Push & Pull: Tension
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]I[/mk_dropcaps]n life there are constant pressures to deal with (see PUSH and PULL:Compression) . The push, or compression, we addressed is what obstacles we face from the outside. Now to make peace with the pull or tension that comes from the inside. To refresh, tension is what creates that nagging and uncomfortable feeling of where we are at now and where we know we are called to. It is an outward, external force. It creates a path for us in which to operate that drives us forward toward the call on our lives. For me, knowing the purpose of any challenge and consequently gaining a new perspective, helps me to willingly participate, or at least not fear or ignore it. In workouts, we understand that tension brings a stretch so we can be strong, have a wide range of motion and be less prone to injury. Similarly, in sailing, it is necessary to keep the sails in the proper position for maximum speed. Consider archery. Tension is of utmost importance for an archer to shoot his arrow. Tension helps in so many areas of our lives to keep us on course and to function at our best. Leveraging the tension rather than fighting against it, is what helps to PULL the object (boat, arrow or muscle) toward the desired mark.
This begs the question, “What if God uses tension to help us see our mark more clearly?” Instead of avoiding it, why not leverage it for what it is intended for? How many people (myself included, before I came back to the Lord) live with slack in our lives. Slack is the opposite of tension, basically is unused talents and gifts. Instead, it is my belief God has called us take the slack in our lives, the loose and unused pieces, and put them to work toward a mission; the ultimate mission being the Great Commision. By doing so, we can better handle the opposing push/compression forces because we are in motion. We have heeded what the word of God says and have “submitted” to God, therefore being able to resist the devil.
It takes maturity to embrace the discomfort and stretch that tension brings. Perhaps the frustration you’re feeling is because you have allowed there to be slack where they should not be? There will be no forward pull in life if tension does not come. It is not a force in and of itself remember the physics lesson in the last post? Tension does not replace the power and authority of God in your life, but it is a restraint we all need to stay on the path set before us. With healthy tension comes an ease to the advancement you’re trying to make. Walking with Jesus means we have to set aside an old way of being (a life full of slack), and pick up the tension of His mission. It is a life that brings more fulfillment and even a rest to life.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” -Matthew 11:28-30 MSG[/mk_blockquote]
Don’t tolerate slack in your life with its claims that living with it is the easier way to live. It may seem easier and more convenient right now, but it will burn you out as this scripture warns. In the long run we need that pulling advantage to help us toward the upward call of Christ. Phil 3:14
Tension is a necessary stretch God uses that tension not to aggravate us but because He is bringing growth and maturity to your life. We need to establish the proper path and strength to withstand the increase of PUSH that comes along with growth. See it is an indicator of breakthrough and a new level coming. Don’t resist the tension but rather lean into it. Learn from Jesus and how he handled the push and pull in his life. Most importantly do not hide from it. This is something I personally am walking through. Tension, when focused on, will tempt you to compare. The temptation is to envy the slack-full life of another instead of remembering and focusing on the mission you are called to. Now though you can see the PUSH & PULL of life are not to torment us but to develop within us a character that is able to withstand the victories and challenges of our destiny and not crush or split us.
What do you find difficult about making peace with tension, the gap between your current circumstances and your vision, in your life?