Dr. Cheryl A Durham
Review: The Pressure’s Off
by Larry Crabb
2002, Colorado Springs; Waterbrook Press
Larry Crabb has evolved in his writing. You can see God’s grace in Crabb’s book, “The Pressure’s Off”. Back in the 90’s, I attended one of his seminars in Pennsylvania. Even though I liked what he said, he was very repetitive and his ideas were all over the map. His speech was very hard to follow and peppered with psychobabble. That really turned me off to him for a while.
Recently, a friend urged me to pick up “The Pressure’s Off.” I found that even though the first few sections are laboriously repetitive, Larry has come a long way. I was pleasantly surprised at how he has evolved in his thinking. The diagnostic labels were gone, and here was a man who wanted to be in touch with God. Crabb had moved from the process, to the person of God, the raison d’être for the Christian. I was delighted with the new focus.
Crabb’s point is that knowing God, for the sake of knowing God, frees us up from our own machinations of religious practice of the joyous and peaceful existence in Christ. It is only in the overflow of sustained, abiding, and intimate friendship that we can see life the way it really is, which is through His eyes. More importantly, it frees us up from our own striving, and takes the “pressure off” of us. Crabb’s book is an honest assessment of how man has attempted to manipulate and maneuver God to avoid trusting Him. We seem to have the idea that we have a quid pro quo arrangement, and that God is obliged to honor our demands. Crabb calls this the “Law of Linearity.” It is a false sense of feeling in control. In reality, it is He, not we, that has the control. Crabb says that this is our biggest problem. He says on page 7,
“The illusion of control brings requirement, requirement creates pressure, and pressure leads to slavery, the slavery of having to figure out life to make it work. Those who hold onto the illusion of control, lose the enjoyment of freedom.”
God is not obligated to fulfill our wishes. Crabb warns us to “never claim promises that God hasn’t made.” We do not need God to do something for us; we just need Him, period.
This can be a life-changing read if you are inclined to be a control addict, or someone who is looking to God for a fix. Whether you are or not, it is still a good read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for renewal and refreshment. We can come to God, just as we are, and find a new way to live without the pressure.