first thought wasn’t “go lay down and rest for a while.” Instead, my first thought was, “you shouldn’t be tired and you made a plan for the day.” I was putting pressure on myself that I had to vacation the best. I had to have pictures to show and stories to share—I needed to have proof that I vacationed and that I vacationed well.
But then I stopped for a moment and thought about just how crazy that thought process is. No one else was with me, no one was telling me that I had to do something today, it was all me.
Thankfully Jesus came to take our burdens—even the ones we give ourselves.
I wonder how many of our issues and stressors are caused by us. How often do we take on more than our fair share because we want to be the best or be liked or be successful? How often do we believe the lie that if we can do this one thing better than that other person then we’ll feel whole or complete or whatever it is we think we’re lacking?
I put so much pressure on myself every single day without realizing it. But now that I know this, I can invite Jesus in to help me and heal those broken parts of my life that are applying that pressure. I encourage you to look at your life and see in which areas you might be taking on more than your fair share and then invite Jesus into those. Ask him to heal you and restore whatever has been broken.
I trust that as we each begin to identify these areas and submit them to him we will be able to live freer lives than we ever imagined.
Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself? Why do you think that is?
What’s a practical step you can take to remove some unhelpful pressure from your life?