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Pursuing Tension

Erik Cooper —  April 18, 2009 — 1 Comment

Yesterday was kite day at my kids’ school. The annual 30 minutes ritual of high-flying hopes, tangled string, and unexpected cardiovascular exertion.  And yesterday was a beautiful day for it!  Sunny, 75 degree, short-sleeved weather…with one major problem.  No wind. No wind?  In Indiana in the springtime?  Yep…almost absolutely zero.  Hardly a leaf rattling.

In risk of sounding incredibly obvious and even more so in making an incredibly cheesy analogy, wind is important for kite-flying (did you know that?).  The tension of the airflow against the nylon of the kite is actually what makes go airborne, and the same holds true for our lives (insert soaring Bette Midler lyrics here).

But I bet many of you are like me and have a natural aversion to tension.  When things become uneasy, difficult, or complicated, your first desire is to return things to a state of “normal.” Tension rarely feels good.  It presses against our state of rest and shakes us from our complacency.  It makes us uncomfortable.  I like to be comfortable.  Unfortunately, my comfort never accomplishes anything of real value and is usually a tell-tale sign I’m living far below the potential God has for my life.

Some tension is a a result of irresponsibility or bad decision-making and truly is a sign that something needs to be fixed.  But other tension comes from really doing something, of shaking-up normal, of pressing towards lives that truly make a difference.  Stepping out and risking something big not only creates tension internally, but it usually upsets people and systems around you that have a vested interest in holding to the status quo.  That kind of resistance should be sought after.

The kites just wouldn’t fly yesterday because there was no wind, no resistence, no tension to push them higher (more cheesy Bette Midler droaning here). I don’t want to run from that kind of tension.  I want to pursue it.