Problems to solve, tensions to manage

By Dave Henning / March 12, 2022

” ‘There are problems to solve and tensions to manage,’ says Andy Stanley.  Discerning the difference is critical. You don’t manage problems — you solve them.  And you don’t solve tensions — you manage them.  Building off that idea, bad habits are problems to solve.  Good habits are tensions to manage.”- Mark Batterson

“Oh, how I wish that God would speak . . . and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides.”- Job 11:6 (NIV)

On Day 13 (“Walk the Wire”) of Do It for a Day, Mark Batterson tells the story of Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk over Niagara Falls.  On June 15, 2012, Wallenda walked a 1500-foot, six- centimeter wide, steel wire suspended across the Falls.  In addition, the wire swayed back and forth in the wind.  Because the wire couldn’t be stabilized.  Also, the soaking we wire dipped thirty-five feet in the middle.

Furthermore, Niagara Falls presented unique ecosystem challenges.  The water produces a constant mist as six hundred thousand gallons of water cannonball at 167 feet per second.  And updrafts and side drafts blow at sixty mph.

However, as Nik inched his way across that very slippery wire, he prayed and praised Jesus Christ with every step he took.  He made a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Yet, Mark observes, life never seems to achieve perfect balance.  We always seem to counterbalance our jobs, marriages, hobbies, and habits.  Therefore, the author states, he lives by a little maxim: Truth is found in the tension of opposites.

But it’s always easy to fall into dualistic thought patterns.  Above all, these thought patterns create false dichotomies.  Consequently, that causes us to think of problems in either-or categories.  And that thinking, in turn, makes it hard to come up with both-and solutions.  A third way exists, the Jesus Way.  And not only does Jesus help us see a third way – He is the third way.  For He’s the Son of Man and the Son of God.

Today’s question: What problems to solve and tensions to manage threaten to overwhelm you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The unstoppable force paradox”

About the author

Dave Henning

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