When is Tension a Good Thing?


(picture thanks to pixabay.com)

Way back when the earth was green (aka when I was in Bible college), I thought balance was synonymous with compromise. It was black or white with me; there were no grey areas. Therefore, how could one achieve this elusive “balance” – and why would one want to?

Did I mention I was young and inexperienced?

While I still believed in absolutes, over the years I came to a new understanding of balance. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. And no, it wasn’t the same as compromise.

But then . . .

I went to the Write Canada conference this past weekend and have again tossed aside the idea of balance (though I still believe in absolutes). It was replaced with a similar, but more applicable, concept . . .

Mountain Climber

(picture thanks to pixabay.com)

Does your life ever – or always – feel like this?

If you’re a rock climber, you realize how important the right amount of tension is?

Fiction writers also know that, without tension, their stories will disappear into the abyss.

Tension . . .

We don’t often think of it in positive terms, but it is a huge part of life.

During one of his sessions at the conference, Ted Dekker commented that we spend much of life seeking to again become childlike. Jesus said we had to become like little children to see Heaven (Matthew 18:3).

And yet . . .

We do have grown-up decisions to make. Therefore, it is important to mature.

Being childlike, however, is not the same as being childish.

I always want to retain the wide-eyed wonder of a child, embracing the moment, and delighting in life. (I know that not all children have this luxury, but thankfully, many of them do. And this is childhood at its best.)

And what about big picture . . .


. . . versus the up close and personal perspective?


If we only take the broad view, we won’t notice the intricacies of what is right in front of us.

On the other hand . . .

If we’re myopic, we will never see the beauty of the landscape and see that we have a place in something so much bigger than ourselves.

And what about writing?

My worldview influences every poem, every blog post, and every story I write. However, sometimes my Christian faith will be central and at others, it will bubble under the surface. I will always seek to maintain the most effective tension.

While some may still think of these ideas as achieving balance, I feel the tug, the positive tension. I want to be like the woman in the mountain climbing picture. I want to know the tension is tight enough that I won’t plummet to the rocks below but loose enough that I can spread my arms and embrace the thrill of any given moment.

So, how do you feel about tension now?


6 thoughts on “When is Tension a Good Thing?

  1. ramonafurst

    So good! Tension ranks up with change. We can’t live without both of them.

    It takes ongoing work, wisdom and wit to find the balance. Expectations of others versus my heavenly father pushing me out of my comfort zone because He believes in me. I agree Janet, the photograph was great. But then I’m a visual kind of girl! (:

  2. Pingback: What I Brought Home from Write Canada 2014 | Janet Sketchley

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