Episode notes

If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

Proverbs 24:10 NLT

Though most of us have dreams, many of us stop fighting to fulfill them because we don’t feel like we can handle the pressure that comes with them.

Without God giving us the strength to keep pushing through, we will become discouraged and fail under pressure. The above scripture is actually a positive message, because it is one that should drive us to ask the question, “How does my relationship with God need to change so I can handle pressure?” Russ Ewell sits down with Scott and Nick to talk about what we do with the pressure we feel, and how God is the only way to help us not give up in the midst of pressure. 


Russ: 00:04 Welcome to the deep spirituality podcast. We know for some of you listeners, you haven’t heard us for a little while. That’s cause we’ve been working, podcasting’s not our primary job, but it’s the job we love to do. And so we’re back and we’re going to be rolling. We got one we’re very excited about today. Hope you’re doing well and if you’re not doing well, I can almost guarantee you’re going to be doing better after this because this study and this discussion is designed around the idea of stress, but really what happens to us when we’re facing stress and how to handle it, which essentially is pressure. That’s the whole thought behind today’s podcast. It’s about pressure.

Russ: 01:05 I did talk on this and not that long ago about spiritual strength, how Jesus handled pressure, but really what I think it’s about after having more time to study it and to evaluate it, looking at my own life and the pressure, I feel the stress I feel, looking at how different ones can crumble under pressure can get angry under pressure is that it’s dream pressure and Jesus handled pressure so well we’re going to focus in on him, but it’s dream pressure. How we handle dream pressure will determine whether our dreams come true. A lot of us have no, all of us have dreams, but not all of us fulfill those dreams. one of the reasons we don’t fulfill dreams is there’s a price to be paid for any dream. Whether your dream is to learn how to as a little kid like I did, I used to want to skateboard and want to be able to get on that skateboard. And back then they had a Charlie brown episode and everybody in the Charlie Brown episode was skateboarding and I was like, I want a skateboard. But the price of skateboarding was falling off, falling down and falling on the ground and getting scraped up.

Russ: 02:18 So eventually I just was like, I don’t need to skateboard because I didn’t want to pay the price. Pressure is the price of every dream. Whether you want to be good at golfing, whether you want to get a guitar, whether you want to be good at fashion, whether you want to be a great runner, whether you want to be an artist, writer, a singer, a composer, a radio disc jockey, a podcaster, a whatever you want to be, be married, have kids, there’s going to be dream pressure. And what’s going to determine whether or not our dreams come true is whether or not we learn how to handle the pressure of the dream. So let’s first break it down a little bit and talk about the idea of pressure. What is pressure like? Well, we certainly feel pressure physically but, and that could come out and know it has with me blood pressure that can come out with headaches that can come out with, I’ve had this before, butterflies, upset stomach, really getting nauseous.

Russ: 03:14 All kinds of physical signs, skin rashes, you know, infections. Our immune system under pressure breaks down and we become more susceptible to the colds, the flu. But where does a lot of that pressure come from? A lot of that pressure comes from three areas. It’s spiritual, it’s emotional, and it’s mental. If we learn how to handle the spiritual and emotional and mental pressure of our lives, we’re going to have a lot easier time handling the pressure that I call dream pressure. And so dream pressure comes down to a lot of things, right? sometimes dream pressure is simply about will I be willing to take on the responsibility of the dream. So in Deuteronomy 1:12, it says, how can I alone bear the weight and pressure and burden of you and your strife, contention and complaining. That’s the new living translation of that.

Russ: 04:10 How can I do this? How can I handle the weight? How can I handle the pressure? A lot of times that comes to leaders leaders have difficulty. Not Because leading is hard. It is, but it’s hard because of the pressure, the pressure of responsibility, the spiritual, the emotional pressure, the mental pressure. And so again, think about this emotional pressure. II Corinthians 11:28, Paul describes in the Bible how he feels emotional pressure. And don’t get thrown off because maybe you don’t lead like he led. You can have emotional pressure from anything in your life. Besides those external things, there’s the daily inescapable pressure of my concern for all the churches. That’s the new living translation. II Corinthians 11:28 so what you get is you can get a pressure from concern. In his case, the emotional pressure was his responsibility for churches.

