It is every man’s worst nightmare: you’re on a date with a girl, things are going well, you lean in for a goodnight kiss….and she turns her head at the last minute. You have an awkward cheek-kiss-side-hug, say goodnight, and limp home. My own wife did this to me. Of course she wasn’t my wife at the time; we still still dating. She now claims innocence but I know she was deliberately playing hard to get. Spoiler alert! I did eventually kiss her. But most of us have experienced the tension of a moment like that. A band I used to listen to has a song called “The Tension and the Terror”, and the lyrics of the chorus really capture the excited, fearful anticipation such moments:
And I try but I’m not convincing
Your lips, they pout and twist
And I die trying just to keep myself from kissing you
You take in everything with
a certainty I envy
It’s somehow all I need
Just keep me guessing please
The writer of the song dreads, yet longs for, this uncertain moment. He both identifies AND juxtaposes the tension with terror. This tension is scary… and beautiful!
Whether you are in school or working, single or married, young or old, you will experience tension in your life on a regular basis. Tension occurs when our perceptions or expectations are challenged. It is a pulling back and forth of our own experiences and expectations with that of others’. It can be, and usually is, quite uncomfortable. When you find yourself scared (or even terrified) of the tension this season, remember that is when you grow. Girls know that trimming your hair makes your hair healthier. Guys know that lifting weights and breaking your muscles down makes you stronger. Less masculine guys know that playing video games on a harder level increases your skills. And so we as Christians grow in Christ, and with each other, when we are challenged and force to wrestle with ideas and situations beyond our grasp. Just like Jacob wrestled with an angel in Genesis 32, sometimes all we have to do is hang on and God will bless us. We need that tension!