We just got done celebrating Christmas with my family and one of the first presents my son wanted to play with after he got done unwrapping his gifts was the game “Boom Boom Balloon.” He had seen commercials and videos about the game and couldn’t wait to try it for himself. The point of the game is to poke the balloon with different sticks without it popping. The person who pops it loses. it’s a pretty fun game and can get intense towards the end.
It is pretty crazy to watch the balloon be put under so much pressure, to be poked and poked. Just when you think the balloon is going to break, someone pokes it 3 more times and it withstands the pressure just a little bit longer.
But alas, it finally does pop. At some point someone pushes in one of the rods a bit too much and the balloon does what it’s made to do - POP! Actually, more times than not it’s a slow, high pitched whistle, but you get the point. Balloons are not meant to last forever. At some point they pop. Balloons that never pop turn into shriveled up pieces of thin rubber and you almost feel bad for them. Balloons are not made to withstand a whole lot of pressure or poking. They’re not meant to last forever. This game is a great analogy for us humans. We as humans are not made to withstand pressure forever either.
You poke us, prod us, expose us to pressure or turn up the metaphorical “heat” in life and at some point we all pop. For those of who don’t pop, who internalize everything, it’s almost worse. You lose your buoyancy, and don’t really bounce back from anything. You become an Eeyore, and nobody wants to become that guy.
I’ve seen a handful of people "pop" this month. It seems like the pressure and pokes of life became too much too handle. They were all from different circumstances, each pop has taken on a different form and how they’ve bounced back since has been different as well. Some have handled the pop better than others, some are still really deflated and don’t know how to regain their original form.
I’m sure that there are a number of ways to possibly not pop, or at least delay the pop. There are a ton of unhealthy options, different addictions, or ways to numb the pressure or pokes. But there are some healthy ways too. Some people turn to exercise, some turn to routine. Some people have learned to structure their life in certain ways as to minimize the pokes and pressures. Some have hobbies that help them deflate a bit when it seems like they’re going to pop. For me I have a couple different hobbies. I have also found that a nice long drive by myself helps to alleviate some of my pressure. After a few hours in the car on the way to meeting or trip seem to give me new life.
I’ve also found that rest (Regular time off) and the right amount of sleep will help greatly. When I was a junior at Elim Bible Institute I was pretty close to popping and it must have shown on my face. I was sitting in the Sanctuary after the Chapel Service that day. Everyone had filed out and I just wanted to sit and cry. Yes, I admit that I wanted to cry. Paul Johansson walked up to me on my way out and said “Ya know son, sometimes the holiest thing you can do is take a nap.” I took his advice, skipped the next class (Sorry Bro. Fount) and went and slept all afternoon. Pop avoided, felt great and to this day find that a 15 minute power nap does wonders to my stress level.
But I’ve found that at some point we all pop, or at least have the slow, high pitched whining about something. At some point we’ve been poked enough, pressured enough, prodded enough that we’ve just had enough. We yell, melt down, yelled at the wrong person (God included). We’ve all made some poor choices, binged, indulged “Cuz we deserved it”, and have suffered the consequences.
Those are all ways that you could “pop”, ways that you react to life’s pressures. But there are other ways you can pop. Other ways to react. For so many people they’re afraid to react wrongly, afraid to lash out, afraid to show strong emotions that they choose just to hold it in, to save the argument or emotional tirade for made up conversations they have with themselves in the shower, Carrying on both sides of the argument, playing both sides because you know exactly what the other person will say anyways.
What if we found some healthy ways to pop? What if we actually went to the person who continually pokes us and tell them how we feel before we pop? What if you found your outlet or best way to pop? Maybe when you’re feeling like you’re going to pop, be big enough to go to your boss and say “I’m going to explode under this pressure. I’m going to leave for the day, deflate a little and then tomorrow I’d like to sit down with you and discuss some ways to alleviate this pressure.” Or maybe you’re your own boss. That will take some guts to have an internal conversation, learn a little about yourself and understand what is causing all this pressure. You might even have to be honest with yourself and give yourself some time off.
I would also suggest finding a safe place to pop. A safe place to react to stress and pressure. Someone you can vent to, cry to, yell with and get it all out. Every month I go to a counselor and sit and pop. I pay a guy to sit there and listen while I pop. I talk about people, marriage, fatherhood, work and everything else that is poking me and causing me pressure. I deflate a bit, get some great counsel and come out of there feeling great! Best money I spend all month. In that setting it’s ok for me to pop. I yell in that setting so I don’t accidentally pop when my kid does something kids do, and I’m just transferring my frustration to them that I have from something else.
We all worry about popping, about losing it, about overreacting. If you don’t worry about it, maybe you should wonder why. But I’ve found that popping isn’t a bad thing when you can do it in the right way. Go to the person who’s been poking you. Talk about the thing that has been causing you pressure. find an outlet to deflate a little and help to relieve the pressure that’s been building.
Balloons aren’t made to last forever. You aren’t made to withstand pressure forever. If you’re poked enough you’ll pop. Take some steps to avoid the pop, or figure out a safe place to explode.
Come to think of it, that would make a great New Years Resolution.
Have a great 2016!
Mike Wing is the Lead Pastor of Lockport Christian Church. His amazing wife’s name is Amber and he has 3 awesome boys. Abram is 5, and Eli & Jadon are twins that are almost 2. He’s had the privilege of living in Lockport, NY for almost 10 years and is really excited to see God bringing new businesses and buildings in the city and town where he lives. He has a huge passion to see community built within his church and believes the best thing about his church are the people in it, and seeing them grow in relationship with God and each other.