How To Handle Pressure

WINNING WITH THE WORD

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio


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One Brave Roman soldier in field. Photo.Have you noticed that pressure is increasing in your life? Are you finding it more and more difficult to handle the pressure as it bombards you from all sides? If so, take heart. There are certain things you can do to subdue the pressure, put it under your feet, and keep it there.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines pressure as “the weight or force that is produced when something presses or pushes against something else.” While pressure is most often used to indicate a physical force, it can be used as well to indicate a spiritual force. In this discussion, we will use pressure to mean those demonic forces from hell that daily threaten to discourage, depress, and destroy the members of the Body of Christ.

We read in the Book of Ephesians that we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Some translations use the word “wrestle” to indicate the type of spiritual battle in which we are engaged.

Wrestling involves hand-to-hand combat; indeed, body-to-body contact. In other words, it involves the whole person against the enemy.  The battle can often be vicious, and the fight sustained for long periods of time.

So, how do we handle this unrelenting pressure from the enemy? Our Lord has given us the weapons for not only engaging the enemy but also for conquering him. These weapons comprise the whole armor of God. Let’s take a look at each one.

1-The Belt of Truth. A Roman soldier’s belt held together the rest of his armorIn like manner, truth will hold together the rest of our spiritual armor as we fight the enemy. We must put on truth and walk in it in all of our dealings with God and man. Deception is rampant in our world today. Lying has become second-nature to many people. But the Follower of Christ must dealy truly and truthfully in every situation.

2-The Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate protected the Roman soldier from attacks against his vital organs, including his heart. Righteousness means right-standing with God. As born-again believers, we are protected from the enemy by the righteousness of Christ which we received when we accepted Him as Savior.

3-The Shoes of Peace. A Roman soldier wore special shoes that protected his feet from dangerous terrain, enabling him to step freely wherever he needed to step and to stand firm while engaging in battle. The shoes of the gospel of peace enable us to tread safely and to stand firm in the worst of situations.

4-The Shield of Faith.
The Roman soldier used his shield to ward off the fiery darts of the enemy. So do we use our Shield of Faith to ward off Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, unbelief, fear, strife, and every other fiery dart.

5-The Helmet of Salvation.
Just as a helmet protected the Roman soldier from injury to his head, so does the Helmet of Salvation protect us from injury to our thinking. Our salvation enables us to abide in Christ, and abiding in Christ will eventually transform our way of thinking into God’s way of thinking.

6-The Sword of the Spirit.  While all of the other pieces of our armor are defensive, the Sword of the Spirit is used in taking the offense. As the enemy attacks us with his lies, we retaliate by piercing him with the truth of God’s Word.

So, there you have it!  Six pieces of armor that will enable you not only to resist the pressure that comes against you but also to subdue it. Now, take up your armor and win!

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below on the PODCAST LINK to today’s blog post:

PODCAST: “How to Handle Pressure” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
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Now, it’s YOUR turn: How has putting on the whole armor of God helped you to deal with pressure? Please leave your response in the Comment Box below. Thank you!

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If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! Check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right. Some of our most popular posts are:

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If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! You may also be interested in reading the following popular posts:

Living in a Violent World”

“How to Handle Offense”

Is the Apocalypse Near?” 

“Convergence: Clear Sign of the End Times”

“The Rise of Wicca, Witches, and Warlocks” 

Please check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right. 

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A Moment with MaryAnn – Podcasts on Living the Good Life

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Copyright 20111-2019 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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ARE YOU AFRAID OF CONFRONTATION?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23
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Do you hate confrontation? Are you one of those people who gets uptight when there is the slightest indication of anger, upset, or instability in the status quo?

If so, you are not alone!

But while you may not be alone, you may be in trouble!

Why? Because confrontation is essential to growth. Without it, we will remain imprisoned in unhealthful relationship patterns. We will not experience the abundant life Jesus died to give us. In fact, we will not fulfill our God-given destiny.

Consider the caterpillar. Without confrontation–i.e., confronting the cocoon–the caterpillar would never turn into a butterfly.

