Last weekend I had the amazing privilege to work at a student retreat. This retreat was different from any other retreat I had been a part of (and I have done years of student work) because it was very focused on the Gospel. During the retreat one of the leaders shared part of the journey that God had placed in her life. Thankfully it is different from what most of us have had to walk through because it involved abuse, abandonment, brokenness, and a parent killing another parent. In a breakout session after she shared she engaged students in a discussion about how to handle life when the pressures of life press in on us.

One of the keys about how we handle life’s pressures is our view of faith. If someone believes in a higher power they look outside themselves for support, direction, and help. If not, they are left to depend only on themselves and the tangible world around them. If someone believes in a higher power the type of higher power determines many things. For example, some belief systems are based on humans going to a higher power and adhering to certain beliefs and actions, but Christianity is the belief in a god who comes to us and is intimately involved in our lives. It is about God, loving and caring about all parts of our lives.

Even for those who hold a belief in God and Christ the way we view God’s character makes a big difference in how we believe he is involved in our lives and how we share with him. Some people see God as wrathful and harsh. Some see him as loving and gracious. Some see him as defining rules and regulations we need to follow. Others see his guidance as given in love to help us work through and avoid further conflict.

When the pressures of life are pressing in on you, what are your beliefs?

Do you believe in a higher power? Do you believe in God?

If you believe in God, what do you believe about him?

Our view of God’s character makes a huge difference about the faith and trust you put in him. It affects whether you trust the words of the Bible to be true, or if you think of them as being just stories about how God worked in others lives or as made up stories to represent things to us. Our view of God’s character determines if we see him as loving or harsh, involved or distant, caring or demanding. It determines if we approach him with an attitude of being humble, grateful, trusting, and attentive where we accept what he says and where he leads in our lives, or if we approach him with attitudes of arrogance, demands, cynicism, or distant apprehension.

How has your view of God affected the way you handle life’s pressures?

What has shaped and changed your view of God?