Tension to be
Andy Stanley was the first to coin the phrase “tension to be managed” and I get where he was going. There is always going to be a sort of pendulum swing in matters of faith and even in life. For instance, lately I have been thinking about faith, rest and trust and that whole side of the spectrum of our lives as Christians where we are challenged to let go and wait on the Lord. The other side of the pendulum is where we are challenged to move forward by setting goals and making action steps.
If you hang around me long enough you are eventually going to hear me talk about excess and absence. When we apply this ideology to the scenario above we could extrapolate that the excess of rest would be apathy or negligence while the absence of rest would be a workaholic tendency where growth and outcomes depended on our own works.
That’s where the tension comes in. Most people have a natural propensity toward one or of the other – rest or work. If you were managing the tension between the two it would seem that you would always strive for balance. Those who had a natural bent toward rest would need to lean into planning and follow-through, while those who tended toward strategic development should back off and let God do His thing.
I propose that the tension should not be managed but discerned. Just because I have a strength in something does not mean that I should focus on my weaknesses in order to be a balanced person. Just read “Now Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and you will get all the fuel you need for that train of thought. And it is very valid. If I move in a strength area I am functioning just how my Designer intended. He created me with these strengths and expects me to use my talents well.
However, the converse is also true- just because I am strong in one area does not mean that I should not lean into the weak area of my life at times. After all Paul said that God’s power was “made perfect in his weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9. When I lean into a weak area I learn more about God’s character because I need Him more.
So whether I am moving in a strength – acknowledging my design, or leaning toward the other end of the spectrum where I need Him more, it’s all about Him as long as I am moving in what I believe Hs is leading me to do.
How then should we live? One of my favorite passages gives us a clue. Ecclesiastes :1-8 says
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
The question we need to ask is “What time is it?” The tension between the pendulums needs to be discerned. It may be time for us to be in the middle, but likely He is drawing you to move in a strength He gave you or lean into Him in new ways in a weaker area. Whatever it is – it’s meant to be a personal journey. Go ahead, give it a try and ask Him!