“In life we can be surrounded by tension. We try to avoid it, fix it, and remove it. But what if the tension in life is actually key to life? Tension can create beautiful harmony. It keeps us from falling flat and tunes us to the heart of God. It’s time to embrace the truth about tension.”
What is tension? Tension is defined as the state of being stretched tight or mental and emotional strain. What tensions are you feeling today? Are you stressed because of finances, being a perfect parent, finding your true love, or landing that big job? Are you waiting to see what new disasters may be brought on 2022? We are walking on eggshells as year after year, especially for the last couple of years, things generally have not been good as a nation. As parents, we are worn out, exhausted, from all the new barriers we face and the things we must educate our children about. I’m reminded of a meme that went viral claiming that suicide rates had gone up due to the pandemic. The truth is, the study found that suicide rates had decreased, probably due to the new ways (like text) that are available for outreach! The alarming part as a parent, is that the suicide rates shifted showing an increase in suicide rates among children. This can cause some tension. As a parent we want a picture-perfect childhood for our kids. This tension early on can cause one of two things, a closer walk with God or going in the other direction. Salvation isn’t a one and done type of thing, afterwards there is a journey with God. The road of sanctification. Sanctification is a theological word that describes our spiritual journey and growth. We can all admit that there are times when we have strayed from God since accepting Him into our hearts. During the tension as children, through these difficult times it is up to us as parents to work hard and continuously plant the seeds in them. Plant the word of God so that they have it as reference any time they need it. “But whatever I am not, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NLT). We must do work, do His work in our children, through the grace that He has poured out on us. We must as parents support our kids, love them through the process and let God do his work as well. There is a tension between what we must do and when God takes over. Paul was referencing both his works and His works, noting the difference between the two but that both must coincide with each other to create a balance. So what is our part in this, individually and as parents? Well, we must “stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 (NLT). We aren’t perfect but we can make choices to stay on the right path. Change the radio station to Klove or Air1. This puts the word of God in their head on a daily basis as long as you are able to control it. Let’s be honest, a lot of children listen to junk when they aren’t around their parents. I’m sure that’s not Christian music being blasted when a teen is in a mood. If you don’t want to listen to that, try turning the radio off. I’ve had some wonderful, deep, and meaningful conversations with my children just riding down the road…as teenagers even! Another choice we can make is in what we watch. Don’t get me wrong, raising kids, I had my own tv shows I liked to watch. An occasional junk tv show might briefly pique my curiosity, but not around my kids. I’ll be honest, it was not always the most fun tv we could watch, but I was choosing not to expose them to the sexual nature and sailor mouths that are available on tv now. Making choices to reinforce our sanctification and keeping ourselves holy will spill out into our children. Again, our sanctification is a journey, and so will theirs be. We must seek to support, love, and provide the Gospel. We are going to look more at tension in the coming weeks. Ways to identify the tension, challenge the tension, and turn it around for good! Stay safe and warm out there!