Pressure involves being backed into somebody else's corner. Some of those tight spots feel worse than others, yet they all have a few things in common. They're uncomfortable. We might reluctantly give in, or we may be forced to temporarily give up. Either way, pressure can be overpowering.
Whether we're dealing with a skirmish or an all-out war, pressure wants its way. Pressure wants to convince us that we're helpless, leave us in a heap of guilt and shame, and rob us of our hope. Pressure fights dirty, girls.
Depending on your circumstances, you might have a difficult time resisting the pressures in your life. Time to . You need a hero. I know One who's undefeated.
Before we jump onto the back of His white horse, we'd be wise to know our areas of weakness. Chances are you won't need a lot of help figuring them out.
Does your pressure deal with sex? What if your boyfriend disagrees with your beliefs? If he doesn't respect your boundaries, you're dealing with some pretty heavy pressure. I've heard several scenarios from the young ladies I've spoken to over the years. They hear garbage like, "You did it before, you've got to do it again," or the old, "You'd do it if you really loved me." Pressure can sound so convincing.
What's a girl to do?
Be alert! Even if he really loves you, and even if you've already done it before, you don't have to stay locked in that cell anymore. God wants to lead you out of that prison into His safety. He wants you to exchange all the gory details surrounding your pressures for the glory of living life victoriously. "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Jesus is a real man's Man. He's The Super Hero.
You may be thinking, "Then rescue me, already! What are You waiting for?" Jesus is waiting for you to follow His example. When Jesus was tempted and pressured by the devil, He fought back with Scripture. Check out Matthew chapter 4 for a detailed play by play. Satan shot an arrow; Jesus extinguished it with the Truth, God's Word. Jesus shot His own arrows and scattered the enemies (Psalm 18:14). Hallelujah! Our Jesus rules!
God will teach you to fight like that, too. Just ask Him to show you a Bible verse that addresses your specific pressures—something you can relate to. Maybe one of the Scriptures from this book has become meaningful to you. * If you need to, go deeper. Your future depends on it.
Some Bibles have a section called the concordance. You can go to that section, look up a key word like fear (Anyone else ever been afraid of dealing with pressure?), and find Psalm 91:5, along with a whole list of other examples. Psalm 91 reminds us that if we run into God's shelter, He will protect us. We will no longer fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. We can trust Him.
That little exercise is what people refer to as hiding God's Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). In one respect, it's simple. You choose to believe God and practice that belief by declaring His promises in times of peace and in times of pressure. On the other hand, it's monumental. We're talking about spiritual warfare, ladies. We're relying on the supernatural power of God to defend us in times of weakness. We're calling our Hero's hotline.
It may help to copy your favorite Scripture and carry it in your pocket. There have been times when I couldn't even trust myself to rely on my memory. I needed something I could get my hands on. If you don't want to carry the whole Bible around, a note containing God's promises would fit nicely in your pocket—so would a nickel. Confused about that?
Look at a nickel. It's got Psalm 56:11 stamped on it. "In God we trust." Nothing superstitious here—I don't believe in good luck charms. I do believe that the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). If you're in a tight spot and feel weird about whipping out a Bible verse, you can read that Scripture right off your nickel. Of course, if you're up to reading your Bible to your boyfriend the next time he pressures you, go for it! He might change his own views about sex before marriage in the process.
All types of sexual pressure are smothering. If you're not facing that enemy, praise God! Don't let down your guard, though. There are other pressures that can be dangerous, as well. Pressure to drink, do drugs, and hang out with the wrong crowd can lead to devastation. I'm not trying to scare you into making certain decisions, not at all. I'm interested in keeping you empowered so that you don't get overtaken. Don't think it could happen to you? I believe it can happen to any of us.
Let me share part of my personal testimony with you. I believe that every person is a gift from God. I am so convinced of that truth that I spend a great deal of time sharing it with others through my involvement in different ministries. A continuous prayer of mine is that God will use my witness to uphold the sanctity of human life. God hears prayer (Psalm 65:2). He has answered mine in a way that is unmistakable. The experience was so intense that if not for His life-giving Word inscribed on my heart, I do believe I could have been overtaken.
When my husband and I drove into town for our third baby's prenatal ultrasound, the biggest question on our minds was confirming whether she was a girl or a boy.
In our case, a few other things were confirmed, as well. It was painfully clear that our tiny daughter's heart was only partially formed. Her specific heart defect along with some other "markers" made the doctors suspect Down Syndrome.
My husband and I were shocked. At first, I didn't even believe it. Their diagnosis seemed so outrageous that I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry.
We cried. We sat across from the heart specialist with tears streaming down our faces, and she suggested abortion. After all, close to 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are terminated. That knocked the wind right out of me. Here I was, a spokesperson for God's gracious gift of life, being asked to consider aborting the life of my own child.
It was then, at my weakest moment, that God strengthened my faith by flooding my mind with the life-affirming Scripture He had been hiding in my heart for so many years. We were pressed, but not crushed; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
God is so faithful. He did not abandon us in our time of great need. Rather, He extinguished our temptation to surrender and ignited a renewed passion to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. He gave me the voice to respond to that doctor's question.
As vulnerable as I was at that time, I did not have to worry about how I would defend myself or my unborn baby. God taught me what to say and showed me how to love not only with words but also with action and in truth (see Luke 12:12 and 1 John 3:18). My choice to allow my daughter to be born has demonstrated the blessing of life more than any speech I have ever given.
Pressure comes in all shapes and sizes. Yours is just as significant and can be just as overwhelming as your friend's, even if they're totally different. When not dealt with, any kind of pressure can leave you feeling out of control. That's a place I don't want to visit ever again.
Instead of freaking out over pressure, get out your nickel. Trust in God's strength to resist your pressure points, and you will have an answer for your opposition right when you need it (Psalm 119:41-43).
* From Learning to Live Happily Ever After by Shauna Amick (Life Cycle Books, 2008). For book orders and information about Shauna's speaking ministry, please visit www.yourwatermark.org.
Shauna Amick is a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher who has a passion for seeing people of all ages and circumstances go deeper with God. Contact her at Shauna@yourwatermark.org.