Grace Among Us

029 - What if Pressure is a Privilege? Unraveling the Grace in our Struggles

October 19, 2023 Carri Richard and Ebony C. Gilbert
Grace Among Us
029 - What if Pressure is a Privilege? Unraveling the Grace in our Struggles
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Grace has a way of turning things on its head - like pressure. Ever wondered how the pressure in our lives can turn into an opportunity, a privilege perhaps? And how it can not only challenge us but also strengthen us, allowing us to bring our best to the table? You're about to find out. In a heart-to-heart conversation with my dear friend, Ebony Gilbert, we unwrap the flow of grace in the pressures of everyday life. We navigate through the intricacies of how pressure can be a motivator, a teacher of lessons, and a reminder of our reliance on grace. Come explore with us, and learn how to view pressure as a privilege that refines us.

As we journey deeper, Ebony and I unfold the idea of privilege in pressure and trials. Pressure  tests our resilience, narrows our focus on the present moment, and this is where love can always triumph. We share our experiences in the hopes it can guide you to transform your own experiences and find the courage to make the most of each moment. Engage with us in this invigorating discussion and open yourself up to the possibility that pressure, with all its challenges, can truly be a privilege, a testament to your strength and a stepping stone towards a better outcome.

Reference Queen's Under Pressure -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a01QQZyl-_I

We'd love to meet you in person! Come Join Us in Heaven's Net. A 3-day retreat March 13 - 15, 2024 - find out more by clicking HERE.

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Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others.

Carri Richard:

Hello hello, this is Carri Richard. I'm a mindset coach and I am here with my dear friend Ebony Gilbert, and we are here to point to Grace. So hello, Ebony.

Ebony Gilbert:

Hello Carri, thank you for introducing me here today to talk about grace again, again and again. You know we say we're going to talk about grace. It could be any topic and we could find a way to incorporate grace into it. We could be talking about stoplights, and we'll talk about the grace of knowing when to pause and when to go. You know it doesn't matter. So when we say we're going to talk about grace, it could essentially be anything in the world.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, I love that point, and that is the point Ebony, Grace is everywhere and the more that we see it in the ordinary or in the everyday, the more we see it. So right before we started, we kind of just say, hey, what's the topic today? I mean, that's how it is, and I was sharing with Ebony that I got to watch the last two finals of the US Open with my dad this weekend, which is we both share a love of tennis and played a lot of tennis. He's older now, he's 90, and so it was so much fun, just to, you know, get to share that and yell and talk about the points and all that. And as the men came out into the stadium I think it's Arthur Ashe Stadium on the wall there was this big plaque and the camera panned by it and it had three words on it and it said "pressure is privilege, it is move forward, pressure is a privilege, and it kind of stopped me up short and really it's such a beautiful statement in so many ways.

Ebony Gilbert:

And so you agree with it.

Carri Richard:

I do, and in fact I don't know that I knew I did until I saw it, if that makes sense. It really kind of turned some thoughts on their head, which I always enjoy. So what I did s ee, you had a bit of a reaction when I said it, so I'm really interested in your thoughts on it, Ebony.

Ebony Gilbert:

You know I'm thinking about this in real time. So the person who coined this phrase and wrote the book is a tennis player and it's outlining the hardships and how they, you know, turn into good things. I think you can apply that to life. Yeah, I could agree. I don't know. Let me pause.

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(Ebony - before I just jump on the bandwagon) (Carri - Great).

Ebony Gilbert:

I think pressure makes diamonds, you know, and breaks diamonds, and it does a lot of that. I think pressure is a good thing. It can absolutely be a good thing. When I think of privilege, I'm thinking of something that we've talked about, privilege before. I'm thinking of something that gives me an advantage. I don't know if pressure gives me an advantage. So from that perspective, I don't feel very privileged because I'm being pressured and cornered and pushed, if you will, squashed. I think the privileges with pressure is that I have an opportunity to show up and fight harder. I have an opportunity to push. I have an opportunity to experience this full range of what's going to cause me to bring my best to the table. So it's the privilege to be operating in a space that forces my best. It doesn't feel like a privilege and assist that I have a leg up.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, I hadn't thought about it from that perspective.

Ebony Gilbert:

Okay, react.

Carri Richard:

And the reaction is - so that's really interesting, like the idea of privilege being an advantage. And what really struck me is - what came first was, there are different kinds of pressure and I can and I'm going to say culturally we talk about pressure not being a good thing Like, and I can go to the place if I'm under pressure, like everything should be easy. Right, there's a whole thing out there that says everything should be easy and if it's not easy there's something wrong, and I don't agree with that.