Russ: 05:05 But in our case, we can feel the pressure of concern over our marriage, over our kids, over our family’s health, over a friend’s health, over our parents’ health as different ones of us grow older. I know this is the case for me. And you have parents who have health challenges or life challenges. You can feel the emotional pressure of that. And so emotional pressure is the kind of pressure that goes on inside of you and causes you to feel fear, causes you to feel anxiety. And the question really we have to ask is, do we avoid emotional pressure by deciding not to feel? One of the things that happens is your dreams come out of the passion of your heart. And that’s why Nehemiah says that God laid on his heart. If you want a great a great read, a great study, read Nehemiah 1 And 2 and look at how Nehemiah builds toward his dream.

Russ: 06:00 He doesn’t tell us till after he’s prayed and fasted and done all the spiritual work that the reason he did all that work was the dream and he ran full bore into the pressure. But sometimes even when we see the dream, we go, I feel too much pressure. I don’t want to feel it. I’m going to give up on the dream. And so we have to learn how to handle emotional pressure. Why doesn’t our relationship with God help us to handle the pressure? Because that’s really what ought to happen is our relationship with God ought to help us handle pressure. Psalm 91:14. For here is what the Lord has spoken to me because you delighted in me as my great lover. I will greatly protect you. I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face. I will answer your cry for help every time you pray and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble.

Russ: 07:06 I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast. Psalm 91:14-16 and the TPT or passion translation. God, when we seek out God instead of running away or avoiding, deciding not to feel, deciding not to dream, deciding not to do, deciding to give into our fear. Instead of doing that, the Bible here says, cry out to God. He says, I will answer your cry for help every time you pray and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I know in my life and I’ve got two guests, Scott Colvin and Nick Straw today and I’m sure they can relate to this in my life. I find that the main issue I have in my life is not the amount of stress I have, but the way I handle my stress and the way I handle my pressure.

Russ: 08:02 And a lot of times I’m not actually going to God with all that pressure and all of that stress in order to handle it. And so the question we have to ask is, why in the world am I not able to handle this? Instead of us always walking around together talking about our chronic stress and the fact that we need to get over to the ocean or get over to the pond or get over to the lake or get some chips and salsa or get some ice cream. Maybe instead of doing that, we ought to say, wait a minute, could God possibly be the reason I’m not able to handle this? Do we quit? Do we quit on our dream? Do we quit on our life because we are quickly abandoning God when we face pressure.

Russ: 08:42 Matthew 13:20 the one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground. This is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy. Yet, He has no substantial root in himself but is only, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away, abandoning the one who is the source of salvation. Matthew 13:20 to 21 in the amplified version of the Bible, we can get ourselves into trouble because we don’t end up going to God and because we don’t end up going to God, we end up quickly giving up, I think on our dreams. We ended up stumbling, falling and getting discouraged, not realizing it wasn’t the pressure that got us. It was the fact that we abandoned God specifically. How does that happen? We stopped reading the Bible everyday we start reading, we read the Bible, but we don’t listen to it. We stopped praying. We cut it short.

Russ: 09:39 You know, if you’ve got a big dream, five minutes of prayer, 10 minutes of prayer, 15 minutes per day probably isn’t going to Power that dream into reality. And if you’ve got a challenging life, you work a job, you’re married, you have kids, you’ve got financial situations to deal with. You have some stress from taking care of being a caretaker of, of your parents or a kid or an extended member member of your extended family. How are you going to handle that pressure? I want you to think for a minute before I get into a conversation with Scott and nick. Are you under enormous pressure? Don’t compare yourself to anybody else. Think only about how you feel. Maybe you’re driving early in the morning, going to work at 5:00 AM at 6:00 AM maybe you’re laying down the bed and you think, I’m going to listen to podcasts, go to sleep on it.

Russ: 10:22 Hopefully we can help you at sleep, sleep comfortably and sleep peacefully. But whatever it is, are you handling the pressure well. You know, I had a, a person I met not that long ago in my community where I live and I just met him through a friend in my community where I live. You know, not, not my direct neighborhood, but you know, bigger. But I met him. Good Guy, nice guy. I got to talk to him that talked to him a second time. We were kind of joking, and wanted me to go on a ride with him and the guy knew really well and go hang out at this coffee shop. And I was like, Hey, I’m walking. I’ll just walk. Cause that’s what I do. Early in the morning I like to walk. And got there and saw him and it was like the third time I’d seen him and I was like, I’m going to get to know him better.

