Release the Pressure

We added an instant pot to our kitchen this summer. Since we seem to run out of time most days for various reasons, we added this pressure cooker to help speed up the cooking process. So far, so good. On the top of the contraption is on button that says, “Press to vent.” When you press the button a loud sounds exits the pot. The pressure is quickly released and for some reason, it is a very satisfying sound that everyone in the kitchen stops to hear.

You and your family may feel that you often run out of time too. For families, there are a lot of activities to do in a day that are planned and unplanned. Parents of busy families are constantly “on.” Family success is measured in successful balance of their various calendar entries and the completion of these calendar entries for one day, even if it means staying up late into the night or rising early in the morning (we just began making a check list together so that we might feel a little more “successful” in finding our balance).

If your family can relate to other families living under pressure, maybe it is time to release the pressure (it is July after all). It is true that you cannot fully slow down in a fast-paced society. But can we learn to manage the pressure we feel differently? Can we learn to release it and help our family members release the pressure as well? Yes!

How to Release the Pressure:

Stop running in and out of your tent and interact with one another.

Gather around the table and serve ice cream just to make sure everyone shows up. Forget dinner plans. Ask these questions: How are you? What is stressing you lately? When was the last time you experienced God?

Recognize the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 John 4 from the Bible talks about the difference between living from the world and living from God. When we are deeply living from the world, we speak from the world’s point of view and the world listens. When we are from God, others who know God listen to us. We become Christ for others by offering healing, hope and peace. We become neighbors and friends. Help each one in your tent reflect on the motivation driving the family recently. Are you living deeply in the world or deeply with God?

Give yourself and your family members grace and hope.

Lots of grace. Everyone is trying their best. Add some hope and lean into a better tomorrow without pressure. Commit to trying a new way to be family in the next several days. When we hope, God moves away everything that is not a part of our true self and we are liberated.

Hopefully this time together in your tent will be very satisfying. July is a great month to release the pressure of life. Take advantage of it. And eat more ice cream if it helps to release the pressure.

As pressure and stress bear down on me,
    I find joy in your commands.
 Your laws are always right;
    help me to understand them so I may live.

I pray with all my heart; answer me, Lord!
    I will obey your decrees.

Psalm 119:143-145

From our Happy Pressure Releasing Tent to Yours,

Meredith Bell

P.S. Check out the book Busier Than Ever: Why American Families Can’t Slow Down, Charles N. Darrah, James M. Freeman, J.A. English-Lueck, if you want to gain a sense of the current state of families. It may help make sense of the pressure you feel in your family.