by Randy Roper, preaching minister
We got an Instant Pot for Christmas. It’s great, you can cook frozen chicken in a matter of minutes, and it’s edible! I even eat something called Quinoa cooked in this modern multi-cooker, and it actually tastes good.
The Instant Pot looks like a reinforced crockpot with a bomb timer slapped on the front of it. Evidently, it cooks using extremely high pressure. When the timer goes off, and the food is done, we release the pressure valve and watch as a steady flow of steam spews into the air. Without removing the pressure, opening the pot would be disastrous.
It appears that some of us are like Instant Pots right now. After a long year of uncertainty and unforeseen challenges, there seems to be a lot of pressure building up.
Many of us are just holding it all in and may not even know it. Unless we have a healthy and safe way to release the pressure, sooner or later we will explode. Maybe you’ve been there recently.
You lose your patience with a store clerk.
You rant and rave about something unimportant.
You explode at your spouse or child.
You feel a wave of road rage wash over you.
You burst into tears.
You scream and yell. Or just the opposite, you shut down emotionally.
You say things you later regret.
You react impulsively.
While you may feel better in that instant (see what I did there?), your actions and words cause damage. Relationships suffer. People get hurt. Unity and progress are impeded. Damage is done.
Maybe right now is a good time for an honest self-assessment. How are you doing…how are you really doing?
Do you feel overly stressed? Are you allowing challenges and adversity to gnaw at you? Are people getting under your skin? Is there a chance you are stuffing all the anxiety and uncertainty of a challenging year or a difficult situation deep inside as you try to keep moving forward?
Sooner or later—unless you deal with the sources and symptoms of your stress and find a safe way to release the building pressure—you’re going to explode.
Before you say or do something harmful, please do something helpful.
Talk to a trusted friend or counselor. Pray, fast, and participate in other spiritual disciplines. Get moving and get some sleep. Build in Sabbath rest. But most of all, lean on God.
A short verse in the passage I plan to preach on this Sunday as we conclude our “Exiles” series tells us, very simply, what to do with all that pressure, all that stress and all that frustration:
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
In one short inspired verse of scripture we are told what to do and why to do it. Recognize the pressure building up inside you and the burden of stress you are carrying, and let go of it. All of it.
More specifically, give it to God. Let him take it off your shoulders and out of your heart, and let Him replace it with healing and hope.
Cast your anxiety on him. That’s the what, but even more notably, here’s the why: “…because he cares for you.”
God cares deeply for you. He cares that you are carrying what feels like the weight of the world. He cares that you are going through a tough time. God cares that you are hurting, or grieving or struggling. He cares that you have experienced great loss or that you can’t seem to catch a break.
He hurts with you and cares for you.
God wants to carry what is weighing you down. Jesus already bore your greatest burden when he willingly went to the cross. He removed the sins that separate you from God.
Not only is God’s care for you unmatched, his strength is unequaled. No burden you are trying to carry is too heavy for him. So give it to him, and leave it with him. Don’t take it back. You can trust God.
Letting pressure continue to build will only result in a destructive explosion. God wants to help you, so just let him.