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Lockdown Blog #18 - Under Pressure

When Darren and I began Catalyst Youth UK in January 2020, never in our wildest imagination would we have pictured that our first year would take shape in the way which it has. Not only have we had to postpone, not 1, but the first 3 events which we had planned, but we’ve also had to take online resources to a whole new level to continue to keep those around us engaged, including this blog.

However, positives have definitely come out of this. We’ve seen growth in connection with our website, and between the young people we work with, as well as a real sense of unity beginning to grow between these 2 groups which wouldn’t usually spend anytime together due to being 4 hours apart, one in the South West and one in the South East of England.

Throughout this time, we have been bringing these groups together every Monday to study the Alpha Youth Series. For those of you who are unsure what this is, the basic definition is: A contemporary exploration of the Christian Faith to help young people explore questions around faith, life and Jesus.

This week, our question was ‘How can I make the most of the rest of my life?’ and within that we were given the sub-question of ‘How have you felt pressured to fit in?’

It’s something that all of us have probably had some sort of experience with somewhere in our lives, whether that’s feeling pressure yourself or seeing a friend go through it. That was very clear when the question came up within our group, as each person could tell us of an experience which they had had within their lives.

However, the question wasn’t ‘when have you felt pressure in your life’ but it extended on from that, if you look it actually adds the words ‘to fit in’. Feeling pressure to fit in is huge now, you see it in schools, on social media, in friendship groups and even in workplaces. It's always been around, but for some reason we now see it more within our world. Although pressure may get you to do things, it isn’t always a good thing. Feeling pressured into doing something usually means it is the wrong choice because you're not convinced straight away, or that it will not have the correct outcome which you are looking for.

In October 1981 the band Queen, along with David Bowie, released a single called ‘Under Pressure’. The song starts with these words:

Pressure pushing down on me

Pressing down on you, no man ask for

Under pressure that burns a building down

Splits a family in two

Puts people on streets

Pressure does push down on you. No one asks for pressure, but we all feel it, we all relate to it and we all experience it. Sometimes the pressure is so much, that it does leave you making bad choices, and that can have an effect on your life. Maybe not as drastic as we see in the song, where a building burns down, a family splits or people end up on streets, but they all do happen.

For you reading this now, maybe pressure will cause you to pick up a habit you don’t like, lose friends which you don’t want to lose, upset people who you don’t want to upset, or maybe even see yourself become a person which you don’t want to become.

Well don’t let pressure be that weight. I know you’re probably reading this thinking ‘well that is easier said than done’ and you’re right. Trust me, I’ve been through school, and through job interviews, and there have been times where I did let the pressure dictate who I was, how I was acting, dressing and talking, but that also means that I can tell you with confidence that life is much easier when you don’t let pressure take over.

Whoever you are, whether you read all our blogs, or maybe you’ve just stumbled across this one by accident, I want you to know that You are perfect as you are. Maybe you don’t follow the latest trends, or wear the latest brands. Maybe you aren’t the best at sport or music or reading or anything else. Maybe you aren’t part of the ‘popular group’ or feel you have a lot of confidence in yourself. Well that’s ok. Because you’re here, on Earth, living and you’re doing it your way.

There’s only one You, there will always only be one You, and You should embrace it because underneath all that pressure you’re feeling, all the worries and anxiety, there is someone brilliant waiting to take the spotlight… let them out.

- Antony.

This week’s resource…

Book: May I have your attention, please? - James Corden

Can be found: Amazon, Book Stores, Libraries

About: This is James Corden's Autobiography which he released in 2012. James talks about all the pressure and struggles he went through to get where he is now. In his words he describes this book as this: 'I've often thought about this moment, about what it would be like to write my memoirs. I always thought it would make me feel important. It doesn't. If anything it makes me feel a little strange.

The truth is, I should never have been this famous guy. I wasn't the cool, clever, good-looking boy at school. But I always dreamt of it, hoped for it, longed for it: throughout school when I was disruptive, in my teens when I tried to form my own boy band and through hundreds of auditions for parts which were met with constant rejection. Until finally I co-wrote Gavin and Stacey. And my whole life changed.

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