I’m not exactly proud of it, but I’ve put a hole in the ceiling of a parsonage. To be fair, the pastor of the church was also involved. So there’s that. But most of it was my fault.

Years ago when I was a teenager, my brother and I traveled to Michigan to spend some time with my aunt and uncle, who were pastoring a small church at the time. They lived right next door to the church, in a modest but comfortable parsonage. (With no holes in the ceiling.)

One evening we gathered around the kitchen table, playing a game. Like all good Christians partaking in fellowship, we had snacks. And a couple bottles of Coke.

Instead of regular caps, the plastic 2-liter bottles had these cool little devices called Fizz-Keepers screwed on top. They were like miniature pumps, and when you pumped the little lever up and down, it would compress the air inside the bottle, preserving the fizz.

(You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?) 🙂

My uncle proceeded to tell us that if you pumped the bottles so they were really hard, then loosened the Fizz-Keeper slightly, you could shoot the cap-like device straight up using the force of the carbonation.

That sounded like a challenge to me, so during the next round of the game, I pumped the Fizz-Keeper up and down.

For a long time.

I don’t know exactly how many times I pumped that lever up and down, but it was over one hundred. I then told my uncle it was ready to spin. At this point, my memory is a little fuzzy. I’m not sure if I told him how long I pumped the bottle. At any rate, he carefully loosened the Fizz-Keeper, and in one quick motion, spun it off.

That thing shot straight up with the force of Old Faithful. It hit the kitchen ceiling and ricocheted around the room. When we all stopped laughing, we looked up.

At a perfectly round hole in the ceiling. Whoops.

To this day, I’m not sure if the people of the church, or the deacons, or whoever actually owned the parsonage were informed of the damage done in the parsonage kitchen.

But I do know one thing:

When pressure builds up, it’s gotta go somewhere. And that somewhere usually isn’t a good thing.

It’s the same way in our lives. When bad things happen, as they so often do, we have negative feelings. We may feel angry, sad, scared, or a combination of all three. But as Christians, we think we know the right thing to do.

We’re not supposed to melt down or blow up.

So we stuff those feelings down, down, down into a deep place in our hearts where no one can see. We do it again and again each time something bothers us.

Over time, it’s just like pumping that plastic Coke bottle. The pressure builds and builds, and eventually it explodes—usually at the ones we love the most.

And it does a lot more damage than a hole in the ceiling.

So what’s the answer? How can we release that pressure building inside of us so it doesn’t damage either us or our loved ones?

Let’s go back to the Coke bottle for a minute. What would have happened if every time I pumped the lever a few times, I loosened it and let the carbonation escape?

Absolutely nothing. There would have been no build-up of pressure, and thus no Fizz-Keeper rocketing into the ceiling.

A consistent, gradual release of pressure would have eliminated the explosion.

It’s the same way with your heart. If you find ways to release that pressure daily, it won’t have a chance to build up. Do a quick Google search on ways to relieve stress, and you’ll have dozens of ideas in moments—take a walk, soak in a hot bath, watch a favorite movie.

There’s nothing wrong with these things, of course. But the best way to release the pressure?

Simply talking it out.

First—with your Heavenly Father. Pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him plainly how angry you are, how hurt you feel. Don’t hold back. There’s nothing as soothing as sobbing in your Father’s arms and feeling His love envelop you. Search Scripture for His Words of comfort to you, and hang on to them like the lifeline they are.

Second—with a trusted, godly friend. I know I’ve been writing a lot about this lately, but we need each other. For some reason, modern Christianity seems to indicate we must be strong and battle it out all by ourselves. But Scripture teaches exactly the opposite. We are to bear one another’s burdens, support the weak, and be there for one another in times of crisis. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. You’ll be surprised at how much internal pressure can be released by sharing your burden with a friend.

If the pressure is building in your life today, let me encourage you to take some positive steps to release it. Even a small step forward is a step in the right direction.

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” {Psalm 62:8}

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” {II Corinthians 1:4-5}

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