Prayer of Paradox

God, high and holy, meek and lowly, you have brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see you in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.


God, let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.


God,  in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine; let me find your light in my darkness, Your  life in my death, your joy in my sorrow, your grace in my sin, your riches in my poverty, your  glory in my valley.    Amen

 author unknown

Strength Perfected In Weakness

Strength Perfected in Weakness

Making disadvantages into advantages

2 Corinthians 12: 7-12


How to make Disadvantages be realized as advantages.  How to utilize / leverage weakness as starting point of strength.  How a disadvantage points to or shapes a strength in life.

We all have our weaknesses.  And I would take it further to say that we all have ‘that’ one weakness that affects us pervasively throughout many aspects of our life.  This varies between all of us whether that be a mental health condition (depression, anxiety, personality,addiction), physical health, relational disorder, a learning difficulty etc.  Or some would like to simplify it by drilling all human dilemmas as a result of original sin/ sin.  And no matter how much we might try to correct, manage, diminish, erase, or rehabilitate, our weakness has fingerprints all over our life still.  This is clearly exemplified by the apostle Paul when he writes in his letter to the church in Corinth, his pleading to God to remove the ‘thorn in my flesh’ on three different occasions.  God’s answer to Paul brought an intriguing resolve; “ My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”. A familiar message from God is witnessed here. God’s way is counter intuitive to man’s way of thinking.  God identifies power comes from weakness, not the human psychology of power found in strength.  Instead, Paul is admonished about the power of weakness is the pathway to see and experience the power found in God.  That is one translation.  And the other is how weakness brings on a humility and reliance on God, versus one’s own strength.  This is only the surface of such truth.  Not only is this displayed throughout God’s story, but found in the DNA of life.  Power is really a perceptual concept all the while realizing power and strength have its objective manifestations, we cannot avoid the truth that there is real versus perceived power.  And when talking of power/strength, we are confronted with weakness.  And as with God’s response to Paul, power is inverted by being perfected by weakness.  This idea seems to cause one to start departing from an ‘either or’ perspective.  That things like power and weakness requires a grey matter.

To plainly put it, one of the most difficult things to do as a human is not try and force complex things into a simple box; to put something in plain terms of either ‘right or wrong’, ‘ black or white’ ; ‘do or don’t do’.   I think we know, however, life doesn’t work like that.  Whether it’s a dynamic in marriage, raising a teenager, contending with unmatched behaviors to values.  Life doesn’t always afford us clear black and white answers, strategies, and resolutions.   We see this again exemplified in the ancient scriptures, Paul talking about how the flesh and spirit war with one another; how they actually lust for the others’ ability.  Or how we desire to act one way, but wind up doing what we don’t want to do… Some call it contradictory or paradoxical.  I call it “living in the tension of life”.   There exist reasons for this dynamic of tension.  Life is not always orderly; most of our life has a spectrum to it, so we deserve to allow ourselves a spectrum of existence; a grey matter if you will so we can ‘workout our lives, our salvation, our growth.

Truly, we are capable in finding ways to learn how our strength is perfected in weakness.  More specifically, to learn ways to live with our disadvantage and acknowledge the strength it produces. We can avoid traps that I see us getting into such as all or nothing thinking and living.  A way of approaching life and ourselves that a majority of a time fails to serve us and the life we want.  An approach that says, “well its either right or wrong; or it’s got to be this way or that; I’m all in or all out; go big or go home”.  I am not saying there is no “right or wrong” or no moral code to follow. What I am going to attempt to present here is that “when” we do run into conflicts, or our own behaviors, or our limitations, or contradictions, instead of immediately casting or judging them as “bad” and need correcting, I want to us to see the deeper meaning that they are trying to teach us.  I am looking at this in the way of, how do we accept and work within the truth about ourselves; the weaknesses, the contradiction that naturally and truthfully present themselves?  And why?  I can answer these two questions by saying this: our weaknesses and contradictions are in place to help us live in a more spiritual understanding of self, God and others in order to avoid the unnecessary existence of frustration and despair.

