There are moments in life where we are “pressed” and in those moments people in general turn to a number of different outlets, sources, and reliefs. These moments are those times where we may think we have found ourselves facing a “new reality”, the pressing moments of life that are generally the result of big changes, stresses, or disappointments. There is a thing that brings great hope in these moments for me, that make me step back and breathe for a moment. It’s a truth we have heard and I think sometimes we can glaze over if we are not thinking clearly… I mean in general we are a society that hits hardship with two gears, and often we can get stuck in one of them.
First gear: Reactive…
There are a number of different things you can call this gear, the “why me?” gear, the point of struggle, the “what on earth will I do now?” gear. Whatever label you might want to give it, it’s a normal and natural reaction to being pressed. It’s the moment of sorrow, fear, anger, doubt, or other feelings that leave us almost immobilized. Really it’s part of the process, we have to have this. However, we can’t stop or get stuck here. I’m not saying to rush through it, or that there is some formulaic approach as to how long this period should last, but that it should only be a period.
Second gear: Attack
Again, you can label the gear however you like, it’s not about the label, it’s about the phase. This is the motion phase, the “I’m going to do something” gear. This is where we attempt to hit the challenge head on, formulate plans, work hard, get in gear, and put our noses to the grindstone (my mom would be so proud I just used that statement). This is also a normal reaction to being pressed. This reaction can make us feel resolute, motivated and can drive out surface level fear, because, after all, we are handling our business. This phase is the phase that can bring about resolution, but often it doesn’t really get at the core of things.
There may be another option, in fact, I’m certain there is. The struggle will come if we linger too long in the reaction gear without looking toward shifting to the attack gear, but an equally greater problem will occur if we skip the reaction gear and processing of the emotion, fear, etc. These things are both essential to the process of moving through the process of being pressed.
Therein lies the problem, we aren’t just supposed to “move” through the process. God is interested in our growth through the process. If we lie to long lingering in the first gear, we may miss opportunities for this growth, but the same result happens if we charge into the second gear, making the work our own. In both places we lack, because we may not be in a place to hear what God has to say. The so called “new reality” of our lives is part of the plan, change will forever be a part of our growth and sanctification. It can be a struggle, it can be anything from maddening to disheartening, bringing fury and sorrow. It’s all o.k., as long as we can remember what I think is a profound and simple truth about our God:
Psalm 46:1 ” God is our refuge and strength, a VERY present help in trouble” ESV (the NIV uses the words “EVER-present help in trouble”)
Either way you slice this, it’s just plain good. It simply means God is there when there is trouble, turmoil, change, strife, when you are being pressed, and this should bring us hope. I’m not saying we should be devoid of the stuff we need to process in the first gear, but that we should know that God is present in that processing, that it matters to Him, that WE matter to Him. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t take any of the action as seen in the second gear, but it means we can lean on Him and know that He is there to guide us if we will prayerfully put it in His hands.
Remember.. the “new reality”, isn’t new to God.
(In reviewing this I don’t want to change anything because I think it communicates the truth I’m looking for, but I feel really rusty in my blog-skills… which are like nun-chuck skills.. if you don’t use them you could get really sore hands)