Church Innovations’ Partners Post

October 19, 2009

Addicted to Tension: Seeking the Peace

I heard a speaker say recently that North Americans are addicted to tension.  She didn’t mean just interested in it, the way you are interested when the plot of a play or a novel or a movie suddenly twists and things get more tense. She meant ADDICTED.  We actually go looking for more tension, needing it, flipping the channels of our lives for disagreement and all manner of trouble.


I wanted to retort, “No – that’s just the Jerry Springer crowd – not everybody likes that. Not reasonable, intelligent people.”  I wanted to. But the more I think about it, the more I might say that I often go looking for problems, and then of course I manage to find them. Sometimes I am indeed troubleshooting, as part of my job. I look for problems in a manuscript or article. When I find them, I fix them, like a plumber, plugging leaks in meaning.  But sometimes I’m just watching TV when the weather forecaster appears, and, although the meteorology might be excellent, the grammar is poor, and that is a leak I cannot plug, and so I merely wring my hands and lament the death of the English language, yada yada yada.


Just as I had better not waste a lot of my God-given energy and time on grammar I cannot fix, I had better not chase after other kinds of trouble and tension I cannot do anything about. Yet, I often do, and so do many around me. It is, in fact, a waste of energy and time.  It is not good stewardship. But I see so many people going around looking for things to worry about, to be tense about, that have to agree with the speaker. We must in fact be addicted to tension.


So, for the next 40 days and 40 nights, I am going to go around looking for peace. Abundance. Shalom. I will be carrying a notebook. And every time I find it, I will write it down and describe it. I am going to un-addict myself to tension and substitute peace-seeking. 40 days and nights puts the end of my quest on Thanksgiving weekend.  I will post as I go.  I don’t expect I’ll stop encountering tension; this is a very tense time for many people for many reasons. But I hope to find something else entirely. Anyone with me?       Peace.    Pat Taylor Ellison


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