Ebony Gilbert:

I agree with you there.

Carri Richard:

Okay, okay, cool, and it's. It's pressure from what? Because I can put amazing pressure on myself and a lot of the times when I'm doing that, To be honest, sometimes I don't know if it's a lot of times these days it's to look good, it's the pressure to look okay, it's the worldly pressure, if that makes sense. Okay, (Ebony - external), exactly External. I want to be liked, I want to look good, I want it to look good. That egoic pressure I would call it. And sometimes I'm under the gun from life, and I don't mean I'm a victim of life, but you know, God walks me through things that are not pleasant and I can make a decision that that kind of pressure is a privilege from the perspective that as I walk through it I always learn more and usually the outcome is better than I could imagine if I stay the course. Thank you.

Ebony Gilbert:

Is it like a privilege?

Carri Richard:

It feels like privilege on the other side of the hall. I really had never. I had never, I don't think up until Saturday I would have called pressure a privilege.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's like the testing of your, your patience. You know what I mean. Like trials perfect your patience. The trial doesn't feel like a privilege, (Carri - nope), Even though we're told to count it all joy when you fall into the, you know, the trials and tribulations of life. That doesn't feel like a privilege, but my patience is being perfected. My long suffering is giving me resilience and discernment and wisdom. So on similar parallels here privilege, pressure, trials, patience you know what I mean. At the time it doesn't feel that way and now the song "nder pressure by Queen, the voice, like pla ying in my mind very loud. You know like it's just. But um, yeah, I've never thought of pressure as a good thing.

Carri Richard:

And I love. One of my favorite statements is "up until now. Up until now, I absolutely agree with you that it doesn't feel good in the midst and pressure does not feel like a privilege when I'm actually in the squeeze of it and I can. Now I have this new mental image when I'm under pressure, that what if it is a privilege?

Ebony Gilbert:

What if it is yeah? What if I get curious about this and I see the grace in it?

Carri Richard:

Mm, hmm.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yes, and I put my grace glasses on and I zoom out a little bit and I can see this pressure is a controlled burn. Let's just pull everything from the past back into this one, right? Yeah, I'm in the hallway, it's a controlled burn. I got my grace glasses on and this pressure is allowing me to see through these glasses that I have these tools. Yes, that I can access that I may not have accessed or even seen if this pressure wasn't crushing me just a little bit.

Carri Richard:

Yes.

Ebony Gilbert:

So this crushing is now giving me superpowers.

Carri Richard:

And vision.

Ebony Gilbert:

You know, it's like people who you know go to rescue folks from car accidents and all suddenly they can lift the car.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

The pressure has given me an enormous amount of strength. That maybe was already there, but I didn't have time in the moment to dissect whether I can or can't, because the pressure says act, mm hmm. So okay, I'm talking myself into it. Now I'm feeling a groove, now I'm getting there. I'm getting there. The pressure to fight, the pressure to lose big or win big, the pressure to. I have to decide right now what I'm going to do, and I'm going to do it in faith and moving grace. And without this pressure I don't have this opportunity and in that sense it's an absolute privilege.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely. You know what. Another piece of the oh yes, I'm so glad we're on the we're on the people mover.

Ebony Gilbert:

It took us a couple seconds, yes.

Carri Richard:

I'm like I used to. I used to say, like when I was in a high pressure, like something that felt very life or death or very risky. It's almost like everything slows down, Like like I, I don't have space to like think about much else except for that. Does that make sense? I don't know if I'm explaining it, but part of that privilege is a lot of the distractions. Like I have the ability to have discernment at that time. Sometimes the thing is so big that it kind of right sizes all the ankle biters, kind of puts them to the side to like move through this piece, this high pressure situation. It narrows your focus Absolutely, Absolutely so now my eyes are fixed.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yes, on where I need to go.

Carri Richard:

Yes, they can be. They can be because I have also been in a high pressure situation like that and run for the hills. Well, it's fight or flight, right, and that flight has never worked out well for me, almost never.

