I have dedicated this week to an At-Home Writing Retreat…Since I couldn’t attend my IN PERSON writing retreat with my dear friend Stephanie Morrill this year. Therefore, I am pulling a “Thoughtful” post from the archives today. I hope you are all staying sane during this strange season we find ourselves in. I’ve revisited this one before. But it definitely feels relevant today. 

Life is hard. So often we feel pressure. People are pushing us. Prodding us. Poking us. Sometimes, when circumstances are weighing heavy, we get that tight feeling in our chest, right? Or in our stomach. Stress. Overwhelm.
We get tired.
We get frustrated.
We react.
But how do we react? Or the better question, how should we?
In his sermon last weekend, my dad used this analogy, and it really struck me. Take an orange and squeeze it, press it–what do you get? Orange juice. Not apple juice. Not grape juice.
Take a sponge and squeeze it, and what do you get? Whatever liquid it has soaked up.
Take a plant and press it, and what comes out? The oils or fluids from inside the plant.
Now, take a piece of rotten fruit and squeeze it, and what comes out? Rot. Decay. Stench.
Getting the picture? When pressed, what comes out of a thing? What’s inside it.
So let’s take that back to us. What comes out of us when we’re pressed? (Yes, the comedian in me said, “Blood and gross-squishy-red-stuff.” [Bonus points if you get the Phineas and Ferb reference.] But let’s be serious, LOL.)
What comes out is what’s within. So if we’re frustrated, that frustration comes out. If we’re unhappy, we spew unhappiness. If we’re bitter, that bile is just going to come oozing out of our mouths. But is that all that’s inside us, even when we’re not at our best?
When we’re people of faith, there is always Something else inside us. Someone else. The Holy Spirit lives here. He’s inside me. Jesus is inside me. So with them, what else is inside me?
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness.
When we’re pressed, squeezed, put under pressure, when we’re poked, prodded, and pushed, that is what should come pouring out of us–that should be what’s within us.
Humbling, isn’t it? When you’re feeling the pressure of life, are you greeting it with love? With Joy? Do we greet evil with goodness? Prodding with patience? Are we, when we’re at our lowest, when we’re been squeezed so much by life that the pain is palpable, shining with faithfulness?
If we’re not, then that says something about what’s inside us–and about what isn’t. We can’t pour out what we don’t have; we can’t have good fruit inside us yet spill out rot and decay. If that’s what’s coming out, it’s because that’s what’s within.
And if that’s what’s within, then we need to do some serious work on ourselves. We need to turn those rotten spots over to God and let Him prune them away. We need to plead with Him to fill us with the good stuff inside.
And He will.
Until our cup runs over with His light. It’ll spill right out of us . . . and right into the world. And then, when we’re pressed, people will see Him.
I can’t think of a more beautiful way to show people who Jesus really is.
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