on living in tension.


I am healing, but I am not yet (nor will I be this side of heaven) fully healed.

I am growing, but I have much to learn.

I am confident in the Gospel, but I am ashamed by much of what I see from evangelical Christians.

I struggle with anxiety, but I am working on stepping into greater freedom from worry.

I want to create and make, but I feel uninspired.

I am opening up to a new relationship, but still wrestling with wounds from past ones.

I value community and connection highly, but I feel like I haven't found my people yet.

I find hope in recent political victories (thank you, Black women, for being leaders we all should follow!), but overwhelmingly discouraged by the state of our nation.

I want to give my money to all the incredible organizations fighting for good in the world, but my budget is tight and I have debt to pay off.

I want to be real and transparent with my story, but I wrestle with sharing too much and being too vulnerable.

I'm exhausted and in need of deep rest, but I find myself restless all night.

the tension is everywhere. I could have written a million more examples of how I see it show its face in my life. (and i'm sure you could do the same.) it feels heavy most of the time, and murky and foggy and all sorts of other less than pleasant things. i'm unsure what to do with it, when I feel torn in different directions and burdened by the realities of my life and this world around me contrasted with my own limits. I don't know how to hold what I know to be true of the big picture with what feels undeniable in this present moment before me.

I don't know how to hold both the now and also the not yet.

and so I am learning to live in tension.

I am learning to open my hands, my heart, my soul to hold both the hope and the pain, the grief and the joy, the striving and the resting, the anger and the peace, the wanting and the accepting, the moving forward and the taking steps back.

i'm not quite sure how to do it well.

but I think it starts with naming it. and I think it moves to reframing it.

i'm prone to live in the land of "everything is awful and I cannot do this and it is all too bad and broken and we are doomed forever so let's just wallow and give up." (this is my Enneagram One perfectionist self dissolving into a tragic, moody, irrational Four state of believing, like Ones do when under stress.)

but I want to step into the more beautiful land of "yes, things are hard, but look at the beauty! we can have hope! we can believe in the best, come together to make things happen, and celebrate the victories, however small! we can still laugh, still love, still unite, still have faith! God is at work, and we are here to be his hands and feet, and we can make things happen because he is our strength! there is more to be had-- more good, more light, more life, more freedom, more hope!" (and that is what it looks like to integrate to a Seven--as Ones do in security--and live lightly, spontaneously, freely, and joyfully-- how lovely does it sound?)

and here is what we must remember: it is not naive to believe things can change.

in fact, believing and hoping and working for the change? it's risky. it's gutsy. it's brave. it's hard work, but it's worth it. and it is not something we can do alone, on our own strength, in a vacuum, without a heavy dose of faith.

and so, we learn to feel the tension. then we learn to not let it defeat us. we learn to hold our heads high despite all that is trying to knock us down. we learn to link arms with our neighbors, even when they look different from ourselves. we learn to open our hearts, our homes, our eyes, our wallets, our minds. we learn to let our hearts feel and love again. we learn to step out from our bubbles and embrace new ideas. we learn to speak up, to say what matters, to use our voices on behalf of the quieted, to stand for justice and shout it proudly. we learn to march onward, always holding on to hope. we learn that the risk is worth it, even when we can't yet see the reward. we learn to be brave. we learn to soldier on. we learn to grow.

we believe that rivers will once again stream through the wastelands. we believe that new life will sprout through rocky soil. we believe that a highway will be made through the desert. we believe that what was last will be made first. we believe that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed. we believe that the five loaves and few fish will be enough for an abundant feast. we believe that death is not the end, but resurrection is coming. we believe that our brokenness will be traded for new creations. we believe that healing will restore our aching bodies. we believe that the storms will be calmed. we believe that demons will be cast out. we believe that the ones who wander will be brought back to the flock. we believe that the poor will find treasure in heaven. we believe that the corrupt will be brought to justice. we believe that the narrow road leads to true life. we believe our savior has come, and that he is coming.

and even if the tension lingers, even if it stays a mystery, even when we can't understand, we bravely carry on in radical faith with unending hope.