The Secret to Finding Peace
Every significant life change that I’ve experienced was born out of tension, pain, and doubt from a dilemma — about marriage, kids, career, my health, the future and even about God.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like dilemmas. I don’t like paradox. They’re confusing. Unclear. I feel like I’m lost in space with nothing to grab on to. But here’s the rub. I believe God designed life to be like that. Fortunately, The Crucible Project’s initial weekend helped me to move from the pain of unconscious dilemmas to peace in my dilemmas.
Richard Rohr, a founder of the Men’s Rites of Passage community, which shares many of The Crucible Project’s values, has explored paradoxes for decades. In “Overcoming Contradictions”, Rohr suggests, “The binary, dualistic mind cannot deal with contradictions, paradox, or mystery, all of which are at the heart of religion.” Growing in faith and in God means knowing more how little I know about Him, about life and the future … and learning to be okay with my limited understanding.
In other words, life is designed to be a paradox. Paradoxes create logical problems and tension that we cannot resolve with just our minds. Paradoxes force us to “lean not on our own understanding but trust in the Lord with all your heart: in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Our path will straighten when we stop trying to straighten it ourselves.
Rohr writes more about this in another article, “Mystery is the Endless Knowability,” “When you allow yourself to fall into the abyss — into hiddenness, limitlessness, unknowability, a void without boundaries — you discover it’s somehow a rich, supportive, embracing spaciousness where you don’t have to ask (or answer) the questions of whether you’re right or wrong … Your dualistic, logical mind can’t get you there. It can only be known experientially.”
Here are some paradoxes that I have experienced both in life and in scripture:
- He who loses his life will find it.
- The first shall become last and the last first.
- God will exalt the humble and humble the exalted.
- God is made strong in my weakness.
- I hate certain things that people do, yet I do those same things myself.
- I can have both faith and unbelief.
- The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
- To be brave, one must be afraid.
- Laws create freedom.
- God is both safe and dangerous.
Though I’ve come to embrace these paradoxes as inevitable, life hits me with reminders that I still struggle with all of them. In particular, I constantly struggle with the principle that I must let go to God while also doing “good works.” The first step in finding peace in the paradox is simply acknowledging that it is real and acknowledging how I feel about it — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What say you?
- How do you find peace with paradox and mystery?
- What paradoxes and mysteries have you learned to embrace in life?
- What paradoxes and mysteries do you struggle to accept?
By Marc Mantasoot
Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer. He provides powerful methods for life transformation at marcmantasoot.com. His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.
Photo Credit: Hugo Silva via Creative Commons