People get depressed, frustrated, anxious and even helpless for numerous reasons. One of the common reasons or ways people get into these emotional dilemmas is the difficult thought pattern of “all or nothing, black and white” constructs. Further, by living in such thought/belief patterns it makes it difficult for anyone to accept their own contradictions and faults.   This presentation/class is designed to help people find ways to live/accept their contradictions by understanding paradox.  This starts in understanding how we engage in black and white thoughts; absolute thinking.  By adjusting our thoughts to veer away from absolutes, we can start to find the emergent reality of living in the tension between two opposing ideas/beliefs/ situations/ feelings. It’s almost essential to be able to live in contradictory situations or possess personal contradictions.  This can help us to discover deeper meanings in one’s life.   By learning this information, people can start to unwind themselves from feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety, depression; and causing people to have flexible parameters in relationships, tolerance for imperfections, and appreciation for differences.  A harmonious way of living.



Un-forgiven Me Not Forgiving You

Wounding others and being wounded are tragic and traumatic events in our life.   And when we are experience such afflictions they take on many profound meanings and leave significant imprints on our life.   When after we realize any such affliction we happen to receive, afflict upon another, or even upon ourselves, we are now left with the journey of how do we cope and heal from this?   I understand we all have different responses to pain; that being emotional, psychological or physical.  We all respond in a way to either avoid it, move away from it, medicate it or try to eliminate it.  And the presence of pain creates many other emotional – behavioral responses;  we try and take refuge in taking on control of our situation/life.   Or we lash out in hot anger.  Anger is common weapon exercise our control over situations so that we will not experience or keep experiencing pain or threat of pain.   Unfortunately, we run into problems here, especially when our lashing out is inflicting pain on others.   This becomes a vicious cycle.  So what is the path of healing?  The desired outcome we all might agree upon is that whatever happened to us or what we have done to others, is we can find peace and resolve.  As I always say, “to live well in your own skin”.   After we get through our initial acceptance of what has occurred and what we feel, we have to ask ourselves, what is it we are willing to hold onto or let go?  What do we do with the one that hurt us or what we do with ourselves for what we have committed?   How do we forgive?

Here is a navigation for the path of forgiveness:

  • Why Forgiveness. This can be whole article by itself.  But to be very succinct here I will identify several points in the purpose for forgiveness.  Research and physiological science report that hanging onto anger, which is stressful, and negative feelings has a direct cause to high blood pressure, immune failure, followed by sickness, heart issues, and pain issues.  Second, holding onto pain/negative feelings about another, creates a defeated sense of self or victim mentality.  This proposes that life if unsafe and you may only fine yourself acting it out later. Holding onto hurt can only carry forward into other relationships.    Third, Unforgiveness perpetuates unwanted outcomes.  Let me elaborate, anger begets anger; sadness begets sadness; painful people become painful to others.  Why, “ Love your enemy?”.  If you never love your enemy, you risk the chance of becoming like your enemy.  What you hold onto , you take on high probability of becoming it.  Whoever you hate on you will become.  Not forgiving, also keeps one attached to the other being in a manner of unwanted power.  Therefore, to pursue forgiveness helps improve mental health, physical health, relationship patterns and psychological freedom.
  • Seek reasoning. Initial questions to try an ask, why did the or would they do this?  Intentional?  Did they have a perception that challenge their judgement?  Were they scared, angry or hurt as well?  Were they taught to do this behavior?  IS there a miscommunication?
  • After we learn of what was motivating ones behavior, it wont take long for you to see that somewhere in their thinking and behaving is brokenness in that individual. We are all in a lack in regards handling life and people.  Allowing a sense of compassion to exist in you for that person, starts the urge forward and toward that individual.   They did this from their own pain.
  • How important is it to hold onto this hurt, anger, guilt, shame, disappointment? We get to decide if there is any real value in holding onto our wounds or keeping them fresh and deep.  Would it be better to find a way to let go of the act? And when I say “let go”, meaning to not hold it against the other person.  And better to understand the other.  If decide to “let it go” then we can start talking to ourselves in the language , “ I release them of the offense, I am ok even though the behavior isn’t ok”. Forgiveness is a continual decision of changing our mind and heart about another person or self.
  • The last step. Make them better.  Forgiving others, and oneself, you are in the action step of making them become better.   Forgiveness is our offering of life to someone so they may become a better person.   And further, forgiveness, allows you to be a person free and powerful.

What Forgiveness is NOT:

1 Forgiveness is not condoning bad / evil behavior

2 Forgiveness is not to be confused as a feeling.  Don’t wait to feel it.

3 Forgiveness is not forgetting; you will not forget

4 Forgiveness is not merely saying the words “ I forgive you”

5 Forgiveness is  not always in an instant; it can be a continual practice of changing your mind and heart about another.