Ep 121: How do I handle the pressure to have it all?
Andrew Laird wrote a book about how to handle pressure, but in the process put himself under enormous pressure and subsequently crashed. A raw and honest conversation where Andrew confronts the pressures of life and shares with fresh insight how to handle them.
Our guest: Andrew Laird. Andrew works for City Bible Forum in Melbourne and directs Life@Work - an initiative aimed at connecting Christian faith with our daily work. He’s also the author of a book, Under Pressure: how the gospel helps us handle the pressures of daily work.
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Bigger questions asked in the conversation
Andrew, you’ve written a book about pressure? Now when I type in Under Pressure book into Google, your book doesn’t appear until the second page - there are lots of other books called Under Pressure about cooking, sports, performing under pressure, and even a romance novel. Do you think that the popularity of Under Pressure as a title means that lots of people feel pressure?
So was this why you wrote a book about it?
But your book isn’t a romance novel specifically - it focuses on work and the pressures connected to that?
And you think that the Gospel - the Christian message - has something worthwhile to say about it?
Andrew I thought we’d test you on how much you know about ‘having it all’.
Pressure to have it all
So do you think that these ideas of having it all and having it now resonate in our culture?
In fact, reflecting on the pressure to have it all, actually forms the basis of the first chapter of your book, ‘Under Pressure’, so why did you start the book that way?
Is the pressure then to have all these things connected to the fear of missing out? And you only live once?
But isn’t this at times a life stage thing? Often pressure comes when you have a young family, establishing career, and still young enough to enjoy sports and physical challenges - isn’t it a challenge to juggle everything?
And then there are celebrities, people like David Beckham, who has a model wife, he’s rich, athletic, good looking, happy family and travels the world in luxury - don’t they have it all?
The deeper reasons for this
But underlying these desires, We’ve talked a bit about the pressures that we face, but where does this pressure come from? What drives it?
But pressure can also be destructive. I saw one meme online which says that pressure can turn a lump of coal into a flawless diamond, or an average person into a perfect basket case. So how do people try to cope with this?
How does this pressure ‘to have it all’ look for you?
So how do we handle this pressure? Perhaps tell us how the ‘pressure to have it all looked like in your life?’
So have you any credibility to write a book on handling pressure?
The Bible’s reflection - God is sufficient
The big question we’re asking today is how to handle the pressure to have it all. Perhaps surprisingly the Bible helps us answer this question. Andrew - you found the BIble helpful in dealing with this pressure to have it all?
In the Old Testament book of Psalms, Psalm 73:25-26 says,
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion for ever.
Now this passage features in your book and was also helpful to you in dealing with the pressure to have it all, how was that?
But why God?
The famous early Church theologian Augustine of Hippo once said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Do you agree with his assessment? Why is that?
Has this been the case for you?
Another way the Bible helps us deal with the pressure to have it all comes from another Psalm in the Old Testament, Psalm 103:15-16 which says,
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
How does this help help us deal with the pressure to have it all?
Are you saying that I shouldn’t try to achieve things, be busy, study, travel or even try to juggle competing priorities?
So how does this impact your life?
The Big Question
So Andrew, how can I handle the pressure to have it all?
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Andrew Laird works for City Bible Forum in Melbourne and directs Life@Work - an initiative aimed at connecting Christian faith with our daily work. He’s also the author of a book, Under Pressure: how the gospel helps us handle the pressures of daily work.