Have you ever heard the old saying, “True character comes out when you are squeezed?” We are going to be under pressure a lot. That’s just the way life works. That’s why our true character matters so much. We think we know how we would react in a situation, but many times, we react differently when we are stressed or put in a tight spot, and I think I figured out why.
The other day I was driving in a nearby town. I had finished my errands and was headed home. I had the Christian radio station on and was relaxed and grateful that I was done for the day. As I was driving, a truck pulled out from a business on the opposite side of the street and looked as though he was headed straight for me. I braked just in time to see him stop in the turn lane so he could pull over when I passed.
He knew what he was doing and had no intentions of hitting me. I did not know that, however, and even though he could not hear me, I voiced my opinion of his intelligence for scaring the daylights out of me. I had been squeezed, and a not so nice part of my character came out.
I realized then that a large part of being squeezed is fear. I reacted as I did because of fear. When we feel the pressure of our situation, we are fearful. Often when we react in anger, it is because of fear. We fear that we won’t be heard or understood. We fear that someone will take advantage of us. When we are under stress, we fear we won’t measure up, or we can’t get the job done. We are even more fearful when a situation is out of our control such as a bad diagnosis, losing a loved one or losing a job. Fear makes what is truly inside of us come to light.
Life will always squeeze us. We will always have something to fear. Can you look back over circumstances in your life and see times you reacted out of fear? The only way we can change our character is to let God have control one situation at a time. The next time that you feel squeezed ask God to help you trust him. Let’s learn to react with faith instead of fear and our true character will start to look much better.
“Trouble and anguish have found me out,but your commandments are my delight.” (Psalm 119:143) (ESV)