Skip to main content

The Beautiful Tension

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

A few weeks ago, my pastor started a new sermon series out of Philippians, and I've been chewing on the verse above in particular ever since.

I honestly don't know about you, but whenever I come across a verse like this, I feel a beautiful sense of tension start to build inside of me. I think it's because Philippians 1:6 is one of those verses that can be read with either a sense of fatalism or a sense of hope. I tend to read it with little bit of both (which might explain some of why I feel this tension in the first place).

For me, the fatalism is in the knowing that I wasn't zapped into a perfect creature here on Earth the second I chose to surrender to the one who wanted to do a good work in me (God). It is very much a process, and living in a society where so much is available to me so quickly means sometimes I indulge in a mindset of entitlement simply because I want something. Knowing that this good work isn't going to be done any time soon is exhausting and frustrating and makes me want to just give up (fatalism at its finest, eh?).

The hope is in the promise that "he who has started a good work" will finish what he started. I know, I know... We do live in this crazy world where promises are broken more than they are kept, but I don't think it's crazy to think God is capable of keeping his promises. From Genesis to Revelation is one gigantic string of promises made and kept (to either the benefit or detriment of those he made promises to). Even if I didn't have the evidence of and in my life to prove his capability, shouldn't the Bible be enough?

The tension, then, is the existence of the two in the same place. What does that look like, and where is the balance, then?

Where the balance is, I think, is in not falling into the lies - the lies that can creep in along with the knowledge that we are works in progress. The process of perfection is long, painful, everything but pleasant. In the moments when I'm tired, stressed, fill in the blank with a negative feeling, it's easy to listen to the lie that what I am is what I am, and I'm always going to be this way, so there is very little point in trying to be anything else.

That sound familiar to you?

I thought so. But the promise is that it will be finished. I am not who I was, and I'm not who I will be. I'm on the beautifully tense path between them.

And I'm learning to embrace the journey between the two.


Popular posts from this blog

My Writer's Toolbox: Thesauruses I Love

I don't know about the rest of you writers in the crowd, but there are times when I struggle to get the right words to come out onto the page. The debate over using thesauruses amongst authors can be fierce. My personal opinion is that there is definitely a place and time to use them (they've saved me from missing deadlines on a few occasions), so long as a writer is careful not to overuse them. Because I do consider them an essential in my writer's toolbox of resources, I thought I would share the ones I make the most use out of and where you can find them. 1. Webster's New World Thesaurus (credit: @catpollockwrites IG, posted 8/24/2017 ) When you were in grade school, did your teachers ever hand out those monthly or bimonthly Scholastic book catalogs with all the age-appropriate books coming out that they wanted you to buy? That, my friends, is how I got a hold of my thesaurus. It's almost like mid-thirties me traveled back in time and whispered int

Metaphors: Candles

I've recently fallen in love with candles. Since coming home from the World Race , I've bought at least one a month. My favorite candles are the ones that come in glass jars - because when they burn out, I can clean the remaining wax out and put the jars to other uses. Right now,  that means they get cleaned out and packed away in anticipation of my move to Flagstaff. But as I was lighting one tonight (vanilla spice... Thanksgiving smells? Yes, please!), I saw a metaphor for writing flickering away in the flame licking at the wick and melting the wax. I suppose it could be a metaphor for life in general, but since the theme of this blog is writing... Well, you do the math.

[Five Minute Friday] Purpose

Fiber bars, strewn along the side of the road. There had to be at least a dozen of them, still in their wrappers and completely unopened. No box in sight. Really? That's about the reaction my younger sister and I had when we stumbled on them on our early morning run. Really? along with disgusted sighs about the wastefulness of it. These were the expensive ones, not a generic store brand that kind of tastes and kind of looks the same sometimes. So, when we weren't keeping an eye out for their box, we speculated about what had happened. And wondered how many more we were going to see before the end of our run. "Maybe they took one bite and thought they were gross," my sister said. "So they threw them out because they didn't want them anymore." I let out one of those disgusted sighs and nodded along with her theory. "Yeah, or they got in a huge fight, and threw them out in a fit of rage." "That's a possibility." And