Friday, October 22, 2010


Tension: " The act of stretching something tight" -- "the feeling of uncertainty and interest about the outcome of certain actions" -- a balanced relation between opposing (different) elements" -- "the interplay of conflicting elements that make up an effective piece of literature and esp. a poem".

OK, what's the point? Just this: we tend to think of tension as something negative; something to be avoided at all costs such as a "tension" headache or an emotional (mental) strain. I want to propose that tension can be very good in helping us be more effective in relationships as well as in ministry. Because it can tend to make us somewhat uncomfortable, we generally want to avoid tension but I think we should learn to embrace it.

An effective musical instrument with strings needs to have proper tension to sound good. Too much and it can break; too little and you get nothing. In my relationship with my wife, tension between ideas, thoughts and feelings can make me uncomfortable but it can produce power and intimacy that otherwise wouldn't be there. It's like the place where two powerful rivers come together: There are strong, sometimes dangerous currents, whirlpools that look bad, and rapids that can leave you breathless. But downstream a ways, the river is stronger, wider, deeper and much more effective that either river was on its own.

It can be that way in ministry when people are working together: Thought against thought, idea against idea, feeling against feeling. You know -- tension. But when you put together the conflicting elements and have some patience, what comes out of it is like a beautiful piece of literature. And it ministers to so many.

Up North Wisdom says that if I love and appreciate the person I live with, the person I have relationship with, the person that I minister with, then I will give way when it is needed, speak up when it is needed and press forward. I will not give in, give out or give up even when I am really tempted to. Begin to see tension as a positive force in building something really good in your relationships and your ministry. God will give wisdom to know when the tension is too great (and in danger of breaking) or when the tension is too loose and nothing happens -- no growth, no building, no progress and no intimacy.

Take a chance and see what God will do when you turn over your fears and doubts to Him. When you understand and embrace Godly tension, you will really believe that: The Best Is Yet To Come! Blessings!


  1. When I was in design school we learned that a tension in a layout created a place of focus. As a designer this could be used to our advantage in order to bring focus to something in a design we wanted to be seen and processed. I know God uses tension very often to force us to deal with our issues. When something gets tight it is hard to hide anything in it. I appreciate the climate of love we minister in at LHC, no one rooting for our destruction, just a family growing together. As you lead us and continue to bring personalities in the box... and on the box, the tension has increased! I am thankful you lead by turning your fears and doubts to God, leading us in the Godly tension that we are encountering.

  2. This is probably my favorite blog you've had yet! I love when you talk about putting together the conflicting elements and "having some patience" its a struggle...seriously...your wisdom amazes me at times! "Thought against Thought" My best relationships are the ones that are always ok with that idea. Thanks...this is a really good post...thanks!