I may be dating myself here, but remember the song "Under Pressure" by Queen? 'Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you, no man ask for Under pressure that burns a building down Splits a family in two Puts people on streets' begins the song.
The song reflects on pressure in life: that which we put upon ourselves, and that which we allow others to put on us. We don't often realize it, but living under constant pressure can impact each of us significantly.
Last week during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, United States gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the team competition, and later from the individual competition. (At the time of this writing, I don't think she has completely withdrawn from the individual competition, but I may be wrong.) While the world was stunned at this news, Simone gave her reasons: that she needed to take a step back and reprioritize life.
And, with good reason: Health in any form is more important than winning the Olympics -- in any sport. I've watched the replay of her vault routine a couple of times that led to the decision. Even without the commentators remarks throughout the routine, and not being a gymnast (unless one counts getting out of bed when three cats are content in the same space), it's noticeable: Simone Biles is not herself.
Anxiety and pressure have a way of prompting us to respond or act in ways that are not necessarily ourselves. We may do things that aren't normal for us. We may find ourselves more impatient than normal. The littlest thing may cause us to burst into tears.
This past year has seen many people under a ton of anxiety and pressure. Worries over employment, housing, food security, the covid virus, the covid vaccine to name a few. With so many concerns on our minds, it's easy to feel as though the weight of the world rests on our shoulders. Should it? No, but it often feels that way. It shouldn't, and doesn't need to be this way at all.
Over the past few months, one image often used has been the anxiety and pressure people have been feeling is very much like an iceberg. From the surface, only so much can be seen. Underneath, the iceberg might be bigger and broader than realized. As the pandemic takes a new direction, the tip of the iceberg many chose to reveal has changed as well. The tip of the iceberg may have melted. More may be lying underneath. Some maybe trying to hold on for dear life.
Wherever you are on the iceberg, PLEASE KNOW, You are not alone. I am here for you. The church is here for you. If you need someone to talk to, to provide a vent from the pressure, I'm here for you. No questions asked, no assumptions made. Call me, text, email, smoke signal me -- anything! We can even go for a walk to help relieve the pressure and anxiety of life. There is more -- way more -- to life than living under and in a constant state of pressure.
More importantly, God cares deeply for you. God does not want to see you under constant pressure. Rather, God, through Jesus, invites all who are weary, and heavy laden, to come to Jesus, and Jesus will give rest. The rest Jesus gives clears anxiety, heals the soul, and provides relief.
Remember, I am here for you. We are here for you. Please reach out to help ease the pressure you may be feeling at this time. I'm praying for you. Praying for healing, for strength, for courage. Praying that in God's way, our paths may connect to help one another through the pressures we may each be experiencing.
May you know God's presence today, tomorrow, and always.
Blessings and grace,
Pastor Traci Glover