Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I'm realizing that so much of life consists of learning to live in the place of tension.  I'm not talking about tension among people and relationships, but rather the tension between the reality we are now living and the future that is coming.  It's the space between the "today" and the "tomorrow."  The "now" and the "not yet".

And we all have this pull in some form or another.  It's a rare moment in life when we don't feel it.  Our present realities are not what we hope for - we long for something better, different.  There are jobs we long to have, degrees we work to earn, healing that we pray will come, redemption for which we wait, freedom from our bondage.  And the space in-between...the space between the promise and the fulfillment of it can be a desert wasteland where we wrestle with ourselves, struggle to believe, doubt God's goodness, and surrender...again, and again, and again.

I have an old dog named Tucker...a sweet chocolate lab that is 15 years old.  We still go on walks most every day, but they are at a snail's pace.  I might stand while he sniffs the same tree for 5 minutes...and I stand.  And I wait.  And I stand some more.
I am used to this pace now.  I have a neighbor who works at my school.  She laughed about how polar opposite this "dog walking version" of me is compared to what she sees at work.  I am a runner, sprinter, multi-tasker to the extreme at work...I whisk to and fro in order to get my work done at insane speeds....
AND then she sees me walking my dog.  Barely moving.  The paradox of it throws her off...
Tucker is not the young dog he once was....and yet he is still here with me.  I am in the space between.  And I actually have come to enjoy this pace with my sweet buddy as it's become a time where I think and pray and observe and slow down and meander. I'm learning to relish this space and live this space and see it as MY LIFE.

This is the challenge isn't it?  In all of our "in between" moments.  Our moments between the job we don't want and the job we do want....our moments between the longing for a child and the child's arrival...our moments between the diagnosis and the healthy again...and for the love this whole season of singleness that myself and so many girlfriends are in...

Between the "now" and the "not yet"

I'm learning that the space between is where a serious battle is fought.  If we let God work, the space of waiting is where much growth happens, and it is definitely where life happens.  I sometimes have to fight to believe that this IS my life...and that this IS a valuable piece of my story.  What feels like a middle space and time of waiting is critical in ways we may never understand.  But it is critical just the same.
I look at those in the Bible who stood in this place.  Abraham was promised a child and 25 years later...he was STILL WAITING.  Was the promise bad?  What his desire for a lineage wrong.  NO.  It was, in fact, God given. Hannah went to the temple every day to pray about her longing for a child.  She wept.  And she wept often.

It seems that we can go to two extremes in this place.  We can kill our desires out of a sheer need for emotional survival.  In doing this "killing" we deny our hearts and perhaps the very God-given desire that's been placed in us.  I wonder if Abraham went to this place...I wonder if he had moments where he said, "I don't really want a child.  My life is so much easier without a son."
In some ways this path can feel easier.
The other extreme is that we can settle for a pseudo fulfillment that is less than abundant.  We sell out to things that we know are not God's plan, but the sell out can seem better than nothing.
Neither of these extremes is living with an honest heart of trust and faith.

It takes much courage to stay in the tension....to live this moment we are in fully - holding the longing and the barrenness of it side by side with the trust and belief in God's goodness and abundance.  It is faith stretching.

May we be among those who live wherever we are well.  May we live this moment...this EXACT moment with joy and faith and beauty and trust.  I want to pull every shard of growth and rejoicing out of this place - believing what God says in Romans that "every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."

Where is your tension?  For what are you waiting?  What can you do to see this very moment as your life - as a space to be lived fully?