In years past those who lived on farms canned vegetables and meats.  The women were usually responsible for the canning.  They had two pressure cookers: a large one for canning and a smaller one with a handle for cooking.  One day my mother was cooking a roast in the smaller cooker.

Ka-boom!  Splat!

The cooker blew up, plastering the roast on the kitchen ceiling.  The safety valve, designed to let off excess steam, somehow got clogged; something had to give.  If mother had been in the kitchen, the shrapnel could have caused severe physical harm.

Compare this to the daily routine of living.  At times it seems pressure builds up inside of us with an explosive force.  If there is no release, we feel that we will fly apart.

There are several logical reasons for pressure: a complex society, demanding responsibilities, adversity and failures, just to name a few.  But pressure does not originate from the outside, it comes from inside the person; it’s our response to external circumstance.  

How can we deal with life’s pressures?  First, consider that some pressure is helpful.  Tension keeps us going and prods us toward performing tasks with excellence.  The problem is excessive pressure.  Therefore, it’s essential to implement safety measures to allow release before the exploding point.

Don’t make hasty decisions during times of extreme pressure.  When under a heavy load, some people have the urge to buy things.  They rush out and buy a new car, thinking this will give a feeling of accomplishment, and release some of the pressure.  If the car is financed, the increased payments will likely be a source of increased pressure.

Learn to deal with failures.  At some juncture in life we all fail.  By using wisdom and discernment, learning from the failures stimulates growth, and prevents us from making the same mistakes again.  

For example, Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times before he finally discovered the right combination of materials to make the light bulb.  Persistence pays great dividends.

A change of routine, a rest, or diversion are good safety valves.  Someone said, “If you don’t come apart and rest; you will come apart.”

During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ had many responsibilities.  Days and nights were consumed with labors to help the needy.  He chose twelve men to help with the work, yet the demands were beyond their capacity to deal with all the demands.

After a strenuous period when more than five thousand were fed, both physically and spiritually, He said to His disciples: “’Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’  For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31).

Keep your safety valve unclogged!  The release of excessive pressure gives strength for living.


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