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The Paradox of Surrender and Fight

- by Stacy

“If you can hold and forgive the contradictions within yourself, you can normally do it everywhere else too” – Richard Rohr

Two of the most significant voices in my world pump truth like oxygen into my lungs and I would love to say that I can inhale even half of the wisdom poured into me. It is always for my best interest, and I am so very grateful to have both of them. There was one day, however, that I felt really confused and unsettled.

Both women appeared, at the surface, to be giving completely different pieces of encouraging advice. One said she would love for me, in my healing journey, to lean into the idea of surrender; the other mentioned later in the day that the word fight would be one to focus on this season.

Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman… right? As I was driving around that day, it all of a sudden struck me--in ways not just limited to my healing/faith/emotional journey, fight and surrender make up the paradox in which I currently find myself.

The word paradox is somewhat of a staple in Refuge language, and it honestly used to annoy the heck out me. I want to be all good all the time, fully healed, and devoid of pain and struggle. I didn’t want something “dark” paired with that! Wrestling with the idea of holding two truths at the same time, which appear to be contradictions, but really are ultimately not, has not come easy. In a blog that Kathy wrote back in 2010, the benefits of embracing our paradoxes are fleshed out. While I believe that it is *too* big of a leap for me to say that I am at the point to fully embrace my internal paradoxes, I am allowing myself a bit more air to breathe in both. For me, holding the tension of the two looks somewhat like this:

Surrendering that sometimes I just don’t feel/believe in things like the unconditional acceptance of God.  Fighting, at the same time, to remain open to the possibility that despite myself, He may want me in all my pain, and all of my lack of cleaned-up-ed-ness.

Surrendering that sometimes my brain, by function of things out of my control, simply just doesn’t work right.  Fighting, at the same time, to re-read messages, review encouraging voicemails, and re-visit conversations that help to create new grooves in my heart and my mind.

Surrendering that owning the truth of my story means that I am going to ache, going to be triggered, going to struggle, going to have moments of fear and terror and shame, going to wrestle with my faith in the midst of my pain, and going to feel more insecure than I would like to admit. Fighting, at the same time, to believe that I am worth the emotional investment of recovery, worth the hope of a good future, worth spending time thinking about how my story and my faith intersect, worth the incredible love around me; just worth it period.

Embracing my struggling & imperfect humanity, yet at the same time continually striving for more healing, more growth, more freedom. Less of feeling alone, more of letting love seep deep into the core of my being.

Yep, surrender and fight are the two words that most accurately describe this chapter of my journey. I would love to hear what paradox *you* currently find yourself in.
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