Last week a small support group called Stronger Families met at our offices to seek and support each other in walking a tightrope. In my walk as a Christian, I find my balance can be very difficult to maintain but leads to strong families. We talked Friday about finding balance on the tightrope between commitments to a person and commitments to a Person.
Tightropes: Connections Between Two Commitments
Let me explain. I love people-they fascinate me. Walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation, playing checkers with someone I’ve never met, and sharing a joke-this is great fun! Even learning some of the more difficult things they have gone through or finding out about their past, I love to hold people’s stories. And for the most part, I never think of them as good or bad stories. I look for the responses to what happened, the thoughts and feelings that emerge. It tells so much about the internal, unconscious choices and make up of the individual. Once I get to know you well, you continue to fascinate me and I love to spend time with you. And that doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about my family. These people I love whom I have known for most of my life hold a connection for me that is indescribable.
Then there is the other hand. I love God. He fascinates me! Reading His Word brings complexity to life and the way I see things. You can boil down His commands and teachings to fairly simple things but they are always complex and nuanced in application. He loves to use paradoxes to keep us dependent on Him and a bit off balance. His explanations for how life works can be as simple as love your neighbor or as complex as describing what love is. His values can be seen throughout the Bible. But completely understanding Him or knowing why He thinks the way He does, this is impossible. When He calls disobedience to parents a ‘depraved mind’, I cringe. Working with parents to encourage good behavior is a lot of my day and none of it do I describe disobedience in that way. He can be very harsh. But I believe He is loving and good and that I don’t understand all there is about Him. So my commitment to Him is to believe what He says, even when I don’t understand it.
Now that I’m on the tightrope, what do I do?
So what does that mean when one of my family members, whom I am more committed to than any others, whom I love, has beliefs and lifestyles that God describes in harsh ways? In my lived experience, as a Mom, sister, therapist, and wife, I notice the behavior, say what I believe the Bible is saying, and allow God to take care of it. I let God and the other person be in control of their relationship without needing to be involved. The tightrope I’m on means that I become very aware of the authority God has given to me in this life, the authority over my actions and words, and the lack of authority over others.
This tightrope has led to extremely difficult conversations with family, friends and people in the public. Christians today feel like others watch our walk on this tightrope and are just waiting for us to fail. And I’ve had experiences on this tightrope that have made me very uncomfortable and stretched me in ways I really never wanted to be stretched. But God is good and my family is good and I have been blessed by the stretching and by the balance. And we all know that we are stronger after a good stretch.
Need help? Call us.
Are you having difficulty walking this tightrope with a special person in your life? I’d love to talk with you. Call me at 940-222-8703 ext 700. Consider coming to our group, Stronger Families held the first Friday of every month from 12:30 to 2. You are not meant to do this alone and we are here to help.