Pressure Will Make or Break Your Leadership
As Christians, we are expected to do everything in our power the way that God wants us to. Even if life tells us that we are not as strong in the Lord as we portray ourselves to be, we still are held accountable for keeping on the full armor. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” What about the times when we are pushed so far to the edge in life that it is difficult to see, hear, or even recall God’s Word? The more we ignore the fact that trials and tribulations are going to come our way, the more embarrassing and intimidating those situations become for us when they come, pressuring us to give up on God’s Word.
There have been plenty of times when I’ve felt that what was going on in my life was too hard to handle alone and too heavy to carry by myself. I remember when I first started pursuing ministry work. During that time, my own personal issues had me so confused about my life’s choices that I was working toward developing an intimate bond with God that I knew I would never give up on regardless of the situation. With all glory to God, the ministry’s vision was implemented purely from faith and wonderful words of encouragement. I had no clue where to start (financially, whom to connect with), when to continue (are my efforts in vain?), and if there would ever be an end (failure). Of course I had faith. Yes, I did pray, but that pressure was closer to me than a reflection, forcing me to take on biblical principles and apply them in my personal life one day at a time.
I worked to somehow make pain turn into reality for other women who had endured adversity in their lives, while biblically dealing with the conviction of personal struggles in my own. I wanted to somehow let other women know they are not alone in this fight called life. There are other women who struggle with different obstacles but the same pain, different situations and circumstances but the same feelings of hurt and options of escape. But we have the same hope, all in the name of Jesus. So I named this ministry Sisters Yielding Righteousness under Pressure (SYRUP).
When we decide that we are not going to let life’s obstacles stand in the way of what God has promised by trusting his Word, we then utilize faith at its maximum capacity. This pressure makes who we are in God’s work as leaders. When we try our best to hide the fact that we are going through the trying times of life, it almost makes us look perfect. Being a Christian does not mean that we have to be perfect. Actually, we must just allow faith to hold our heads up, God’s Word to keep our minds at peace, and prayer to get us to the blessing that always comes after a test.
When was the last time someone genuinely asked you how you were doing? You probably answered with something neutral like “Fine,” “Blessed,” or “Hanging in there.” Sometimes we deny the fact that we only hope on the inside that things can and are going to get better through faith. Rest assured, the Bible says “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11). How we actually feel about the pressures of life and what we are supposed to feel are two different things. Our flesh can possess feelings of loneliness and fear when pressure comes our way that is too hard to handle. We have to remember that we walk in the Spirit of God and he does not give us the spirit of fear.
At times acknowledging our feelings can be mistaken as complaining, but on the contrary, in order to have a testimony we must have a test. In the Bible it says to be angry but not sin (Ephesians 4:26). The major factor in this equation is the way in which our feelings are acknowledged. If God’s Word is the truth and the light, and it acknowledges human anger, then why not be honest with ourselves? Just recently I felt frustrated with the way that I was handling the pressures that were coming into my life. I felt as if I was letting them finally win. I had to remind myself of who I am in the eyes of God and not who I used to be without him. At that time, I recalled the Scriptures that say, “Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:37) and “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
We have to acknowledge the fact that we may just need more of his spiritual healing to not go beyond the scope of righteousness when we are pressured. If we are not taking care of our own spiritual well-being, then who is? Without the proper nourishments, such as meditating day and night on God’s Word, our spiritual life could become extremely weak. Life holds too many disappointments and upsets to be spiritually weak and not able to speak Scripture to those intimidating situations. This weakness could potentially result in our faith crumbling right along with everything else around us. As leaders it is hard to handle the pressures that come with leadership, but just know that we can and already are equipped to do it! Hold on to what God pierces your soul with. God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. See that he will continuously do what he said he would, as he has always done for us.
Deidra M. Fulsom is founder and president of SYRUP (Sisters Yielding Righteousness under Pressure) in Memphis, Tennessee.