Feeling Pressure: Fear Versus Faith

The only pressure I’m under is the pressure I’ve put on myself.
~Mark Messier, NHL Hall-of-Fame player (Oilers/Rangers)

Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing
~Chuck Noll, NFL Hall-of-Fame Coach (Steelers)

‘Pressure’ is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.
~Tommy Lasorda, MLB Hall-of-Fame Manager (Dodgers)

Courage is grace under pressure
~Ernest Hemingway, Author

Whatever you see—any good results—are all from the pressure
~Ziyi Zhang, Author

————————————————————————-
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following post intentionally applies a secular position through its majority, eventually applying a Christian perspective near its conclusion. The rationale for this decision is that it will help non-Christians see the general relevance of the topic, while also highlighting my view that a Christian perspective for addressing moments when feeling pressure (or confronting those poorly dealing with pressure) is best. This post focuses on issues that I believe are both prevalent and pervasive within the culture in which I find myself. I attempt to be as thorough as possible in my logic and as reasonable as possible with my justifications. What I do not claim is omniscience or perfect clarity on this issue—or any issue. Therefore, I welcome thoughtful dialogue with anyone who may disagree with any or all of my positioning | Any bold, magenta words within this post are hyperlinks that provide useful, supplemental information. If the magenta hyperlink is followed by (a), for example(a), then there is an available blog or appendix page that allows for a deeper look into the topic hyperlinked.

————————————————————————-
INTRODUCTION
Feeling pressure. Who doesn’t feel pressure at one time or another? But for as frequently as we feel pressure, do we even understand why we feel it? And, what is “pressure”—really? Continue reading

in finding hope

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” ~Samuel Smiles

“At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division.”    ~ Jesse Jackson

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” ~ Desmond Tutu

“Hope is patient with the lamp lit.” ~ Turtullian

__________________________________________________________________

hope is future’s chance—indeed, a belief,
that more is not the same as before,
rather than pain and suffering appears relief,
fervent faith the means to restore,

Continue reading

Joy: Following An Eternal Perspective

“I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something…it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” ~Joyce Meyer

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone—but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” ~Walter Anderson

God’s plan for enlarging His kingdom is so simple—one person telling another about the Savior. Yet we’re busy and full of excuses. Just remember, someone’s eternal destiny is at stake. The joy you’ll have when you meet that person in heaven will far exceed any discomfort you felt in sharing the gospel.” ~Charles Stanley

___________________________________________________________________________

The purpose of this post is to examine the scriptural meaning of joy. More specifically, it will attempt to address the following three questions:

  1. What is joy?
  2. Are their types of joy?
  3. How can we experience more joy?

Continue reading

angel

“The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether their be any who understand it or not.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All God’s angels come to us disguised.” ~ James Russell Lowell

“The guardian angels of life fly so high as to beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us” ~ Jean Paul Richter

“Angels descending, bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love.” ~ Fanny J. Crosby

“If trouble hearing angels’ song with thine ears, try listening with thy heart.” ~ Terri Guillemets
___________________________________________________________________________

oh my angel! with thy voice ethereal sweet,
i beseech you, dare entreat,
this lowly man, firmly held to ground,
permit my ears to hear thy sound, Continue reading

twilight

“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape” ~ Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President

“Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object” ~ Albert Camus, Author and Philosopher

“The past is the beginning of the beginning and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn” ~ H.G. Wells, Author

_________________________________________________________________

situated within the twilight,
between night and day, the dawn and dusk,
walking with partial sight,
regarding what next to do, in “Whom” to trust, Continue reading

a dreamer’s reality

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” ~Pope John XXIII

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“Dreams are the seedlings of reality.” ~Napolean Hill

“I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” ~William Butler Yeats

——————————————————————————————————————————-
The following poem is inspired by the eternal optimism–the faith and hope–that is contagiously exhibited by my best friend, Jeremy, whose birthday is today. May you enjoy your special day with God smiling down on you and that great faith!
——————————————————————————————————————————-

like a phantom feather to begging skin it tickles,
as the eyes shut and sounds are silenced to ear,
senility of the subconscious vacates sensibilities,
for emotions and desires now pray for solid form, Continue reading

sliver

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” ~ Robert H. Schuller, clergyman

“What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that His grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” ~ Rick Warren
____________________________________________________________________________

it is the sliver of hope, sunset’s retreating light,
that provides impetus to continue the fight,
a security blanket that all of us need,
a constant companion, a trusty steed, Continue reading

Hope Beyond Hope

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu

This writing was originally posted on Facebook in October, 2009

A few years ago, I had a meaningful discussion with someone who has been a major figure throughout my life–we’ll call him “Adam” (not his real name). During our conversation, I asked him a question that I had considered asking him for some time. Adam has always been someone with a superseding sense of responsibility and obligation, but I cannot remember an instance where he used the word ‘love’ in appropriate context towards another person. While we were traveling and he was a captive audience, I took the opportunity to ask Adam why he never used the word “love,” instead, making any good and right action of his a matter of responsibility–of obligation. Continue reading

The Cynic’s Curse

Originally posted on Facebook–January, 2010

There are times when life can be really difficult. Many times, the events of our lives don’t necessarily end with story book endings. There are just so many variables at play in this world of ours…

…sometimes, we see something that is good, but can’t accept it. We’ve been fooled so many times. We’ve made ourselves vulnerable. We’ve trusted. And we’ve been hurt… Continue reading

Belief and Action

Originally posted on Facebook—June, 2014

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” ~John 15:7 NASB

“Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” ~Romans 4:20-21 NASB

For years, I have written notes sharing my thoughts on subjects that I believe to be essential within biblical teachings—often returning to topics repeatedly. Such topics include: love, trust, faith, hope, humility, forgiveness, sacrifice, truth, pain, and suffering. These topics arise repeatedly throughout scripture, giving credence to their importance. As should be the case given such context, I try to look at these topics through the lens of Jesus—all things pointing to the cross. A Christian’s convictions should be centered on the crucifixion and resurrection; otherwise, there is no foundation for a Christian belief system. Scripture tells us to believe in God’s character, His love, His forgiveness, His mercy, His sovereignty, His consistency, His omniscience and omnipotence. We are told to have faith in Him—to believe in Him; centering ourselves on Him. We are to possess an attitude of thankfulness and reverence towards God…an attitude of trust. There is good reason for this, when you understand how vital it is in guiding your path:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Belief is a powerful ally…or enemy. There is much to suggest—within both a biblical and secular context—that belief strongly influences individuals’ attitudes, establishing their behavioral intentions, which often leads to the actual intended behavior. In the 1970s, psychology professors Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) proposed the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), which states just that: beliefs > attitudes > intentions > behavior/actions. More precisely, the theory suggests that individuals’ behaviors are dependent on both their attitudes about the behavior, and how others will react if they actually perform the behavior (i.e. take action). Continue reading