One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Luke 2:52 (NLT), “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” In other words, Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. As his followers, we can too.
Tim Arnold introduced me to the concept of “managing healthy tension.” He wrote that “because of society’s obsession with problem solving, we often treat every challenge as a problem to be solved and end up frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed.” Instead of viewing two opposites as a problem to be solved, see them as a tension to be managed. When I heard him first explain this on a podcast I was able to name a tension I had felt in full-time ministry for years. It came up even just yesterday as I was talking with a former coworker and commenting on the number of supervisors she has had in recent years. “Amy, if you were focused on my professional development, my next boss wanted to spiritually support me through prayer.”
We were on video chat, so I kept smiling on the outside, but on the inside, I felt defensive. What?! Was I not “spiritual” enough in my support of you? Would you like me to list how often I prayed for you?
Very mature, I know.
In full-time ministry I’ve heard people described as either wired to be more on the business side or the pastoral side. While it’s true that we will not be awesome at everything, do you see how that is more the language of “solving” than “managing?” Instead, I see God calling us all to be people of growth in both areas.
God wants you and me to be people who tend our souls and build our skills. That’s what you will find here at Global Trellis. Tuesdays are called Soul Tending Tuesdays; every Tuesday you will have an invitation, insight, spiritual practice, or suggestion for how you can tend your soul as a cross-cultural worker. Thursdays are Skill Building Thursdays and you be offered tips, insights, and suggestions to help you personally and professionally develop.
Tim Arnold says every pole has a necessary upside and a feared downside and too often we will pit the positives of one side against the negatives of the other. Growing as a cross-cultural worker involves tending your soul and building your skills, but someone might push back saying, “Who cares if our team meetings are poorly run and a waste of time when people are dying and going to hell?” Or someone else might say, “It must be nice to be able to take a Sabbath every week, I’m too busy to be able to take a full Sabbath every week.” Souls and skills aren’t enemies, they are essential parts of integrated beings!
Tending and building are not about quick fixes or big moves. Instead they are about steady faithfulness over the long haul.
Since today is Tuesday, read Luke 2:52 again:
“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”
If you were to pick one area for God to help you stop viewing as a problem in your life to be solved, and instead you saw it as a tension to be managed, which would you choose?
—Favor with God
—Favor with people
How have to tried to “solve” it? What would it take for you to grow in your ability (willingness?) to manage the tension?
(Welcome to Global Trellis! I’m glad you’re here.)