“Tension is living in the gap between certainty and uncertainty…we are wired to grow, and all growth stretches us beyond our comfort level. Comfort is the absence of tension; growth requires a swim in the murky, dangerous waters. We want adventure, but not without assurances that we will suffer no harm when we take risks. We want danger and excitement, but only as long as they come with a money-back guarantee that everything will work out before the game is finished.
But life isn’t like that There are no safe risks. There is no growth that comes with a guarantee of success Tension is the medium in which we breathe every day.”
~Dan Allender, To Be Told
How will I live this one little life? It seems like the question that has haunted most of my life. I came into the world a head-in-the-clouds girl with dreams aplenty. I learned reality young and hard in ways that marked me forever. I can look back and see the tests and the chances to risk. Sometimes I did. Many times I didn’t.
You see, it’s always been easier for me to see the big and say yes, rather than live day-in and day-out. I can say yes to countries and languages and whole new lives and yet when the little choices come, will I risk? trust? hope?
Tension has never really been a good word to me. It seemed a great thief that stole a happy family and broke my parents when I was twelve. That was when we lost our family farm and our dream. The sadness was a living presence I couldn’t escape unless I read a book and traveled to another world.
But to come back to real life and risk? I wasn’t like my sisters who could be with our mom in the days she was angry and sad. I just wanted her happy and I spent much of my early life trying to make that happen in a way she never wanted me to. In the process, I lost myself and had no idea the story God was writing because I wouldn’t risk the tension. I ended up a valedictorian with no real dreams.
But God was always keeping my story. Writing and weaving Himself through all the joys and sorrows. Bringing beauty from ashes and planting seeds of hope and faith.
I have come a long way towards tension. In the last month I have re-engaged my story and said yes to the telling. I don’t know what all the days ahead will bring, but I know they will bring growth. The chance to know and live God in this world. Simply because I am saying yes to risk.
I am placing my stake in the ground.
I am done with the fear. Of myself, others, imaginary things THAT ARE NOT REALITY.
I am done with comparison, compromise and comfort.
I am done with guilt, shoulds, hiding and shame.
I am done with saying yes to obvious risk yet no to risk closest to my heart.
I am done with believing lies that deny the courage and resilience God has woven in me over a lifetime.
I will embrace reality.
Perfect Love. Emmanuel—God with us. Jesus Christ who defeated death to free us from slavery to fear.
Redeemer of all of our tragedies, sorrows, pain. Who wastes nothing. Who woos in this fleeting life to lavish us for all eternity.
I will live what I write. The tragedy in its grief I will know. The beauty in its truth I will find. If words are my art then they will become the unique gift I offer as I risk their rejection and hold onto the hope that they are not in vain.
Later this month I will begin to tell my story anew through Missional Women. I’ll continue it here. It’s a radical thing for me to do. Even as I continue to write it, there are many moments of sheer disbelief that I am. It’s a part that’s been shrouded in silence, confusion and pain for as long as I can remember. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be writing this part of me, I would have been terrified and asked for ANYTHING ELSE to write about…please.
Yet I have come to believe that holding back, refusing to risk, will indefinitely stunt my intimacy with God and my husband. I receive infinite grace from God and more than I could ever re-pay from my husband and it is this grace that inspires me to live wild, full and free.
One of the last things my mother said to me was ‘don’t hold back.’ There was no explanation. The twelve years since I have, many times, been frustrated with her for such an all-encompassing charge with no idea what it meant or how to get there.
Today I smile at yet another gift she gave to me in the end. A sealed promise to carry me through whatever comes. An affirmation of how close to God’s heart living life abandoned for Him truly is. The best is yet to be…