Ebony Gilbert:

Because I mean the pressure could make you win big, so you're going to give your best, or you can lose big because you just don't show up. Yeah, I think - do you have an example of a situation in your life that felt like enormous amounts of pressure but you showed up as your best self, that you had even seen before, like you shocked yourself about how you showed up.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, it's not that long ago. The situation is, you know, with the death of my son's father. I mean, we had a very tumultuous breakup, tumultuous relationship and it was the pressure, you know. And also I had a young adult, not quite an adult, but a young man who was grieving his father. So I had a choice and you know I call this by God's grace, I got to stay focused. My focus narrowed not to all the stories and all the past and that did it and the stuff. My focus narrowed to walking this young man through the death of a parent. And what happened is all that was, there was love. I could show up as the person, the young person who you know, was madly in love with this man, and all that other stuff could fall away and so I could show up as that person and it was. It is a gift because love always wins and so always, always, always. And so that pressure, all of it, and that pressure actually allowed me to acknowledge, like the relationship, that we didn't have and that, you know, this beautiful, beautiful human being that came as a result of that relationship.

Ebony Gilbert:

It feels like a privilege.

Carri Richard:

It is absolutely a privilege, and that is that transformation of that entire experience over a long time that I could not have done that on my own.

Ebony Gilbert:

I'm in a semi new role at work right now this is just the most current thing is coming to mind, certainly not the biggest or most important. They're, they're all. They're all. I don't know. I just want to say, with grace, it's not big or small.

Carri Richard:

I don't know. I just want to say, with grace, it's not big or small, important, not important, it's all.

Ebony Gilbert:

That's a good reminder, thank you. It's kind of been a new role as the interim assignment until things get finalized and I feel an enormous amount of pressure. An enormous amount of pressure to make sure no ball gets dropped, to make sure I'm showing up as my authentic self and I'm still meeting the expectation. Because anytime you step into a role where somebody else has been in that role, people are accustomed to things being done one way and you have to navigate this transition to maintaining the good and slowly transitioning things that could be done better and still being yourself and putting your own stamp on it. So I feel a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. At the same time that I'm in this role, one of my leaders is newly appointed, so there's a difference to the expectations for the role in general. But I can say this this is where I'm going with this. The pressure that I feel is daily, it's unrelenting, and none of my regular work has stopped. So my calendar is still full, I'm still very busy, I still have all these direct reports, I still have a lot of responsibility, but I have been. The pressure has allowed me to show up on my A game, because I don't have time not to be on it. So I am showing up with more focus, more clarity. I don't have time to be distracted. I don't have time to multitask throughout the day. I've got to show up as 100%, eight to 10 hours a day and there's no room for anything less. Without this pressure I was able to kind of skate through the day. It was kind of mundane. I do my best if it required it. If it didn't, task is done, job is done, strategic approach gets done. Everybody's happy. We go home at the end of the day, home by y'all. That's not the situation right now. The pressure is forcing me to speak up when I wouldn't otherwise speak up. It's forcing me to say, hey, I got to correct that. In the moment. I can't just let it go and think somebody else is going to do it. And now I'm that person. The pressure is making me look at things and evaluate things out loud. That I may have thought silently before, but I'll take a pass, you know.

Carri Richard:

There are no passes now.

Ebony Gilbert:

So I feel like I'm showing up as my best self, the best employee, the best leader, the best everything, because there's no room not to be, and it's a privilege to be given the opportunity to do this. It's a privilege to get to know myself in a way that even I wasn't sure if it was possible. You know how you get comfortable. You know and you know you can do better, but you don't have to.

Carri Richard:

I have a friend who references that as a fur-lined rut. It's no bueno.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, I'm being really transparent here. It's acceptable laziness yeah, because nobody knows you're being lazy, nobody knows what you do. But nobody knows. Nobody knows that you're 75% is checking the box and meeting the mark, especially if you're 75% is still 25% more than what the baseline is offering. So you know, I had this habit of normalizing acceptable laziness no more. So that's a privilege and it forces me to walk in the grace with myself, with others, and I don't have time to pontificate about it. Go ahead.

Carri Richard:

I think you've nailed it. I mean all the- So I love the example, and it is a privilege and it allows us to focus, and it also you were talking about. I don't know if I could do this, I don't know if I could do all this, and it puts us in this place where, at least for me, I can't do it without the grace of God, I cannot do it.

Ebony Gilbert:

Would you pray without the pressure?

Carri Richard:

No, If I was la-di-da, unicorns and rainbows, I would not be having conversations with you about grace, like what would be the point, the end. I don't want to be at 75% of my life. I've been given this life and like I want to be at 100%, even though I don't always feel that way. But as we talk about it from a broad perspective, why would I not?

Ebony Gilbert:

And it shocks yourself.

Carri Richard:

Yes, it's like oh my gosh, because when you get to the end of the hall it's like holy moly. You get to look back and see all the effects of grace and being courageous and curious and open and just doing. We talk about guided steps, right? Just the next step. I don't know where the end of the hall is. No clue. And the more I want to know where the end of the hall is, the more stuck in the hall I am.

