I started this morning in the Word, with a steaming cup of rich coffee in my favorite robin’s-egg-blue mug. As I sipped in the warmth and the quiet, I read Psalm 27. Here, David encapsulates the place The Lord has called him to dwell within — tension.
27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold1 of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
I scheduled a babysitter today so that I could get away to write. I felt the tension as I prepared to exit for a few hours — giving instructions and keeping expectations low, leaving lovingly instead of sprinting out the back door.
After packing the car, I only had to get one to football and I was on my way. The seamless drop-off to practice ended up happening an hour late because this momma was the only momma who had no clue all the kids are supposed to be in full pads for the first practice. Instead of writing, I headed to Academy and, among learning other football know-how, mastered the skill of inflating a very expensive football helmet.
And now that I finally made it here to write, I breathe relief. Sitting in the wicker chair, I can’t help but hear a nearby conversation, which is beautifully timed. Two very early 20-something college girls are in dialogue about their futures. They joke about graduating and what kinds of jobs they might have someday.
And the one sitting closest to me, her pretty blond hair tucked back in a loose-ish pony tail lowers her voice a bit and says, with a slight giggle in her voice, “Well, maybe you’ll get married and you won’t have to work and you can have babies and stay at home.”
Her friend, brunette and bubbly and perfect in her makeup and navy checkered polo, responds, “I can only hope so. That would be the life.”
Now you know who’s laughing inside.
Because, those sweet girls… they can’t know.
The lack of tension in their conversation revealed they couldn’t think multi-dimensional about their own future lives. Ignorance allows us to make assumptions without thoroughly considering, without feeling the pull on two sides of a tug o war rope. Ignorance allows relief from tension.
That conversation reminded me that this tension that God has me in is so right in the middle of His will. When I ask him to make it easy, I need to be willing to ask him to make me ignorant. When I ask him to get rid of a problem I can’t solve, I am asking him to make me self-reliant. When I ask him why he has a perfectly intelligent, college graduated 38-year-old mother of five still asking boys to pick up the toilet seat and aim, please, aim, and not doing something more important, like working, I need to remember what my not working really means.
Not working means lots of different things to lots of different people. As I consider the added responsibility of starting school again with my kids in a mere ten days, I know this to be true. It is a privilege to own my work and believe it is worth this time of my life, full of tightly pulled and grace-ridden tension.