Russ: 11:05 He’s really a nice guy. Good job, good family, a few kids. Committed suicide. Out of nowhere, to me and out of nowhere to my friend who was a really best friend to him. What am I trying to say? We have to learn how to handle pressure. Now I know that’s mental health issues. So I’m not saying that that’s what it was, but I’m saying that all of us face strains and struggles and if you do have a mental health challenge, you got to get help. And we gotta be a society that’s more accepting and more welcoming and people with mental health challenges. But my point is there’s so much pressure on all of us every day it’s easy to break down. And when we’re helping each other get a relationship with God and we’re providing support in the community, we have a whole lot better chance of having good people like the guy was just getting to know, not feel like that’s the only answer, to feel like there are other answers.

Russ: 11:54 And I think we have to do better. In putting God out front for people and in creating communities that are really supportive. And so I’m going to turn to Scott and nick to kind of tell us about pressure and God, how they feel about it, what they think about it. And I want to read you one last scripture in proverbs 24:10 if you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. That’s a positive scripture because it’s one that asks us the question, how does my relationship with God need to change so I can handle pressure? What are you thinking, Scott? What are you thinking Nick?

Scott: 12:24 Yeah, I was thinking as you were talking about the physical manifestations of pressure, when I don’t turn to God, certainly my blood pressure is high. I’m on medication for that. but I also thought back when I ran track and cross country and before races, I would always be really nervous and feel pressure and it manifested itself by me yawning. So I would yawn before races and that’s a thing. I guess I looked it up. And so but it worked for me because everybody else thought I was like, cool. And like I didn’t feel nervous at all.

Scott: 12:59 So it worked for me. It did not work for me when I went on dates later with Margot and I was nervous and I would start yawning. She was like, you’re bored. Social pressure. So yeah, I’ve historically tried to put off pressure as long as I can and because I don’t like feeling the uncomfortable, the uncomfortability of pressure. and that’s, you know, reflection with my relationship with God, for sure. I remember one time with a school, nick and I were actually just talking about this beforehand. My first class in college was chemistry class and it was the exact same book that I had in high school. So I was like, oh, I got this, this is gonna be nothing. And it was this big seminar class, 450 people in it.

Scott: 13:49 And I blew off the class all semester. Oh boy. I’ve done that. The final four, 100% of my grade. Oh. And I went into, I was freaking out. I was, you know, pounding down the coffee and back then it was jolt Cola that had a mountain dew that had all of the caffeine in it. And I was just freaking out because, because I didn’t want to deal with pressure along the way. I pushed it forward and then it all came crushing down on this. So I mean I ended up sneaking out a B in the class. I ended up coming through it, but put myself through tremendous amount of strain, unnecessarily.

Russ: 14:26 You didn’t mention you prayed or anything. So I guess that wasn’t on the table.

Scott: 14:31 It was not, there was no God involved in that, in that process at all. Just caffeine. No God.

Russ: 14:35 And so I, I remember a similar experience, accounting class and it was not a seminar class that it was a little bit more intense in that it was, you know, it was, it was people who were a lot of people in there were accounting majors. I was an economics major, but so I was in the class and it had gone pretty well cause one of my friends had taken the class before. So he was kind of tutoring me and helping me along. And then before the final, which was about 50% of the grade which, you know, it’s better than a hundred percent, but I was studying the day before and I hadn’t studied that much and I fell asleep and I hadn’t really told my roommates what I was doing like that I had at final the next day or they would have woke me up. And so I was studying, I laid back for a little bit and it was early.

Russ: 15:25 It was probably 10, and that’s early for college, right? Yeah. And I was out, I woke up the next morning at like eight 30. Oh see that’s a nightmare. And class is at 10 maybe 8:30, 9 and I was like, I’m just done because it’s gonna take me 15-20 minutes to walk to class. So I’m done. I go, I might as well just go eat breakfast cause I’m done. But I was a Christian. And so I prayed and I said, you know, someone had somehow had heard this, God give me recall of what I’ve learned. And then I was like, you know, I remember I said something, some crazy religious statement like, well at least I’m going to heaven so I don’t need, so I went down, I remember I ate my breakfast and I went on in the class.

Russ: 16:09 I ended up getting an A- on that vine. No logical reason for it. The point I’m making is that the difference between having faith and being a Christian and then being able to rely on God to help you through the pressure. Now I’m not recommending that people fall asleep, pray and go eat breakfast. I don’t think that’s a formula for success, but what I’m saying is: pressure handled with God is so different than what you just described.

