Purpose Over Pressure: Slow the Heck Down
I skidded as I was merging onto the interstate today as a couple of plows made their way in front of me. The roads were not good as the snow continued to fall heavily. With two hands on the wheel, I stayed behind the two plows hogging both lanes, unable to pass them.
As I was driving along, a drift of snow flew up from the plows and left me in a cloud of white, unable to see anything but the faint lights of the plows who appeared to be halting to a stop in front of me. My palms began to sweat and tears filled my eyes (I’m a baby, I know) as I hit my breaks and prayed the cars behind me would see me slowing down even in the midst of the big cloud. I felt overwhelmed and unsure of what to do as I continued on.
As the big drift began to settle, Tyler (my fiance) called me, asking where I was since he was driving ahead and had lost me. Through my tears (again - baby - I get it), I explained how I felt helpless and afraid of all the cars behind me that were following in a line behind me.
Tyler then said this to me, “Just slow down. Take your time. The cars behind you will be fine. They’ll understand, and they’ll slow down too.”
Something so simple, but it made me feel so much better.
And as the plows turned off and the road ahead of me was clear, I started thinking about what had happened. It got me thinking about how life can feel sometimes.
Last semester, I felt so much pressure to perform and achieve and accomplish. I felt like I couldn’t let anyone down nor could I step back from anything I was doing.
This ultimately led to me feeling completely burned out… almost like I was in a cloud that limited my ability to see, move, or keep going (much like the cloud I found myself in today that made me feel helpless and directionless). It led me to feeling like I constantly had something to prove for people… almost like there was a line of people behind me, waiting for me to perform better or do more. (much like the line of cars that waited behind me today that made me feel pressed and judged). The pressure I put on myself was limiting and not enjoyable.
So here are some things I’ve learned about this pressure.
Sometimes you just need to slow the heck down.
It seems like there’s this pressure to be better, to do more, to continue to prove. Sometimes we need to accept the fact that stepping back is completely okay and acceptable. Slowing down and stepping back from some things may need to happen in order for us to feel good and sane, so it is completely okay to hit the brakes and slow your roll.
You gotta quit creating scenarios that aren’t real.
I am the QUEEN of doing this, so writing this out as a tip is #convicting for me, but it is so important and true. We’ve got to quit creating ideas and scenarios in our heads of what other people are thinking or how circumstances will change or end up if we don’t do this or that or perform at a certain level.
I had this idea today of what those cars were thinking, of how mad they were at me. Were some of them a little aggravated at me and the plows? Probably, yes. But not all of them were sitting there fuming, ready to chew me out like I had been envisioning and fearing.
Really, honestly - most times things aren’t as bad as we make them out to be.
Have faith that things will work out.
I feel the pressure to do a lot of things. It’s almost as if I’m afraid I’ll miss something if I slip up or don’t give 110% at all times. But putting pressure on myself only sucks the joy out of what it is I’m doing. I’m learning that more and more as I live.
We can choose to have pursuits & feel pressure, or we can choose to praise & feel purpose.
It’s up to us.
God didn’t create us for lives of pressure. He created us for lives of purpose. For lives of praising Him. He is working all things out for good, despite what we may feel.
So remember, on those days where you feel as though a cloud is overtaking you, making you immobile, fearful, and directionless, just slow down. Take a step back. Breathe. Don’t create pressure that doesn’t need to be.
God’s got you. You need only to be still.