“DECOMPRESSION”                                      By Pastor YAU

Text: Mark 6:30-32, 45-47                                December 2, 2007

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A good design: On May 24, 1883, New Yorkers celebrated the completion of the much needed Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge. This engineering feat, however, was not accomplished without sacrifice. To lay the bridge’s giant foundations in the water, huge watertight chambers called “caissons” had to be used. Men would work in them for 8 hours while under tremendous pressure.

2)   A bad result: Returning to normal atmospheric pressure resulted in terrible symptoms later known as caisson disease. It was discovered that a rapid decrease in air pressure release tiny nitrogen bubbles in the blood. This cut off the oxygen supply, resulting in nausea, achy joints, paralysis and death. Today scientists know that the use of a decompression chamber allows a gradual reduction of pressure which prevents the nitrogen bubbles from forming.

 

COUNTING PRESSURES: According to a recent study: people in America facing too much pressures of life. The following is only a selected example for discussion:

1)   Pressures from money: Many of us may be surprised to see that we are pressured to make money or more money. While most of us, especially Christians, realize that money shouldn’t be the center of our life, the fact is: money is the focus of life whether you are conscious of it or not. Some are pressured by money to meet basic needs. Others are pressured by money to meet their goals. Still others want to make more money to improve their standard of living such as a bigger house, a new car and more things they always want to have. Some want more money to feel secure while others just want to have more without any particular reason. In a society that measures the value of a person by how much money you make or have, it is not a surprise that most people live under the pressure of money.

2)   Pressure from work: While we may include works in school and at home into this category, the report places the focus on the pressure at work place, your job. Besides the long hours that pretty much consumes most of our waking hours each day, pressure at work is felt because it is where we get our paycheck, how we identify ourselves, how we feel our degree of usefulness and social status. Job security and job title are very important to most of us either you admit it or not. In a highly competitive job market, we all can understand and feel its pressure. When we introduce a friend to someone, usually we introduce his name and then what he does and where he works. Have you ever wonder why we do it that way?

3)   Pressure from home: Even though we claim home as “Sweet Home”, in many cases home life is the third area that gives us many pressures and headaches. The idea that home is a man’s castle has turned into a man’s prison and battle ground. When divorce rate surpasses the rate of weddings in the public, we can understand why so many people are afraid to get married and to have children. Relationship breakdown, rebellious kids and demands of financial and emotional commitments make home the third source of pressure in today’s society.

4)   Pressure from peers: This is almost universally true: we want to be like others, to be accepted and respected. Some may even want to surpass others, to be better than others, to have more than others so they may feel good. Peer pressure is a double edged sword: it may encourage you to do better and more, to achieve higher and be more productive. On the other hand it may create a never ending strive of competition and fear. Peer pressures may include education, money, job, cars, house, children, social status, name brands and others.

 

PRESSURE HURTS:

1)     Pressure hurts priorities: Priorities focus on values we hold on the inside while pressure focuses on demands, real or imagined, from the outside. When we are under pressure to do something, to achieve some goal, to please people who we don’t really care, we lost the ability to make sound judgment or choice. Many people work very hard to meet pressured demands that they forget or ignore their own values or priorities in their life. They may achieve things under pressure at the expense of more important things. Some couples work so hard to provide their children expensive toys, luxury items at the expense of spending sufficient time with them to build closer relationship.

2)     Pressure hurts emotions: The joy of work, achievement and the value of service will all be lost if we have to do things under pressure or demand. The feeling of doing something we “want to” do versus we “have to” do is vastly different. When we are under pressure to do something, we will feel inferior or angry because of being subjected to and that hurts our emotion of joy in doing that. Emotion of joy is very important to mental health of people. To a certainly degree, we want to feel free in choosing what we want to do and how to do things. People who are subjected to pressure, such as those in prison, will lose self value and the joy of living. 

3)     Pressure hurts health: I guess there is no need to explain this point. We all understand the negative consequences of stress and pressure. Symptoms like indigestion, sleepless nights, headache, increased blood pressure and energy deficiency, just to list a few common conditions. Prolonged stress and pressure may cause other long term health problems.

4)     Pressure hurts productivity: Short term dashes may increase your productivity but long term pressure and stress cuts the core of energy and productivity. No one is able to maintain a high level of energy and productivity under long term stress and pressure. Stress and pressure cause lots of energy and reduce productivity.

WAYS TO DECOMPRESS: Decompress is important to all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike. Excess compression may lead to explosion and devastating consequences. Here are suggestions:

1)    Decompressed by recognition: If you read the first 6 chapters of the Book of Mark, you will see the high pressure in the life of Jesus. He went through temptation by the devil, cast the demons out of a man, healed the sickness of Peter’s mother-in-law, cleansed a man from leprosy, healed an invalid, called Matthew to follow Him, taught some important lessons, selected 12 disciples, calmed the roaring sea, healed the woman of her bleeding, revived a dead girl and sent out the 12 disciples to mission field and listened to their reports. Few lives are easy lives. Most lives are busy and stressful lives. Pressure is part of being human. Running away or complain about it won’t make pressures go away.

2)    Decompressed by rest: “Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)Rest is the most important step to decompress pressure and stress. This is necessary to restore physical and mental strength. There is a good reason to stop a running car every 2-3 hours of driving. We have a fragile body composed of fragile parts. Over use the body can only reduce its efficiency and may shorten its useful life.

3)    Decompressed by prayers: “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.” (6:45-46)While rest is important to restore physical fatigue, prayer is important to restore spiritual fatigue. Many fervent Christians are victims of busy schedule, over loaded responsibilities at work, at home, in church and other duties. Their non-stop discharging of energy to fulfill responsibilities caused them to burnout. It is so important that Christians keep a regular recharging time with the Lord to replenish their spiritual tank. Keeping a close connection with Jesus is the sure way to gain spiritual supplies. “Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)

4)    Decompressed by delegation: “Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and your people who come to you will wear yourself out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone…But (You need to) select capable men from the people---men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain---and appoint them as officials.” (Exodus 18:17-18, 21)Delegating responsibility is another way to help relieve your stress and pressure. Select good men, train them and delegate them with specific responsibility so they may share your work load and burden.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)      Decompress your life: In a society that creates relentless pressure, unending competition and ever increased personal achievement, life can be overly compressed to the point of losing meaning and purpose. We all need to find proper goals and purposes of life that are compatible with God’s.

2)      Decompress your spirit: Those who are fervent in serving God also need to re-prioritize your method, approach and the need of recharging your spiritual tank. Learn to delegate jobs and responsibilities to those who Fear God and are faithful to God and His church. Make a strong commitment in personal devotion and prayer so you can be fruitful for the Lord.

3)      Decision making time: No decision is more important than that of accepting the grace of God, believe in His son, Jesus Christ and receive eternal life from Him. Compressed or not, life is never meant to last forever. Prepare yourself a home in heaven while you are still here on earth is always important to those who are responsible to their future.