Tension: we’ve all felt it and we’ve all experienced it in a variety of different ways. We’ve encountered the tension of living a fulfilled life, yet giving our lives for the benefit of others. Of late, many of us have dealt with the tension that exists between living in conformity to the regulations set by government or society regarding the Covid-19 virus and living in the freedom of choice. We could go through almost every area of life and examine the tensions that exist.  Many times it seems people spend massive amounts of time, energy, and emotional capital to resolve or eradicate tension. However, I think it’s important that we come to the understanding that tension can often be beneficial in our lives.  We have been conditioned to view tension as something negative or bad for us. Maybe there is more to the story!

We have all jumped on a trampoline at one time or another; without the opposing tension of the springs around the tarp, we wouldn’t be able to bounce on the trampoline successfully. Similarly,  all of us have seen or read about huge bridges that are supported by cables. These bridges are called “suspension” or “tension Bridges.” It is the tension of these massive cables connected to weights on each end pulling against each other that holds the bridge in place. The unique design and the presence of “tension” provides the bridge the strength and the flexibility to endure through storms, earthquakes, and difficult conditions. This “good tension” allows the bridge to function as designed. The result of the tension allows the bridge to fulfill its designed purpose and serve travelers with the benefit of safe passage.

Hopefully, we can see that the same thing is true in our lives. There are various tensions present in our lives. Many times the tensions are there to bring healthy, beneficial strength, and stability to our lives. Let’s not automatically equate the presence of tension with something negative. On the same note, we should not allow the word “stress” to become synonymous with tension. Stress generally has a negative connotation and is associated with weariness, exhaustion, discouragement, and worse. It seems tension is often viewed in the same light, but it does not have to be. Let’s look for the ways healthy tension can benefit us. Consider these examples:

-Living in the present, planning for the future, and preparing for eternity.
-For followers of Jesus, living in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.  Being spiritually minded and doing earthly good.
-Hating bad things, loving all people.
-Leading a team to function well now, yet growing for the better for the future. Getting the job done and at the same time delegating, training and empowering others to duplicate efforts and maximize results.

The spectrum of illustrations is endless. So, let’s remember not all tension is negative; with God’s help and direction it can move us forward and help us achieve our goals, desires, and purpose. In the same way that a sail on a sailboat needs to have tension to collect the force of the wind to move it forward towards it’s appropriate destination, let’s harness the benefit of tension for our lives.Tension is necessary for the boat to reach its destination– maybe it is for us as well!  Let God’s specifically designed, uniquely prepared “tension” strengthen, empower, and move you forward to the fullness of all He has for you!

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