“Choke!” That word became a common expression in the world of sports. It refers to someone who was put in a pressure situation to win a game… but missed out and didn’t deliver. His fear, nervousness and confusion overcame him.
Christians can also “choke” in pressure situations. We usually know what we must do. But during pressure of the moment, we give in.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
As a young man, I worked for a multi-national company. I was given responsibility to manage a big marketing budget and award projects to suppliers.
The test came when one supplier proposed an unethical deal with me: For every project that I award to their company, I will receive 10% commission from them.
For an ambitious person, it would be very tempting. But I knew my values and I knew my God. I refused, and told the person to go through the proper process of selection.
That pressure situation defined my integrity in the workplace. It had the potential to destroy me if I gave in.
Every pressure situation presents an opportunity to develop our character. Let’s be more aware when these happen so we don’t “choke”:
- When We’re Harshly Criticized
We’ve had, or will have, the experience of being criticized unjustly and excessively. We’ll be tempted to counter-attack head on, gossip behind their backs, or become indifferent to them.
Our character will however go to the next level if we respond right. We must look for the nugget of truth from everything that was said, (even if was just one sentence!)
Give some time for feelings to be more stable. It’s better than attempting to resolve immediately an emotionally charged situation. We can then initiate further discussion so that facts are presented, solutions are proposed, and there is reconciliation of relationships.
- When We Offend Someone
It’s easier to deny or downplay that we hurt a person. Sometimes, we prefer not to talk about it. We hope and expect that time will heal.
The other option is to approach the person, sincerely apologize and take responsibility for our actions. How that person responds is beyond our control. We just pray that they receive our apology. What’s important is we’ve done our part.
- When We Achieve a Major Accomplishment
It’s great to reach our goals and be recognized for it. However, pride can set in and tell us that we’ve done it through our own efforts.
We might also become obsessed to more success. Or become the opposite: be complacent from then on.
Character is built when we stay humble. Acknowledge that our skills, health, intelligence and resources come from God. He may have also provided other people around us to work together in this accomplishment.
- When A Shortcut to Success is Offered
The world brainwashes us that the way to happiness is success. So when there’s an faster way to our goals, we are tempted to take it. Even if it will compromise our beliefs and values.
We must realize that the achievement of success in our fields do not compensate for any failure in our character.
Many times, it’s not what we achieved, but what we have become through the process.
- When No One is Looking
We have that false sense of security that if no one is looking, no one will find out. The pressure to compromise is greater because we think we can get away with anything.
Strength of character is developed in times when it seems like we aren’t accountable to anyone. We live the same way, whether in public or in private. The truth is everything will eventually be exposed and we are accountable.
- When We Have Something Valuable to Lose
When not much is at stake, we usually do the right thing. But when the stakes are high, we are tempted to reconsider our decisions.
Our character solidifies when we do the right thing whether or not the consequences would be painful.
- When We are Not Acknowledged or Appreciated
We may feel bad when our hard work receives no public credit. It could reach the point when we don’t want to do an excellent job the next time around.
We must continue to do our very best, regardless. Or else, our motivation will revolve around pleasing people all our lives. Our mindset is we are here to please God who sees everything we do.
This world will offer us various temptations every day. We must be aware of these pressure situations beforehand. This increases our chances that we will respond the way God would want us to.
We may have compromised in some of the situations above. Have a time of reflection and confess it to God.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Posted on: June 30, 2017
Discussion Question: What is one pressure situation where you need to be more conscious of? Share your inputs below.