Scott: 16:35 I think about the scripture where Peter fell asleep in prison. He was in all the pressure, yes, but he was able to sleep. He was able to be calm. Yes. Just like going and having breakfast. Yes, because he knew God had his back as opposed to like me in that moment, freaking out what’s going to happen.

Russ: 16:51 I wish I had been like Peter and wish I was spiritual. I don’t think I was but, but at least it worked out so I could have that story to tell you now. I do think we want to keep in mind what Scott was saying. How are you handling pressure? We just described two different ways and we’ve known each other a long time. So I’ve got as many dastardly stories as he does. But I want you to be thinking right now, how do I handle pressure? Because one of my experiences with people is a lot of times they blame stress for all of the crazy reactions we all can have instead of saying, wait a minute, yes I have stress. But have I ever questioned how I handle pressure.

Nick: 17:31 yeah. I was thinking about this scripture actually. If you feel under pressure, your strength is too small and I think pressure reveals where you’ve been going to get strong. Because for me, as I looked back, reflect on my life, I don’t think I’ve ever handled a pressure of very well, but I sure have blamed a lot of things. It was my coach for not playing me enough. It wasn’t the fact that I buckled under pressure. This class is too tough. Like we shouldn’t have this test. I had a lot of school. I recently went to my Alma Mater Santa Clara University go Broncos. But I was remembering how I handled pressure in college and whether it was a midterm or a final or anything coming up, I found ways to justify procrastinating.

Nick: 18:33 I would play chess with roommates at midnight. We would have a foosball tournament. The day of. I lived with eight other guys my junior year. The day of, we had a foosball tournament until two in the morning. Then I have to write a paper. So it was anything to not have to deal with the truth of I have to do this. There’s a test coming up. I feel nervous about studying. I didn’t study enough for it. I don’t know exactly what I’m going, how I’m going to finish this paper, whatever it might be. And so I think pressure often times is just facing the facts and reality of the stress of life. and I think the one story that kind of pressure kind of reveals where I’ve been at is I played high school basketball and I was six man my senior year.

Nick: 19:24 We were undefeated. In league and we’re entering playoffs. Then two guys from my team get kicked off the team for drug tests. I went to prep school, they had random drug testing, so I ended up a prep school. Anyway, second leading scorer is kicked off the team and all of a sudden I find myself in the starting lineup. I am, you know hey, you’re the third leading score. Nick come on time to step up now. And I’m like, okay. I was not ready for it. I didn’t handle it well. I was so focused on what people thought of me about getting pulled out of the game. But our star point guard, he was California state player of the week back to back weeks in those first two playoff games cause he’s scoring like 50 points a game.

Nick: 20:19 He was very cool under pressure, but I was so hesitant to make a decision. It’s about four or five games into playoffs for NorCal playoffs, winner of NorCal and SoCal plays in the State Championship, right? So we’re kind of getting deep into playoffs. We’re down by one end of the game, 10 seconds left. I get a long rebound just past the free throw line. I hear the star point guard calling for the ball. I looked to my left I’m about to pass. I’m about to pass to him. I just look for half a sec. I get stripped. Breakaway lay up down the other way. But I’m hesitating. I’m nervous, I’m afraid. I’m like, should I shoot? Should I not? I get stripped, scored on the other way.

Nick: 21:08 We got about three, four seconds left. Come back, shoot a three to tie, lose the game. Everybody’s crying, right? That’s the end of our high school, my high school career anyway. But the point being is I had not been put in pressure or put myself in pressure. I blamed the coach for not playing me. I blamed other people for not taking risks, circumstances, everything going on around me. But I didn’t just face the truth where, Hey, I’m afraid I don’t want to shoot. I don’t want to take risks on the court. And because I didn’t face that truth and work on it. I wasn’t ready when the moment came. And I relate that to my relationship with God now because the thing that I feel like when I buckle under pressure now, it’s because I’m not telling myself the truth of what’s really going on with me.

Nick: 21:57 Hey, I don’t handle pressure well or just the fact that I’m feeling a lot of pressure. Now what do I do? God, can I get some help? Hey, okay. Can I find some scriptures? I don’t do that. I pretend that I’m handling it well. So I think one of the biggest things that I’m seeing that I need to change to handle pressure well is be completely honest with God. Not Halfway honest. As you mentioned, talking for or praying for 10 minutes. As you get older in life, 10 15 minutes doesn’t cut it. You need time to talk to God. And then even in that time, I need to make sure I’m being completely honest, not halfway.

