What does it mean to “work well under pressure?”
Does it mean letting people take advantage of me? Does it mean refusing to set boundaries with anyone? Does it mean saying, “Yes!” to everyone regardless of my capacity and availability to meet their request? Does it mean ignoring or refusing to admit my own limitations? Does it mean sacrificing my health and well-being in order to please other people by meeting their demands?
This topic of “working well under pressure” came up in conversation recently. It gave me pause to think about what the phrase means to me. After giving it some thought, processing my perspectives and doing a little research, I’ve come to the conclusion that my definition of this phrase means assessing the following questions in light of any request or demand someone presents to me:
Pressure Response Assessment
1. Is it the Lord’s will for me to meet this request for this person at this time?
2. Is this person’s request reasonable?
3. Do I have the capacity to meet their request?
4. Am I available – do I have the time in my schedule – to meet their request?
5. Does their request have value or serve a purpose that I value?
6. Does their request violate my beliefs and values?
7. Am I the appropriate person to meet their request?
8. Is it good for me to meet their request?
Considering each of these questions and answering honestly to myself will give me a clearer perspective on how to respond to the person’s request. If I don’t take the time to consider these things, then I may be hurting myself, the person who made the request or someone that I love. For example, if I don’t have the time, then I may be over-extending myself which could result in physical and mental stress leading to illness as well as strains on my other relationships.
If I don’t set boundaries with others,
then I’m hurting myself and the ones i love.
Every time I make a decision, I am saying yes to one thing and no to everything else. So even if I have trouble saying no to people, when I tell someone yes, I’m still saying no to everyone and everything else. This means people-pleasers, and everyone else for that matter, say no far more often than they say yes. And at some point, this boundaryless behavior will catch up to the people-pleaser and cost him more than he wants to pay.
It is a sign of emotional maturity and psychological health to be aware of our own limitations and weaknesses, to set healthy boundaries with others, and to prioritize our health and well-being.
It is loving to know who we are, to know our limitations, to know our strengths and our weaknesses and to delight in our humanity. In a godly context, working well under pressure means placing our burdens at Jesus’ feet and only taking up His burden and His yoke, which is different for each of us based on how He created us.
It’s part of the joy of being saved to include the Lord in deciding how we will respond to the requests and demands that other people try to place on us. We get to be in relationship with a perfect God who knows our hearts, the hearts of others and the future. We get to make these decisions with Him and rely on His wisdom and knowledge to lead and guide us.
Our first priority is to love God. Our second priority is to love ourselves as God loves us. Our third priority is to love others as we love ourselves. We cannot honestly love others unless we first receive God’s love for us and learn to love ourselves like He loves us.
Our first priority is to love God.
We are not loving God, ourselves or others if we are boundaryless. People-pleasing is not love. Boundarylessness is not love. Codependency is not love. Over-achieving, over-responsibility, and over-performing are not love. These things are all grounded in fear, not love. All of these things are about earning, manipulating and controlling acceptance and love, which is no love at all.
There is no freedom found in manipulating and controlling people. There is no honor in it. Of course, there’s also no honest risk-taking or vulnerability, either. Both of which are scary, unpredictable and have no guaranteed outcome. To love is to risk – exposure, vulnerability, the outcome, rejection. But it is the only way to truly give and receive love because it honors the other person’s free will choice to respond however they want to my invitation, my vulnerability, my willingness to take a risk on them. An honest response to love is so worth taking the risk!