Too Much Pressure

So thrilled to have Jamie Kocur posting for us today.  It’s super pressure time for me and this post is perfect for me!  

One evening, while hanging out at my sister’s place, she was trying to get my younger nephew, who was racing all over the house, showered and in bed. I stepped in to help and offered to read the bedtime story.

The hyper six-year-old bounded off to the bookcase and returned with book in hand. I followed him to bed, which unfortunately for me was the top bunk. I managed to climb up without killing myself and crammed in between my cuddly boy and 8,000 stuffed animals.

I was happy to see he had chosen a Berenstain Bears book, one of the literary standards from when I was growing up. I had fond memories of Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister Bear and all the lessons they learned. I gazed at the title.

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure

I knew that many of these books were the very same books that my sister and I had enjoyed years before, but this one did not look familiar. As I began reading, we learned of how the Bear family used to be happy and carefree. They took time to be together and enjoy life. Sometimes they took time to sit and do nothing.

Until the after school activities started.

Before they knew it, the Bear family was caught up in a whirlwind of soccer, karate, horse riding, computer classes, and who knows what else. They got so busy they didn’t know if they were coming or going. They all started to have bad dreams, or worse, didn’t sleep at all.

It hit a little too close to home.

I have been known to bite off a little more than I can chew. I become stressed, angry, resentful, and tired. Lately, I have been very careful and deliberate about saying no. I know that I don’t have to volunteer for everything.

Even so, I’m still guilty of putting too much pressure on myself. I’m currently working on pursuing dreams of writing and music. Working on a dream definitely requires hustle and a lot of effort. These dreams bring purpose and happiness to my life, but sometimes I put too much pressure on myself.

If I’m not spending every spare moment I have working on this dream, it’s time wasted. I should be writing or practicing guitar or tweeting or expanding my platform or doing something useful.

I always forget about the importance of rest, of being still. Sitting and doing nothing, like the Bear family.

I have a hard time doing nothing. My brain can’t handle it. It starts racing with everything I need to be doing. I reach for the nearest distraction. Being still is hard.

But it’s so important.

When I put pressure on myself to keep constantly going and working, I find that I am less productive. I can’t seem to come up with any more good ideas. I sit down to write and nothing comes. I’m dry, like I’ve exhausted my supply of productiveness.

It takes a little bit of down time, and specifically, a little bit of nothing time to recharge. I’m giving myself a challenge to find some time in my week to do nothing. Whether it’s sitting on my front porch watching the birds fight over the bird feeder, or lounging on my couch watching the rain, I’m finding that my soul benefits greatly from nothing.

When’s the last time you had some nothing time?

Jamie Kocur: I am a musician, songwriter, and writer. I struggle with what worship has turned into in today’s church, and write about my struggle at my blog I’ve been a “part time” worship leader for several years, leading worship for services like Celebrate Recovery.