We determined it had been almost five years since I’d seen her. I didn’t plan to stay away so long, life just got busy. Thoughts of contacting her became fewer and farther apart as the years went on. Making time for this visit finally became a priority and here I was.
My massage therapist welcomed me like an old friend. We chatted as I relaxed between warmed sheets. It already felt good to be back in her care.
Tight muscles were reluctant to yield to her touch. As she worked, I was frequently asked if the pressure was okay. Her goal was to go deep enough to release the knots but not so much as to hurt me. She was careful not to give me more than I could handle at that time. Just over an hour later, I left feeling relaxed and with a better range of motion.
Had she not constantly monitored the pressure used, it may have been a different story.
The next morning, God reminded me that he constantly monitors the level of pressure in my life. He gives me enough to strengthen me but not enough to break me. At times it may seem like more than I can handle. That is because it’s been too long since I’ve spent time with Him. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
I was never meant to carry the load on my own. So much of the pressure in my life is self-imposed. Jesus is ready and willing to walk with me through whatever situation I face. That is the greatest pressure relief I could ask for.
Early on a Saturday morning, I was on the highway heading to an appointment an hour from home. Although I’d allowed extra time, it looked like the slowdowns for road repair would eat up every minute of it.
I hate to be late and it looked to me as if that was going to be the case. The tension was starting to build.
Near the end of a lengthy slowdown, was a flag person holding a sign reminding us to proceed slowly. What made her memorable was the big smile and friendly wave she gave to the passing vehicles.
I couldn’t help but smile and wave back. Her simple gesture of kindness relaxed me. When I arrived at my destination (right on time) my stress had dissolved and I was in a positive state of mind.
This woman understood the pressure drivers feel when forced to add extra time to their commute and did something to break the negativity. The effect of this would have reached more than the motorists she encountered. When I’m in a better state of mind I treat those I come in contact with in a more positive manner. They, in turn, pass along positive rather than negative emotions to those they interact with. The ripple effect of one act of kindness can be staggering.
A friendly smile, a sincere compliment, holding a door open for the person behind me; these cost only a minute of my time but have the potential of changing someone’s outlook that day. The more I practice random acts of kindness, the more opportunity I have to change the world. What an exciting concept!
“Kindness carries no price tag neither does it require making a purchase. A random act of kindness can change someone’s life…choose to be kind always.” ― Kemi Sogunle
The wording on labels can sometimes evoke a meaning for me that I’m fairly sure is not what the manufacturer had in mind.
Such was the case when I spotted some old glass pop bottles at a yard sale. The Sprite bottle’s green glass had a white banner on the neck with the words Contents under pressure. Handle with care. I called my husband over to see it and said, “Some people should have that warning label!”
My amusement faded when I realized that I have often qualified as one of those people. Too many things to do and not enough time to accomplish everything can put me under pressure. This is usually something I’ve brought upon myself, either by taking on more than I should or procrastinating until I’m short on time. Even so, the pressure builds and those around me need a warning to stay clear, lest I explode.
This doesn’t happen as frequently as it did in the past. I am learning to bring my plans to Jesus. When I ask for his direction on what to say, “yes” or “no” to, my life runs much smoother. By making time with him the number one priority on my list I am better equipped to handle whatever comes my way. His guidance will enable me to keep the pressure under control. There is no better way to start my day than letting Jesus handle it with his loving care.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3 NIV)
I opened a small box and admired the lovely brooch inside. Many eyes were on me as I was asked if I knew why this design was chosen for me.
Our family has a Scottish heritage and the gift had come from Scotland but I figured there was more to it than that. Focusing on the design in the stone I struggled to see what images were there. My family laughed as I came up with some interesting interpretations.
After a few minutes my son-in-law took pity on me and asked how many thistles surrounded the stone. That was the clue I needed. There were eight, one for each of my grandchildren.
The stone itself was a Heathergem, made from the stems of the heather plant. Basically, the heather is picked, dried, died and then mixed together and compressed. Eighty tons of pressure is required to press the block of stems together. It was incredible to think this lovely stone was once the stems of a plant.
The first lesson I learned from this gift was that sometimes I look so hard to find a complicated solution that I overlook the answer that is right in front of me.
Lesson two was that pressure is not always a negative thing. It is not pleasant to go through times of intense pressure but this stone was evidence that the results can produce something of strength and beauty that would not otherwise be possible.
I need to remember that God can take any situation and produce something good from it. I only need to give it to him and allow him to do his work.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)