Nathan: 22:34 Pardon the interruption to the podcast. We wanted to let you guys know something new that’s going on on the deepspirituality.com website. Music speaks to the soul and helps us express parts of ourselves that are too deep for words. Through music we can understand and express our sadness, anger, happiness, insecurities and so much more through music we can go from feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, to calm and at peace with God. So this month we’ve launched a new playlist, a new Spotify playlist to get you into your feels. And I have Parker and Alexis here to tell us just very briefly, what is the new playlist called?

Alexis: 23:11 The new playlist is called, I’m feeling anxious, and so that’s when you know you’re feeling a little nervous. Maybe you feel stressed about something and you need to be at peace and calm.

Parker: 23:24 Yeah, it’s really good. I mean I feel anxious all the time and there’s lots of good music. There’s some Kendrick on here, some Drake, some Julia Michaels, some Selena (Gomez). There’s a lot of good people on here, but it’s a good progression from being anxious and all these kinds of thoughts and feelings that you can have and then to the end realizing like the grand scheme of things and being able to get through that anxiety. I’ve listened, literally listened to this when I feel anxious like throughout and it helps. The best part of this is being able to listen to it and it helps to even see from God’s perspective how he can help you be at peace and get that from a musical perspective.

Nathan: 24:03 Awesome. Thank you guys for letting us know. Again, that’s the, I’m feeling anxious Spotify playlist you can find on deepspirituality.com all right. Back to the show.

Russ: 24:14 Just a little bit more on that. What do you mean by completely honest? I think I know what you mean, but I just think for our listeners they might want to understand, and then I’ll come to Scott and ask Scott to give us a little bit more detail about what, both of you guys are family men, but his family is older. What happens with regard to pressure at home and raising kids and managing life? Cause I think a lot of us don’t always face the fact that we might handle pressure while at work. We might handle pressure well when we play, but we don’t handle or like or engage with the pressure at home. I think there are a lot of listener guys particularly that face that.

Nick: 24:56 But I’m, I’m thinking complete honesty means what? I’ll give an example of marriage. Okay, let’s be in a home. So it’s me going to God and, I love my wife, but I also get angry and frustrated and hurt feelings. I can’t even believe that happened. All that stuff.

Russ: 25:17 I appreciate you making it up to relate. You’re making us feel better. Cause we do get angry and we do all that. I get that. I don’t believe it. I just look at you right now and I go, this guy’s holy, but me, I think he’s doing something. You know how people kind of relate to you without telling you they’re talking about you. I feel like that right now.

Nick: 25:36 So I’ll go to my relationship with God. I’ll be like, okay, you know, I really love Jen. I really love my kids, but I don’t want to be honest about the hurt feelings I have. I’m seeing a lot of selfishness in my relationship with Jen because if I’m honest about that, that means me and Jen need to have a conversation. And which puts a little pressure to make sure we get resolved okay. And are close again and quite frankly, that I genuinely am really loving her.

Russ: 26:03 That’s a tremendous example I think and I and hopefully helps people. I think what people might want though is a breakdown on what does that mean. So when you think about complete honesty, what does it mean? You get up in the morning, you get out of the house, you go and you start praying. How do you even start? How do you even do it? Do you say, Hey God, I want to tell you how you, how I feel? Do you start with just what you feel and you think of things you feel? Cause sometimes people don’t even know what they feel. So how do you, how do you attack cause complete honesty. That word complete. That’s an extraordinary, very complete adjective is completely right for me.

Nick: 26:40 The first thing I have to do is ask what am I really thinking right now? What am I feeling right now? I usually go in the past 24 hours. Identify what sins that I saw. I’ve done, whether it be selfishness, criticalness, pride, lies identified, Sin identifies that. Typically identify with what I feel. And the first one is always tired. And then I go into others, but the first one I’m always tired. Every morning I wake up sometimes because I went to bed late and I need to be like, okay, I need to adjust that for tomorrow.

