Tug-of-war can be a really fun way to get exercise, build teamwork, and enjoy a spirited competition. Then again, it can also be a great way to get pulled into a big mud puddle!
Emotional tug-of-war can be a frustrating, draining exercise that diverts our energy from positive pursuits and relationship-building activity into a muddy pit of wasted life. Does this sound familiar? Have you experienced the discouragement of pouring seemingly endless energy into a relationship, with the underlying goal of “having it your way,” only to feel the ongoing pull on the emotional rope of the other person who is equally invested in “having it his/her way?” There are definitely better ways to get a strenuous workout!
Folks, as I always strive to do in my sharing with you, I’m going to level with you about my own struggles in this fruitless playing of emotional tug-of-war. Despite my sincere desire and efforts to grow spiritually, emotionally, relationally (they are really simply different strands of the same rope, by the way), I still slip back into playing this game. It is exhausting and a ridiculous waste of my time, focus, and energy. And yet, there I go – picking up the rope and straining and pulling and sweating and cursing for all I’m worth! YUCK!
The weariness and emotional drain isn’t even the most painful part of the process. The real pain comes in realizing that however justified and “Right” I may feel in my position in this particular round of emotional tug-of-war, what is actually driving me to hold that rope and pull with all my might is PRIDE. Plain old sinful egotistical pride! I think my way is right, and I won’t let go until you agree. Take that! And so I voluntarily tie my self to an individual (or organization or entity) that I believe, at least at the present moment, to be misguided and wrong. And then I wonder why my blood pressure goes up and I feel agitated and tired. Wait a minute – haven’t I been pursuing FREEDOM in my life?!! Don’t I still want to live in freedom as I journey along the road of life? Don’t I still believe I cannot truly offer gifts of freedom to others if I do not live in freedom in my own life? What to do?…
DROP THE ROPE!!!
(Next post – Dropping the Rope)