Embrace the Tension
Embrace the Tension
At Park Street, our church values are based on the idea of living into the tension between these biblical principles: Unity and Hospitality; Humility and Expectancy; Commitment and Curiosity; Authenticity and Obedience.
Corporately, we embrace the tension.
Individually, I'm struggling at times with more tension since the onset of COVID-19:
- Personal desire (wanting to be with my family) AND the common good (distancing)
- Safety AND serving others
- Thanksgiving (for what I know and see) AND trust in Him (for what I don’t know or see)
- Responsibility AND relationship
- The temporary AND the eternal
So I did a quick study on tension.
As a noun, tension is defined how I expected: inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion and anxiety
But did you know that tension can be a verb?: to subject to tension, especially to tighten to a desired or appropriate degree
Hmmm. Is God “tensioning” us?
I also found these tidbits about tension:
- Being an agent of change is being someone who brings a story on the scene, creates tension and relieves it.
- Tension is the feeling we have when we are about to make change happen, when we are about to leap forward.
- Tension is what makes us get out of our comfort zone and makes us produce our important work.
- Great work is the result of seeking out tension, not avoiding it.
- Tension is not fear; in fact, it’s the exact opposite.
As Christians, we are God’s agents for change in this world. Admittedly, we naturally don’t necessarily like change, right? But, consider what Skye Jethani wrote this week in the With God Daily devotional:
“When God wants to do something new and creative, he often dislocates people from their ordinary circumstances… It is entirely possible that the world we thought was permanent before the virus will not return, and we must venture forward, with God, into the new world that lays ahead. In times of dislocation, we must hear the words of Jesus, ‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’”
One other definition of tension I found (which my husband Robin will like best) is: a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements
Robin is a plein-air painter. He and his fellow artists often comment on each other’s works, praising the artist for the “tension” between the colors or in the use of light and shadow, as it creates depth and beauty and balance.
So, the first definition of tension was of imbalance; yet, intentional tension by the artist creates depth and beauty and balance.
I try to embrace it. As I do, I cling to this promise:
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:26-28)
God is the Artist. Let's look for His depth and beauty and balance.
(Enjoy Robin's painting, Hay!, as a study of tension in color and light!)
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