We all face tension, whether in our jobs, families, friends or other relationships. We live in a fallen world, and until we reside in Heaven, we will encounter some challenges. John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The truth is we all encounter trouble; we face tension on every level – emotionally, physically and spiritually.
When tension surfaces, what’s your common response? Depending on your personality, your upbringing and experiences, you’re inclined to face tension in one of two ways: Either you tend to face it head-on, or you prefer to avoid it at all costs, wanting to run and hide.
If you’re someone who desires peace at all costs, you might try to ignore the tension or run from it, hoping it will go away. At the time, this approach can seem like a reasonable choice. Sadly, however, it often fails to produce the desired results.
Instead of finding genuine peace, those who choose this option experience false peace. On the surface, things appear calm, as if all is well. However, just beneath the surface (in their “heart of hearts”), there is incredible tension and unrest. This can lead to a variety of problems, including health issues. Also, the more you avoid conflict, the more conflict you’ll encounter. And is that what you really want?
Tension and conflict come from a variety of sources. The most common one is ignoring your relationship with yourself. When you’re not honest with your feelings, opinions, wants or needs, the tension can build and damage that relationship.
Taking a look at your own life, where are you failing to use your voice or settling for false peace? Where are you abandoning your heart and not living wholeheartedly? Consider what it is that makes you shrink back and fail to speak up for yourself.
Often there is tension between what God has placed in your heart, and what the world persistently asks of you. Maybe it’s time to be obedient to what God has called you to do, and to say “no” to others’ demands and expectations.
Sometimes pressing in to the tension means to wait until God shows you the way forward. In my experience this ability must be developed over time, for it requires patience and maturity.
When waiting, then, thank God for the tension; remind yourself there’s a solution and a blessing, in the midst of the tension. Declare Philippians 2:13 which says, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him.”
As you live in alignment with God (and your heart), you’ll find the confidence to handle the tension of living in today’s world. Also reassuring, is the knowledge that someday, we’ll live a tension-free life in Heaven. Until then, let’s face the tension wholeheartedly.