Ebony Gilbert:

And it reminds me of the whole sufficient of the worries of the day. I have too much pressure today to worry about what I'm going to wear tomorrow. I've got to focus on what's happening now. I've got to focus on my meeting too. I've got to focus on the fact that I've got 30 minutes to squeeze in the whole lunch break. I'm focusing on things today and I'll let tomorrow worry about it. So that doesn't mean there's no planning. That doesn't mean I'm neglecting self care. It doesn't mean that I'm going to go stroke out because I'm doing too much. None of those things. Everything has its place, right, right. But I've got to worry about right now, and I even worry Worries are the wrong word I've got to deal with today.

Carri Richard:

You have to I've got to move and shake in today. Yeah, show up to it today. And I love what you're saying, because you're not saying that strength comes in it being a privilege. My day is full, but nobody - like the world is not doing it to me. Right in every challenge that comes along like I can ask for grace, and every time I do it works out best.

Ebony Gilbert:

The pressure strengthens your prayer life. You know, I've got to be in lockstep with those guided steps. I've got to be in lockstep with what God is saying to me today and how he's speaking through me, Because you made a good point earlier I can't do it on my own. I would need a nap.

Carri Richard:

Or five, you know for myself.

Ebony Gilbert:

It would be, as soon as six o'clock hits. I would have to just go lay down cuz I wouldn't be able to function. There's no way I could do it by myself, not based on who I know myself to be. But if I operate in a space of guided steps and the Lord is blessing this and he has his hand on me and he protects me and there is no weapon that's gonna prosper against me. It'll form, but it won't prosper. If I operate in this space Now, my spiritual life is strengthened, I'm. A relationship with God is strengthened. I'm not connectedness with the small voice in my ears, more is more clear and I'm moving in a way that's purposeful and intentional and Without fluff.

Carri Richard:

It's a lot more fun. I know this is - I call a lot of things fun, so (Ebony- it's fulfilling. I'll tell you that) that's a really good word, that's a great word. It is fulfilling and it continues to expand.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's like the sweet spot. You know like I'm in my zone. Now, is this sustainable?

Carri Richard:

This too shall pass.

Ebony Gilbert:

Thank God.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

Thank God. So you know, pressure, the privilege, I don't because intended to be in every day, all day, for the rest of your life situation, but in seasons.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely, and I think it's a, it's a beautiful pair of glasses that I'm going to, I'm gonna use moving forward.

Ebony Gilbert:

Oh, that's good.

Carri Richard:

With my sweet dad, which is another privilege, right that came through grace to have that relationship so.

Ebony Gilbert:

I like it. I like it. Pressures is a priviledge. I'll take it. Me too, I'll take it. It's a good one Carri. Thank you.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, thank you, thanks for thanks for going along for the ride and yeah, all all the ideas, the examples, and I'm cheering you on in your Interim pressure that's going on.

Ebony Gilbert:

And I'm encouraged by the fact that you allow yourself to show up differently under pressure In a personal situation. I get paid to do this at work, so it you know there's been incentive there, but you make the choice in your personal life. There's obviously incentives there as well, but it's a little bit different. It's more of a choice, and that's pretty commendable. Well, thank you.

Carri Richard:

I think you've chosen to show up better. Oh, man, and you know what the currency is. It's not money, but it's peace. It's peace and it's also I Don't want to pass on bitterness- Now you said a mouthful there.

Ebony Gilbert:

Peace is currency.

Carri Richard:

Pressure is a privilege and peace is currency.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yes, it is.

Carri Richard:

I think we've done did it.

Ebony Gilbert:

Find your peace in the pressure. Yes but you can only get through guiding steps and connectivity and Faith. Faith Hope.

Carri Richard:

Yes, you are not doing it alone.

Ebony Gilbert:

There's something else at the end of the hall. This too shall pass all those things.

Carri Richard:

Yes, grace is always accessible, especially in the pressure. Yes, so may you all find grace in the pressure that you're experiencing today.

Ebony Gilbert:

In the pressure under pressure, if you're the one creating the pressure.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, we could do a part two on this when you're the pressure. Yes, exactly, that's a whole different conversation. Totally, we started dipping our toe in that and I'm glad you brought it back around. So, yeah, stay tuned, stay. So. Thank you here. Thank you, have any, as always, and I think that's it, sorry, all right, grace out, grace out.

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Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.

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The Privilege of Pressure and Trials
Embracing Pressure as a Privilege