Russ: 27:18 Sometimes it’s just so one of the things that I try to do is keep, be aware all the time of how I’m doing and how I’m feeling. So by the time I go to bed at night, I can almost do a little review. How did today go? What was today like? I talk to my wife about it. I think about it, I reflect on it. Even if we’re watching a movie or cleaning something, I’m just, I’m always the night before. So when I wake up the next morning, I usually have a theme in mind that I focus on. So like the name of the podcast really is, is, well not the name of it, but the dream pressure’s the big thing I came up with this morning because when I looked at my life, I went, I have dreams, I have a vision, but where I fall down is on pressure, the pressure to change, you know, the emotional pressure of responsibility for a family and other people. And so I wake up in the morning knowing right away this is where I need to go. And then when I get into this is where I need to go, I’m able to talk about the emotions and the specific emotions connected to the pressure I feel.

Russ: 28:31 So I think one thing that a lot of people don’t know to do is you can’t wait to the morning of your quiet time to figure it out. You got to know before, and oftentimes I’ll try to figure out what am I going to read tomorrow morning. And I have a little notebook I always bring with me. Sometimes I’ll just put in, a lot of people have smart phones. I have a little note the notepad and in my phone, I’ll just jot down a couple things in that notepad. So when I wake up in the morning, it’s on my mind. So I think we have, I think people really need a lot of help. It’s such a powerful thing. And I know you do all kinds of things on your own. It’s such a powerful thing that I think people want it, but they don’t know how to get it.

Russ: 29:10 And that’s why quiet time takes time, you know, because you can’t just, you can’t just go, I’m gonna have my quiet time from 6-7:30. It’s not about that. You gotta be with God all the time. So that in some ways, your quiet time might began at nine o’clock at night on a Wednesday for the quiet time on Thursday morning at 6:00 AM that when we compartmentalize, we get in trouble. This is a huge issue you brought up and I think you’ve described it great. We can’t handle pressure if we’re not honest about what we’re feeling pressure over.

Russ: 29:42 But maybe Scott can jump in and tell us a little bit, how do you manage the spiritual pressure and if you guys have any scriptures you can throw them in of your own. But how do you manage the spiritual pressure of family? Cause I think a lot of guys, I don’t know what the right age would be to pick, let’s just pick 30 you know a lot of guys over 30 I think that have kids, babies, whatever. I think sometimes they don’t even know it’s pressure that they feel so can you talk a little bit about that?

Scott: 30:10 I think a lot of the pressure I feel at home is the pressure because I want control, and that is my response to not being aware of what’s going on with me emotionally. Let me control everything. And I can’t control the emotions of my home no matter how much I try and want to, I can’t control them. I can’t lock them down. Yeah. And by control you mean get everybody to behave right. I want everybody to behave right. So that home is smooth so that I feel less pressure so that we can go to bed and not, you know, be exhausted. Let me control it to be exactly how I want it all to go. And when I can’t do that, which I never can, I get angry. And that’s, that’s when it comes out and I try to force everybody to do what I want them to do. As opposed to the spiritual awareness of what’s going on with myself and everybody in my family emotionally. And it’s more important for us to be connected and honest than it is for us to be controlled and to behave.

Speaker 3: 31:16 So I think I feel a lot of the pressure about behavior versus control versus how are we doing and are we close?

Russ: 31:24 So let me ask you both a question just as fathers, cause you’re both fathers. How comfortable are you? Oh, hold on, let me rephrase that question. Do you feel emotional pressure from other people expressing emotion to you? Do you know what I mean? Is that a factor? Cause I think sometimes people don’t realize I’m feeling pressure because the person in front of me is crying for instance. I don’t think we even calculate that out or I’m feeling pressure because the person in front of me is angry.

Scott: 31:55 I feel that all the time mostly because I don’t know what to do because I’m in a spot where I’m not in control. I can’t fix the crying. I can’t fix the emotion that’s in front of me. And so then I don’t know what to do.

Nick: 32:07 That’s what I feel too, I was talking to my wife about this a few days ago, actually. In my mind I’m actually just thinking, I’m not actually thinking about anything. I’m trying to search for what to do cause I have no idea what to do. It’s like this indecisive moment I find myself in like trying to find the solution, but I either don’t know the solution or I am searching for the wrong solution. I don’t know. But there’s a, there’s a lot of pressure to either make it right or fix it.

