I am teaching a seminar over the next while looking at balancing out the pressure of our outer worlds with the capacity of our inner selves to manage the stresses.  It’s not really stress management, and it’s not really “inner strength building”, but both elements are in it.  It’s really coming out of seeing a lot of overwhelmed people (myself included at times) and wondering what can be done about it.  What’s going on?  What needs to be different?

My dad was an engineer.  While in university taking his engineering training, he signed up to be part of the Canadian forces in the 2nd World War.  Because of his  engineering background, he was placed into the engineering corps building bridges to get troops across rivers, washouts and bomb craters as the Canadians moved around Europe.  He learned as a 20 year old to build “Bailey” bridges which might sound sophisticated but it is really just an early version of “Lego”.  Seriously, it’s a click-connect kick set up designed to get bridges up quickly and efficiently.  You could move troops, small vehicles, …but never anything too heavy because it just couldn’t stand the weight.

When my dad returned to Canada and completed his engineering degree he actually majored in “mining”.  He didn’t have much civil background at all but when we lived in N. Ontario, he was the only professional engineer within 200 km so when the municipality came for assistance in building a bridge, he signed the plans.  His limited experience allowed him confidence to build modified “Bailey” bridges around the area we lived.  Because of their design, they were all single lane and all were all limited to “max 25,000” pounds.

I was proud of my dad because he was a “bridge builder” but he always underplayed it.  When we traveled over a bridge like the one above he would marvel and say “now that’s a real bridge.  I could never build something like that”.  His point was, bridges need to have capacity to handle weight and he didn’t have the expertise to design something as sophisticated as that.

In life, we are subjected to all kind of weight (personal, relational, situational, physical, spiritual, emotional, geographical) and it requires a system whereby we are able to handle it.  We can try to manage things physically or externally.  (If I were 6’8″ tall, and weighed 280#…do you think I could handle life’s pressures better?)  Or we can develop inner systems to help us cope with the external demands of life.

So, over the next while I am meeting with folks talking about these inner systems of life management.  We all have to carry weight in life, it’s a question of “how much are we really designed to carry”?  And what happens when we exceed the load limits on our selves?