Unrelenting Pressure

In an age when we are constantly bombarded with advertising, vision statements, and goal-oriented living, wouldn’t it be nice to find maybe one or two hours a week when you could gather together with other people without these pressures?

I think so.

One thing I do as a pastor is allow space that is totally free of these constant unrelenting pressures. Even such noble pressures as spiritual ones are just as deadly, if not deadlier. I would meditate on grace and love, believing that the power of these two very real realities would do any of the work that needed to be done.

Not everyone believes this. Most people believe that we need to be driving, pushing, pulling and prodding ourselves for the kingdom in order to improve ourselves and this world. Most people believe they need to make themselves and others worthy of this grace, and that once it is received they need to live worthily of it. Grace has only become the new law. Which isn’t really grace.

Churches seem to be the most frenetic, hyperactive, and taut places around. Even though many people would say that we are a Sabbath people and that God does the work, most don’t really believe it.

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  • Sea2Sea

    I love this. I was able to take a big relaxing breath just reading it.

  • amy

    “and I will give you rest” ahhhhhh

  • Jenny

    Could it really be true that we can just relax?? I’m seriously asking. What about sanctification, shouldn’t we always be trying be better Christians? To think that we might just stop. And live relaxed, joyfully slipping into the warm waters of grace… knowing we are loved completely, just as we are… am I the only one missing this? I love what you said, that God’s grace and love will do any of the work that needs to be done. Thanks so much.

  • you’re welcome jenny.

  • Thank you. I am dealing with so much right now on my own and I needed your words. Of course, I have been praying (in my sincere, non-Christian way) but I have not meditated on those two things that are very much needed in my household right now: grace and love.

  • andrée

    I really enjoyed what you wrote. It is sooooooooooo true. 10 years ago, I was always busy serving God. I was teaching sunday school(morning), involved in a very intense program with 75 kids (sunday night)(, playing the flute with the worship team, youth leader, giving counseling for couples, translating and writing for local magazine, raising two kids and working full time(and there is more but I will stop there, you see where I’m going with this). Everyone around me kept telling me to slow down but I thought you can never do to much for God right?
    Than all of a sudden my body just broke. I rapidly became so sick that just doing housechores was impossible. I am still very sick and I get sicker everyday. Now I have to learn and accept that God loves me, even when I’m broken, my hands are empty and I’m naked. I reached the end of myself and God was there, waiting for me all this time.
    This generation has to discover God’s rest and His grace…

  • Ain’t that the truth!

  • Jenny,

    It is not about being enslaved to or by your faith. It is about service – which implies and requires a healthy partnership and relationship between the server and the served and that the server be healthy. Being healthy requires pacing and rest and, occasionally, separation from service and those being served.

    It is not about frantic busyness. It is about living and growing – neither of which can be rushed.

  • Johnfom

    Ahhh.Good post.

    This year I resolved to make Sundays ‘rest days’. Not because it’s the day for church (or used to be when I was a member of one) but because with the study I’m doing and the work I need to do to pay for it, and the ministry type work I do, it’s the only day where I don’t ‘have to be somewhere’.

    I’m looking to become a chaplain in a school late next year. One of the more important purposes of a school chaplain, IMO, is to be an adult, perhaps the only adult in the kids lives, who isn’t asking the kids to perform/become better/grow up/score well/study hard/etc. Someone they can just ‘be’ around.

    There is a song on Eliza Doolittle’s CD, which has been intriguing me for a little while now. The chorus, I think, express the mood somewhat, but encourage people to listen to the who song. There’s a few other lines which I think express it well too:

    Nobody (selected lyrics)


    What’s wrong with bein’ a nobody?
    That nobody knows and has nobodies
    And I should know ’cause I am one of these
    Happy to blend and I really am honestly

    The whole world is tryin’ to be somebody
    Kickin’ themselves ’bout what could’ve been
    What’s wrong with bein’ a nobody?
    I’m not pretendin’ I am what I’ll never be

  • Johnfom

    lol sorry about that. The bit about the chorus should read ” I encourage people to listen to the whole song”.