The Inevitable & Necessary Tensions of Life

Posted by on Nov 17, 2010 in Blog, Gary | 12 comments

It’s amazing and frustrating how opposing realities can exist simultaneously – and this tension can often create a great deal of confusion. As I have observed and thought about this reality, I find that these tensions are both inevitable and necessary. Here’s my short list.

Aggressive and Waiting

We must not call an unwillingness to – move waiting on God. Nor should we design our own destiny through manipulation and striving and call it God’s will.

We must move with passion and intentionality toward the things that God has put on our heart, but with an attentive ear (and eye) toward God, understanding that what we now know is partial and incomplete and perhaps a little misdirected.

Undiminished and Deferring

We need to fully offer who we are (undiminished) and yet encourage others to bring their splendor, brilliance, abundance forward (deferring to others).

As we begin to offer the glory of our life, we must not make it “all about me” or “my moments”. Nor should we allow another to diminish our glory in order to showcase theirs.

Simplicity and Complexity

We need to live a simple, uncluttered, focused, intentional life.

We must not live a simplistic, naive, unrealistic life of denial and isolation.

Present-Focused and Past-Aware

We need to live in the present, not the past or the future.

However, we need to own our past by dealing with the effect it has had on us, learning from it and observing the trajectory God has us on now and in the future.

Joy and Sorrow

We must pursue the joy of the Lord, not settling into pessimism or fatalism.

We must also not pursue a life of pleasure, becoming narcissistic, closing our hearts to the lives, pain and suffering in this world.

Together and Alone

We can’t understand our self, the world we live in, or the love of God, alone. We must let the lives of others intermingle with our own.

We can’t understand the heart of God or our own heart if we are always in the swirl of others. We must disengage and quiet our heart in order to hear our own life speak and to hear the voice of God.

Tensions create a need for guidance, protection, wisdom, self-examination and counsel – in other words, God.

Let’s allow the discomfort of tension to drive us toward God – and into frequent times of quieting our heart, re-reading what He has written to us, listening for His voice and relaxing in His fathering love.

Living in the tension with you,

Gary Barkalow

12 Responses to “The Inevitable & Necessary Tensions of Life”

  1. Great insights Gary! You are a blessing.

    • ” you cannot experience true happiness without having suffered extreme sorrow”
      I think these tensions in life push and pull us and make us stronger and lead us to where we are supposed to be .

  2. Great Read, Gary. It’s like “staying in the Saddle”. The Enemy doesn’t care which side you fall off of. Just as long as you Fall. I have only road a horse once in my life. But it seems like there was this “feel” that was needed. Like when to tighten down and when to release was a skill I would need to seriously develop to gain authority over this powerful thing. Actually, I feel a post rising to the surface with this analogy. Got to go.

  3. I thank God for messengers like you who can deliver His message so clearly and succinctly to my heart at just the right time. You are an amazing servant and a blessing to us all Gary. Thank you so very much for your authenticity and for being a light along the pathway.

  4. You’ve got eagle eyes on this subject! Somehow you can see through all of the clutter & hone in on your prey from a mile away. Thank you for being brave enough to expose your thoughts on this, it could rub people the wrong way who aren’t ready for it. But that’s what happens when you speak truth! Keep it up, I love it!

  5. “Tensions create a need…” This is a truth so profound, and yet so difficult to believe and live in. These tensions are such a gift from God, and yet how easy it is for me to default into trying to manage them myself. Let’s face it: without him, we are toast. Thank you for giving such specific words to this Gary. This is a post I will print and reference often.

  6. Sort of like Ignatious’ concept of being a “Contemplative in motion”.

  7. Cooper Wise says:

    Once again you nailed it, my friend! This journey would not be the same with out a ‘noble heart’; I know I would tend towards arrogance and strive to be humble at the same time. Thankfully, walking wiht Jesus and his friends keeps me out of the underbrush and quicksand most of the time. You make a good ‘point man’, Barkalow.

  8. You’re writing is excellent. Thank you for sharing your authentic heart, and the truth. You keep a-goin’! God bless you all, and your work!

  9. The ones I always have a hard time with, “waiting on the Lord – step out in faith” and “confidence – cocky – humble” I battle with these all the time.

  10. Nice report on your White River 50 Mile Run.FYI when Uli ran the course in 2004 the Buck Creek aid station was located at mile 27.2. In 2005 or 2006 the aid station was moved down course approximately 0.2 or 0.3 miles (i.e. to mile 27.4 or 27.5). If you correct your Buck Creek split time for the change in location your 2009 split time will be nearly identical to Uli's 2004 split time.Allan L. SchuehleWhite River 50 Mile Timer

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