Consider also the chick in the egg. Without confrontation–i.e., pushing against the eggshell to escape its confines–the chick would never emerge to live out its destiny as a chicken.

And consider the human being. Without confrontation–i.e., pushing through the obstacles that hinder healthful relationships and God’s plan for our lives–we would never grow into the truthful and loving people God created us to be.

No, it’s not confrontation that is the problem. It is the manner in which we handle confrontation.

“It’s not confrontation that is the problem. It’s the manner 
in which we handle confrontation.” ~ Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Most people are afraid of confrontation because they have seen it mishandled. Many have been deeply hurt by confrontation, whether emotionally, physically, or both. Perhaps, like me, you are one of them.

For example, shouting, throwing things, or inflicting physical or emotional pain is not the proper way to handle confrontation. This kind of behavior is what has given confrontation its bad name.

But, on the other side of the coin, the failure to confront–especially on the part of a leader–has resulted in the destruction of families, organizations, and churches. When a leader fails to confront sin, he is tacitly allowing it to continue. There is no middle ground. 

Also, when a leader fails to confront sin, he is giving in to the fear of man. Whenever we fear man more than we fear God, we are in big trouble!

So, what is the proper way to handle confrontation?

First, let’s consider what confrontation really is. Confrontation is “speaking the truth in love.” This concept comes directly from the Bible. Let’s take a look at Ephesians 4: 15: “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ . . . .”

What do you notice about this verse? Let’s dissect it together:

1–We are instructed to speak the truth.

2–We are instructed to speak the truth in love; i.e., with a desire to help the person we are confronting.

3–When we speak the truth in love, we will grow more and more like Christ.

Speaking the truth in love–aka “confrontation”– causes growth, both in the speaker and in the listener.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, he brought much suffering and harm to his family. God commissioned the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. Nathan obeyed the Lord, resulting in David’s repentance.

Do you think Nathan felt like confronting King David? I doubt it. Nor do we always feel like confronting sin in the lives of those we love or those whom God has placed under our authority. But confront we must if we truly love them.

Truth without love will result in alienation. Love without truth will result in damnation. This is what is happening in many of our churches today. Pastors are preaching a love message without combining it with a truth message. When only one half of the equation is applied, the math won’t work. We will get a wrong answer every time.

And so it is with confrontation. We must confront, but we must always confront in both love and truth.

By the same token, the person who is being confronted must receive the message with a teachable spirit, which is a spirit imbued with humility. As king, David could have angrily dismissed Nathan and his message. Instead, David humbled himself before God and before Nathan and received Nathan’s correction from the Lord. As a result, David repented and, in so doing, did not forfeit his salvation.

Confrontation has eternal consequences. If we allow sin to continue, it will grow. When we confront, we are showing that person great love and concern for his eternal destiny. If we truly love someone, how, then, can we not confront him?

Now, it’s YOUR turn: Do you have trouble confronting sin in the lives of those in your circle of influence? After reading this blog post, do you now see confrontation in a different light? Please leave your valuable comments in the fields below. Thanks! 

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Copyright 2017 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.

Sources cited:

“The Danger of Compromise” by Greg Laurie

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A dynamic book that will help you overcome negative feelings about yourself and put you on the road to success in every area of your life. Using sound Biblical principles, nationally known author, life coach, and businesswoman, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, deals with such life-changing topics as overcoming worry and fear, taking charge of your life, learning to accept yourself, and finding your purpose in life. YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS! Offers practical advice which, if applied, guarantees success and will help you become all that God created you to be.

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Please check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right.

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Sex and Soul Ties

How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

–Why Rage Is Raging in Our Land

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Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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When Conflict Resolution Seems Impossible

Conflict is a touchy topic. Few people like to face it head-on. Most people run from it. The problem, however, is not the conflict itself. The problem is how we handle the conflict.

No one in his right mind deliberately looks for conflict.  It just seems to happen, but, in truth, there are reasons behind all conflict.  Searching for those reasons and addressing them in a healthful manner will turn conflict into what it is meant to be–an opportunity for growth.

So, the first challenge with conflict is the paradigm most of us have about it. We view it as something bad, something negative. What if we were to change our paradigm about conflict and view it as something good?

