Relief from the Pressure

The only thing that relieves pressure is preparation. I can remember walking into a biology class my freshman year of college and the teacher giving a “pop” quiz on assigned reading from the day before. I felt sick…..very sick…one, because I had made a low C on the first test, and second, now I had to take a “pop” quiz which I knew I would fail because I had not done the reading. It didn’t take me long to figure out that in college…..you better stay “prepared” or you were not going to be in college for long.

College taught me hundreds of things…especially with being away from home and being totally responsible for me. There was no one to rely on to do anything for me but me! I may have remained 5’2″ in college but I matured in other ways very rapidly………in those 4 years. Learning in my freshman year to stay “prepared” made a big difference during those 4 years. I found the more prepared I was, the more I thought ahead and took care of business, my business, the things I was responsible for….In turn, I felt less pressure….which meant better sleep, more peaceful insides, less headaches, happier days, and, yes, better grades.

Preparation doesn’t mean being perfect or having all the answers. It means doing what is within your power to prepare which puts yourself in a better position to succeed.

For years I have heard people talk about self-confidence and how to gain confidence…..let me just say, you can think positive….but there is nothing like spending the time and effort to PREPARE that provides a breeding ground for self-confidence. The first month of college was like “me,” a non-runner, trying to run a marathon……..it didn’t take me long to realize…..I had to start training/preparing to run the marathon of “college.” No one was going to prepare for me. It was something I had to do myself.

In the last six years my confidence has grown more than it has ever grown in my life. I would love to share with you, no matter what the age…how you can gain a “truckload” of confidence………PRAYER!

One thing that has given me more confidence than I have ever had in my life has been to devote myself to prayer…….! It has been the preparation of early morning hours…..of just me and God that has been the “liquid IV” of major peace, direction, wisdom, and answers for my life…….all of which came from a desire to commune with a HOLY God who knows the beginning, the end and the “in between”….of all of life.

The Bible speaks of God being the “Shepherd” and me/you/us being the sheep…..and us recognizing the Shepherd’s voice…..it has only been in the preparation of that quiet time….that I have been still enough to hear and REALLY recognize and distinguish God’s voice from man’s voice. John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

One example I can give of me gaining confidence and courage was the 5 years I spent in this discipline of prayer which prepared me for what would come this past February until now–watching my mom die and caring for my father who had a major stroke and pneumonia….all at the same time. As I sat by my mother’s bed with my dad and my sister in the early morning hours…watching the sun come up and shine on her frail, suffering face…..I had a peace that is unexplainable, a Godly confidence…..that came from the preparation….of prayer…that was built over hours and hours…..that was the source…….where my confidence came from.

I can’t help but think of Daniel who, after the decree was given for all the kingdom to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar, did not deviate from praying to God….he ignored man’s decree and remained faithful…..it doesn’t say how Daniel felt about going to the lions’ den…..but I do believe he had such a Godly confidence from his preparation in prayer. A prayer time that wasn’t just for a day, to cover an “emergency” need, but years of disciplining himself to pray. I imagine he must have felt even more peace than I felt…..in my “lions’ den” in the last 8 months. At age 51, I could finally relate to Daniel!

Preparation is key in life….. prayer is the “muscle” that God wants us to exercise/strengthen for our purpose and life. When we fail to prepare we prepare to fail. Don’t fail…..I don’t want you to fail……Pray….it can start with 10 minutes a day of intentional quiet time and grow from there…..prayer doesn’t just prepare you for the “lions’ dens” of life…it also provides direction for fulfilling your created purpose.

I love how dependent Moses became on prayer for direction from God…..I have found that to be an “exciting” time in my prayer life…..when you know that you know…God is opening a door….the greatest thrill I have experienced in my life is walking through a “door” that I know has been opened by a HOLY God……If you know me at all…you know “writing” books and a “blog” are doors that only God could have opened and ushered me in.

Prepare today….don’t wait….develop… your prayer life….I promise…..the Godly confidence you will gain will be better than anything else you will ever experience.

Psalm 42:8, “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”

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