Russ: 32:36 I think that’s why it’s hard sometimes for Christians to have good relationships because we don’t understand that. It’s not even that we don’t necessarily want to hear each other’s problems, but we can’t handle the pressure of hearing about the problem. And what we’re trying to say in the podcast is that’s why our relationship with God has to get better. I think our capacity to handle the emotional pressure, other people’s emotions, we often think about emotional pressure of our own. The emotional pressure of other people’s emotions is 100% based on our capacity to get strength from God. Ephesians 3 about getting that internal strength from God. I think there’s also social pressure. I don’t know if you guys feel that or not, but people can feel pressure just having to be around people having to have a conversation with people having to walk in a room and taught. And a lot of times we don’t, and people say, well, that’s somebody with a diagnosis.

Russ: 33:28 No. That’s a normal human problem is, like when I’m going to our church services which could have thousands of people at them and, I walk in, I’m like, oh my gosh, you know, it’s overwhelming socially because you know, anthropologists will tell you that the Max number of relationships with any one person can handle is about 150 and so when you got 3000 or 4,000 people in the space and maybe they know you, suddenly you’re feeling this kind of pressure. And I think we often times don’t identify what is making us feel pressure. Even when you do finances, right? You do your budget, you see the items in, in the black, you see the items in the red and suddenly you feel pressure. Right? Right. And I think a lot of times, the reason I’m talking about this subject is because I don’t think we take all that and go to God.

Russ: 34:19 Let’s just hit a few things in closing. I think we’ve done a good job. Spirituality then is really about learning from Jesus. And how he handled pressure, and we won’t be able to go into deep detail on this, but let’s give people a little something to work with. In Hebrews 12 in verse one it says, and I’m going to get you guys just to comment on this, and Hebrews 12 verse one voice translation. This is about Jesus. So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace and let us run with endurance. The long race set before us, hebrews 12:1-3 is really about Jesus.

Russ: 34:58 And in this particular part it tells us a little bit of what we can learn. If we look at the Gospels, Matthew, mark, Luke, and John. And we look at the life of Jesus. He was extraordinarily good at not carrying any extra weight. And of course being sinless, not letting any sin cling to him. And as a result he was able to move quickly. So when you talk about your dream, what you want to be able to do is move quickly and smoothly towards your dream, not be distracted, not be disrupted. you want to be able to keep on going at all times. And what I think that means is you’ve got to remove the unnecessary stress. What does that mean to you guys when you talk about the unnecessary sin, removing the extra weights and removing the sen and why that’s so important in order to handle pressure?

Scott: 35:44 I think the first thing I thought of was when you had mentioned earlier when someone has a lot of emotion that I’m listening to or talking to why I don’t handle it well, mostly it’s because I have my own emotion that I’m not dealing with with God and therefore I don’t have the strength to add someone else’s emotion to my own emotions. I’m talking to Margot and I already have fears that I’m not talking about and she expresses a fear to me. I want to shut that down immediately because it’s stirring up in me my own fears. So when I think about the scripture about dropping every extra weight, one of the most important things for me and my relationship with God is to talk to him about what I’m afraid of and figure out how to get courage from him and how to get faith from him so that I don’t bring that into the relationships and I can’t take any more on.

Russ: 36:28 Excellent. Good, good, good. Nick you were gonna say something?

Nick: 36:30 I was thinking whenever I’m guilty. That alone is pressure. You’re around people. You ended up being a little more paranoid. Oh Man. Are they going to ask me a question? Oh, I need to talk to them and relieve this guilt before we talk about anything else. So it ends up, adding whatever pressure is already there from life or emotions just adds onto it in every relationship. So that’s the big thing that I was thinking of in the times I’ve been most free of pressure have been times when I’ve just been, hey, what’d you see is what you get, here’s what’s going on with me. Here’s the good, hey, here’s the bad. And, and that’s, that’s most time I’ve been the most free in my life.

Nick: 37:14 By free you mean happy, relaxed, happy, relaxed, like hey, I’m not perfect. And that’s Ok. I feel, yeah, I’m just going to say as an oldest son, I felt a lot of pressure growing up to be a good example for the siblings. You have to be perfect, which is impossible. I think freeing guilt that’s been probably the most powerful thing, ebbs and flows throughout my Christian life that has helped relieve unnecessary pressure.

Russ: 37:50 So one of the things that, that I wanna kind of, you know get our audience to think about as they walk away from the podcast is removing unnecessary stress. That was one of the main ways Jesus handled pressure is just removing the unnecessary stress. and that means the things that are entangling us, when it’s unnecessary, it means we’re entangled in the emotional. Instead of working on the spiritual, we get entangled in our emotions. We get entangled in the emotions of other people. And when we turn to God, God gives us clarity. He not only gives us strength, but he gives us clarity so we can look and go what’s unnecessary. And a lot of times I think, you know, I know in my life I’m trying to do too much for too many.