The second challenge with conflict is that it speaks more to the emotions than to the mind. This, I believe, is the main reason we hate conflict. We don’t want to experience the negative emotions that accompany it. Who wants to experience anger, fear, stress, hurt, and rejection on purpose?

The third challenge with conflict is that it takes effort to resolve it. Most of us would prefer to keep the status quo than to put forth the effort to resolve our conflicts. This may work for a while, but, eventually, an unresolved conflict will take its toll on a relationship and on the individuals in that relationship.

So, how do we handle conflict when it comes? Here are some Biblical principles that will help you:

1) Have the courage to confront. Much conflict remains unresolved because we are afraid to confront the issue or the person involved in the issue. This fear is what the Bible calls the fear of man, and, as Scripture explains, it causes us to fall into a trap (Proverbs 29:25). When we are afraid to confront conflict, we are really saying that the relationship is not that important to us. Our skin is.

2) Handle all conflict in love and truth (Ephesians 4:15).  Both of these must be present. If you love but do not speak the truth, you will not resolve the conflict. If you speak the truth but do so harshly, without love, you will not resolve the conflict.  Healthful conflict resolution requires the presence of both love and truth.

3) Handle all conflict with a willingness to understand the other person. Put yourself in his or her shoes. Do your best to see the situation from the other person’s eyes. You may be surprised at the way your perception of the situation changes.

There is no growth without conflict. A chick experiences conflict as it struggles to hatch from its egg. A caterpillar experiences conflict as it struggles to emerge from its cocoon and become a butterfly. And a human being experiences conflict as he struggles in his relationships in order to become a person who resembles Christ.

The next time conflict comes your way, welcome it. But be sure you use the three tools above to handle it properly. As you do, you will begin to recognize that conflict is your friend, not your enemy.

Questions: Are you willing to change your view about conflict? Have you discovered that running from conflict only makes the relationship worse? What are some techniques you have used to handle conflict in a healthful way? You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive future posts on Matters of the Heart right in your mailbox, please click here.

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Copyright 2015 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.

(Craft) Crafting the Scene

Goal, motivation, or conflict should be a critical element of every scene we write.  Goal serves to present what your character wants. Motivation serves to explain why your character wants what she wants. Conflict serves to reveal what is keeping your character from getting what she wants.

Every scene must have one of these three elements plus two additional elements of your choosing. For example, you may write your first scene to present your protagonist’s goal but also to introduce her. You may write a later scene to reveal that your hero has lied to your heroine (conflict). You may write yet another scene to show that your heroine must find her missing brother in order to keep her sanity (motivation).

When writing your scenes, remember to include one of these three elements–goal, motivation, or conflict–in every scene. As you do, you will end up with powerful scenes that move your story forward.

For more information on writing scenes, check out Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation & Conflict .

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Copyright 2014 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio.  All rights reserved.

Story and the Brain

Wired for StoryI’ve been reading a fascinating book called Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. The book discusses the way the brain responds to story. While Ms. Cron approaches her work from an evolutionary standpoint, her research can easily be approached from a Biblical worldview.

Bottomline, God wired us for story. The whole of human history is a story–His Story–as we believers recognize. Moreover, God created the human heart to respond to story. Hence, the powerful parables of Jesus.

Given these truths, how can we write our stories in such a way that they align with the way God created our brains to function?  Here are a few key points that Ms. Cron calls “cognitive secrets” to keep in mind as we write our stories:

  • The brain thinks in stories. Therefore, when we write, we must hook our reader from the very first word because the reader wants to know what will happen next.
  • The brain is goal-oriented. Therefore, the protagonist we create must have a clear goal.
  • The brain thinks in specifics. Therefore, we must use details, not abstracts, in creating our story.
  • The brain resists change. Yet, story is about change. And change produces conflict.
  • The brain continually makes cause-and-effect relationships. Therefore, our stories must follow a logical pattern of cause and effect. 

As you write your next story, keep these points in mind. Your story will be more powerful and effective because it will be aligned with the way God made the human brain to work.
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Source Cited: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2012). Print. 262 pages.