There is no way to avoid the pressures of life. Merely living puts us under the pressures of survival. Your body demands sustenance and your lungs demand air. From the very moment of birth, pressures begin to mount. We have pressure from our parents to grow up right, we have pressure from teachers to learn, we have peer pressures, we eventually have the pressures of relationships, of society, and of the work force.
Pressure comes from all aspects of life. And there is very little we can do to avoid it. As a Pastor and a Christian, we talk about giving problems and cares to God. This is a very Biblical approach, but it is misunderstood in this context. Giving things to God only relieves stress. It doesn't relieve the pressure.
For example, I want my children to grow up and become all they can be. I don't want them to be menaces to society. I want them to be decent, honest, good, and have access to all the joys in life available to them under God. This pressure is the same no matter if I give my children to God or not. The desire to have them grow up right will not change no matter how I deal with it.
To avoid a nervous breakdown in life, you need to not only understand the pressures in your life, but you must have reason to be under it. Call it a cause. A cause is something that is greater than you. It is something beyond you. It is something that is motivational and driving.
Jesus Christ went to a cross to die for us. The pressures were indescribable. Why would He suffer like that? Why would he endure such pain, agony, and betrayal? Yet on the cross, He was not defenseless. He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free. He didn't have to stay there. He could have prevented it. Yet He didn't. He endured the cross because He was there for a specific reason. He was dying to provide you and I a way to Heaven. That is a great cause.
People have nervous breakdowns because they can't find a reason to live under the pressures of life. These pressures cause them to snap. They may seem okay one day, and the very next they go ballistic! People endure great hardships when they have a reason to endure them. Take the reason away, and they fall apart under the pressure.
What is your purpose in life? Why are you married? Why do you have children? Why are you going to work? Why do you do what you do? The answers to these questions, good, bad, indifferent, or weak will tell you if you are a candidate for a nervous breakdown or not. If, for example, you have no cause and the only reasons you do anything are purely selfish, then you are a candidate for a nervous breakdown.
I've counseled and dealt with a variety of war veterans over the years. Those that have come to believe in the cause they were fighting for have dealt with the pressures of their experiences in a very stable manner. I've noticed a difference between a World War II vet and a Vietnam Vet. The WWII Vet believed and believes in what he fought for. Hitler had to be stopped. No question about that. But in Vietnam, the soldiers were ridiculed, derided, and accused of many atrocities. Many of the vets returning from this war later snapped under the pressure of their experiences. They lost their belief in what they fought for. Those who retained their belief, handle it much better.
The same will hold true for you. When you lose your reason to be under pressure, the pressure will buckle you under and you'll snap. Find a cause in life. Don't let the pressures of marriage, child rearing, society, and relationships destroy you. Find a cause.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
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