Russ: 38:34 I’m trying to be too much for too many people. And so I think that a great deal of being able to handle life is you can’t try to take on more than you can do. I know for me growing up it was always about do more, do more, do more, do more, achieve more, accomplish more. But at a certain point in your life you have to say, you know what? Like one of the things I enjoy a lot is, is the idea of the concept and the practice of house churches and small groups in churches. I think a lot of times you can be big, but you really want to stay small as far as your emotional load. And that’s why I even think for leaders, it’s a big mistake in churches and organizations to put too much emotional weight on leaders. That’s what crushes them.

Russ: 39:14 And that’s why we have to have an empowering sort of experience where everybody’s getting strong enough in their relationship with God to be able to help out the people around them emotionally so that no one’s carrying too much weight. And I think if you look at Jesus and you see how he handled, he had the three Peter, James and John, he had the 12. All the apostles. He Never expanded much plus past the one 20, from what you can see, right? He spoke to lots of people, but he didn’t have those people daily involved in his life. Why? It’s an unnecessary weight. You’re not going to change the world by walking around with crowds of four or five or six or 10,000 people. You’re going to change the world by walking around with 12 people, spending special time with three people.

Russ: 39:57 And if you get down to the book of John, he was really dialed in to John as well. So that was one central relationship. And a lot of us, we carry around too much weight of trying to do too much for too many. Now there are other people who don’t carry around any weight and they’re isolated, but we’re not going to talk about that. And then the one you mentioned, so that’s the unnecessary. And then the unholy hiding sin increases guilt and insecurity, which wears us down emotionally. And Look, the sin doesn’t have to be bad. Everybody sends, we can, we can feel guilty about anything. Sometimes we feel guilty about things that aren’t even wrong. False guilt, you know, residual guilt. Things that happen a long time ago that should be forgotten and left aside. But because of it, it wears us down.

Russ: 40:37 So if you’re sitting out there today, here’s a couple of things to take away from the podcast. Number one, take some time and evaluate the way you handle pressure instead of just looking at how you feel about stress and look and say, what needs to change about my relationship with God so I better handle pressure. I think that’s the key thing. Would you guys agree? If people can just learn how to go to God and handle that pressure, it’s going to be a lot better. And then the unnecessary, the unholy, get things out of your life that are overwhelming you and are beyond your ability. And that doesn’t mean get God out of your life or serving God out of your life. That’s not the part. Get the other things out of your life. And then the unholy stop, as Nick’s talked about, eloquently, stop walking around with loads of unresolved guilt.

Russ: 41:27 Resolve the guilt. Figure out if it’s real. Figure out if it’s residual, figure out if it’s false, if it’s real, you know, just deal with it and know God forgives you. And I think we underestimate forgiveness. It’s very powerful and it’s very complete. Worry less about what people say and more about what God is thinking about us. Deal with it and say if it’s false guilt, meaning you’re feeling guilty about something you really shouldn’t feel guilty about, tell somebody so they can tell you to let it go. It’s not a big deal. It’s not real. And then if it’s residual guilt, I think, I know I deal with that. At some point you have to believe God, what did Paul say in Philippians three? Forgetting what is behind and straining or looking forward to what’s ahead. He said, that’s the one thing I do.

Russ: 42:08 And so today we hope you’re helped out by this podcast about pressures, deep spirituality. You can find our podcast, a deepspirituality.com as well as you’ll see a transcript when this is released. You can take a look there. so we hope you have a tremendous week. We’ll be coming at your more with greater podcasts. Thanks to nick and Scott for joining us. And hopefully next time we’ll even get more scotch track stories. He’s got more confessions of how he caused pressure in other people’s lives. And those people have had to, you know, be, you know, recover from the track destruction they experienced running against him in the great state of Michigan. Have a great one, this is deep spirituality, and we’re out.

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About the show

The Deep Spirituality Podcast is a show about having spiritual conversations. Join our Editor-in-Chief Russ Ewell and guests as they have candid discussions on spiritual topics ranging from faith to anxiety to vulnerability, inspiring you to go deeper in your relationship with God and have challenging and honest conversations of your own.

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