Too Much Pressure? How to Find Freedom

Buckling under too much pressure? Here’s how to find freedom from unhealthy pressures when you feel like you can’t stand it anymore.

Buckling Under Pressure? Here's How to Find Freedom.

Are you driven by too much pressure? Not the healthy kind but unrealistic expectations?

May I confess something to you?

For the latter part of last year I felt myself buckling under the pressures and demands that were thrust on me everywhere I turned. My passionate nature grabbed hold of a spirit of excellence and ran with it.

But even in good things—and God things—the dirty Thief comes to try and steal wisdom right out from under you. He saw this weakness and the trouble it was leading me in before I did and craftily put on more pressure. It was right at the exact time when I felt it couldn’t get any more impossible to finish tasks, organize projects, or perform in any of my responsibilities.

I’ve always been a sucker for wanting to have all my ducks in a row, and it drives me crazy when they’re not. So I move heaven and earth to try and make it happen. Otherwise the weight of too much pressure is too much!

The enemy puts on pressure at the precise moment you feel it is impossible to move forward. Click to Tweet

Mounting Unhealthy Pressures

I was in the midst of righting unruly ducks (it’s always their fault not mine) when I got my blood test back. The doctor had run more extensive tests to determine why my white blood cell count keeps getting lower and lower. Besides some numbers to note that were of a minor caliber, there were some other results to the test that cast a shadow on my optimism. It revealed that my immune system had taken a hit from recently having Epstein Barr Virus, also known as Mono (say what??), and then the doctor said the other part was making her think “blood disorder.” So she ran more tests.

In the middle of this, I was plagued with bad headaches whenever I was behind the screen. I needed to get an updated prescription from the eye doctor. On top of that my family got sick with a bad virus that still hasn’t packed its bags.

All this piled on to getting ready for Christmas. It swapped places with having time and energy to prepare for new ventures God recently laid on my heart, December offline break notwithstanding. I was still a slave to pressure.

Pressure to keep pushing my body. The demand from my goal to get ahead. The mental load nagging me that someone somewhere was continually expecting something from me.

Despite the new blood test coming back dispelling the threat of a blood disorder (thank You, God!), there was still enough eating my energy to make me realize that my carefully laid plans had unraveled.

Yet God used this whole setup to do a work in me.

Captivities from Unhealthy Pressure

During this season, in between down in the dumps thinking, God led me to finish reading Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent. One day I reached the chapter on “Your Pressures,” and those words were electric. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I underlined a lot of it, but here are some quotes that helped me realize God had already given me the key to the cell I was locked in:

“Pressure that makes us feel like we might be wrong…or selfish…or coldhearted…or snooty to enforce margin and boundaries in our schedule so that we can actually maintain enough time to be obedient to what the Lord has called us to do?”

“Fear that we’ll fail and will no longer come off looking as perfect as we want to appear. Fear that somebody else who’s working harder and moving faster will get what was supposed to be ours.”

“Your Father just wants you to be you. And that means not having to be two of you to get it all done.”

Here's How to Find Freedom from Unhealthy Pressures.

It was time to let go of my expectations and others’ suppositions. Obedience to Him is the key. Although I knew this was His message to me, I still bounced around in fear’s playpen for awhile.

And when I was out, I wanted to stubbornly hang on to what I needed to let go. After all, working hard is ingrained in my DNA. Nobody’s going to tell me I can’t do it all.

But God would whisper to my heart, “There’s freedom in margin.”

These pressures were hindrances to pleasing God. I only needed to be directed by Him and not the unreasonable demands of myself, of others, or of society. I found myself praying, “God break all my chains.”

When God says to let go, the enemy wants to keep you bouncing around in fear’s playpen. Click to Tweet

Sweet Freedom from Too Much Pressure 

So I took a deep breath and resolved to yield to God against living with too much pressure. And little bit by little bit, I began to walk into freedom from the unhealthy pressures and demands that held me in captivity for so long.

I can’t say I’m 100% there. Habits, you know. But in grace we grow.

Yesterday God dropped in my spirit that my One Word for now is FREEDOM. I don’t always ask for one or look for a word or phrase; there hasn’t been one for quite some time now. But especially on the heels of this recent walk into it, this word sounds good to me!


Related: 7 Actions to Take Now with Your One Word


I’m ready to thrive in that freedom!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NASB

I’m looking forward to a year of more freedom in Christ!

How about you? Are you under too much pressure? What unhealthy pressures do you need to let go of? “God break all my chains.” Pray it with me?

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  1. Such a great testimony to share with others. I think we most definitely can always be tempted to let the pressures guide our to-do or task list rather than letting God help you navigate them, especially when unexpected circumstances get added to the scene. Thanks for sharing how God helped you through this.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Thanks, April. He’s been showing me in detailed ways how I’ve led pressure guide my decisions instead of being led by the Spirit! But thankful for grace and new freedom!

  2. I soooo resonate with this, Kelly. You’ve had quite the journey of laying things down and walking through the valley. You’ve come to mind often throughout these past three months of pressing through the HG on the couch . . . Among the greatest truths that have been impressed on my heart in this season are gentle invitations to come out of this changed: pushing less (I’m a driven woman too), being more intentional with my closest people in the quiet moments, laying down hurry for good, enjoying my actual life more, and releasing control . . . . May we yield to his plans for us, even when it takes a valley to surrender. I’m continuing to pray for you. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      I love to hear how you are yielding to His leading, Stacey! It’s a beautiful work! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I’m so glad it resonated. Praying for you, friend!

  3. Such a transparent and timely post, Kelly. Thanks for sharing it! Fervent is one of my favorites, and one of the most impactful books I’ve read. The enemy has a way of distracting us from our calling by providing more ** good ** things to do than anyone can accomplish in a day (or month). Fervent has really helped me seek the Lord for direction and you’re right — that brings FREEDOM! I can’t wait to watch you operate and thrive in the Lord’s freedom. I’m also thrilled there’s no blood disorder. Praising the Lord alongside you!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Thank you so much, Cathy! You’re so right about how the enemy will tempt us with more, even if it’s good. I’d been bogged down with this for so long that freedom is really feeling good!

  4. This is so true!
    And when our physical health is attacked – that is always the final blow. “I can handle anything but that”. But when we are weak, He is strong. Paul’s thorn in the flesh reminds me that my own health issues don’t have to stop me from being productive. They just remind me that I cannot do them by my own power.

    Stepping away from the pressure and back into freedom is a great reminder for the new year, but also any time of the year!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      It’s so funny that you mentioned, “when we are weak, He is strong,” because I always “disliked” that verse for some reason. I don’t like thinking of myself as weak. My mom always talked about how her mom was a strong women and it inspired me. But the enemy used even that. And God brought that very verse to mind many, many times recently. Oh, how we need Him! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. So true, Kelly “In grace we grow”. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure all of your readers can relate.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      So thankful for His powerful grace! Thanks for stopping by, Laurie!

  6. I love your One Word choice for the year, Kelly. So inspiring! Sharing this post on Pinterest and Twitter, friend.

  7. Kelly, truth be told, I succumb way too often to pressure and demands of a way over busy schedule. I really enjoyed your post. I am sharing on FB and tweeted some stuff too. Thanks for being so transparent in your writing and sharing.

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