Are You Under Pressure?


How many times have you said “Right now I am under a lot of pressure.”

Many years ago, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was performing in Detroit’s Kobo Hall.  The key event was the high-wire act performed by the Walenda family. They were probably the greatest high-wire workers of all circus history. The act the Flying Walendas performed in those days was the four-level pyramid: four or five people on bottom, three or four next, then two, and then one little girl on top. Their act was unprecedented.

Night after night the four-level pyramid would make its way from one end of the wire to the other. They had performed this feat all over the world.

As the show came to an end, this particular evening, the Walendas, as usual, got ready for their feat. The lights were turned low, and the people were very quiet in expectation of the moment. This four-level pyramid began to make its way across the wire. About two-thirds of the way across, one man on the bottom, Deter Walenda, felt his knees begin to tremble and then shake.

He cried out.

I cannot hold on any longer!With that cry, he fell. The entire pyramid collapsed. Several of the Walendas were crippled for life. One died. Pressure.

Can you relate to this feeling? I certainly can!

This is what has helped me:

1. When I feel like this, I realize that I need to re-prioritize. I go through my list of things to do and begin to cull.

2. When I feel like this, I may need a day off. I may need to do something totally different for a day. Go out of town. Work in the yard. Have a more intense exercise time at the gym.

3. When I feel like this, I may have attracted too much clutter. Typically, I will begin cleaning up a cluttered drawer or office. Then I will attack a cluttered schedule or to do list. Maybe I need to be more intentional about my life. Perhaps I need more space built into it.


What helps you when you are under pressure?

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2 thoughts on “Are You Under Pressure?

  1. 1. I tell myself, “You’re taking yourself too seriously.” (I learned this from a friend of mine named Jim Martin. However, if you’re trying to hold up your family on a wire, I guess you need to take yourself seriously.) 2. I lean on my friend Tony who is not just “with” me, but always “for” me. 3. I tried something new yesterday: I’ve been reading from many sources about stillness and quietness, so I got down on my knees and stretched out my hands on the floor and said, “Father, I’m going to stay here until I sense some help from You. Please help me.” I didn’t have 40 days, but I had 40 minutes and it/He did help.

    • Darryl, it is very easy to do this (taking oneself too seriously) isn’t it? Far too often, we take ourselves far too seriously and come away frustrated and defeated. I am convinced that it is possible to be serious in our thinking and intentional in our actions. Yet, we do what you did in the end. We learn to live in God-dependency, believing that God take the pressure upon himself.

      I appreciate you, my friend.