Living with Paradox

Holding two opposite things as true at the same time

We live in paradoxical times that have polarized relationships and our nation. We tend to paint other people with harsh, broad brush strokes of black or white. This looks like irreconcilable differences that threaten our ability to see one another as people, valuing our humanity and even life itself. We need peace with ourselves, one another, and peace with God.

Paradox Definition

: something made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible, inconsistent, contradictory, or absurd but is actually true or possible

: someone who does two things that seem to be opposite to each other or who has qualities that are opposite  and from The New Century Dictionary of the English Language, Copyright 1946 by D. Appleton-Century Company

Paradox - Empathy - Reconciliation

Living with paradox requires empathy and invites reconciliation, seeking to understand a viewpoint opposite of our own. Living gracefully with paradox is hard work.

Empathy is the sharing in another persons experiences and emotions by having the ability to enter into the feeling or spirit of a person with appreciative perception or understanding.

The word reconciliation comes from the root word exchange or adjustment. To be reconciled is to change mutually. Reconciliation is the act of two people or groups becoming friendly after an argument or disagreement. It is also the process of finding a way to make two different ideas, facts, etc., exist or be true at the same time.


Holding two opposite things as true at the same time with people

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies.
The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them.
The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.
Both are nonsense.
You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

–  Rick Warren

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors,
and also to love our enemies;
probably because generally they are the same people.”

– GK Chesterton

The pages shown here are done in black and white on purpose, different than any of the others in my A-Z journal. The goofy illustrations are my attempt at optical illusions with the boxes and cylinders going forward and backward, all depending on how you look at them. The longer you look, the more the different directions can be perceived.

I used to want easy answers and saw things and people as right or wrong, in black and white terms. Now I want to grow in understanding, be open to new things God wants to show me, and to love people better.

Questions to Practically Consider

  • How do I view and talk about others who disagree with me in those areas we tend to avoid (politics, religion etc.)?
  • How can I show compassion to those who hold different values and views than me?
  • What is one way I can live graciously with paradox and/or make peace in relationships this week?

The Bible is full of Paradoxes

There are many paradoxes in Scripture that may seem contradictory,
including imagery such as:


Jesus is the Light of the world as stated in numerous passages including John 8:12:

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,
“I am the light of the world. If you follow me,
you won’t have to walk in darkness,
because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Jesus also said we are the light of the world as in Matthew 5:14 NLT:

“You are the light of the world—
like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”

The enemy Satan is referred to as an angel of light in 2 Corinthians 11:14 NLT:

Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Serpent or Snake

A serpent or snake is often referencing the devil the evil one. But Moses was instructed by God to make a bronze statue of a cross with a snake on it so people who were dying would be healed when they looked at it.

This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan,
the one deceiving the whole world—
was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

Revelation 12:9 NLT

And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent,
and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”
So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole;
and whenever a serpent bit someone,
that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Numbers 21:8 NRSV


Jesus is often referred to as the Lion of Judah.

“Then one of the elders said to me,
“Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has conquered,
so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:5

Satan is referred to as a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.
He prowls around like a roaring lion,
looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

Personalizing Paradox

So how does all this relate to my word of the year? Aside from the practical applications asked in questions above, for me the concept of living with paradox causes me to consider what light does to darkness and how seeking light in the darkness is continually worthwhile.

Darkness, the polar opposite of brightness,
is understood as a lack of 
illumination or an absence of visible light.”

The above truth helps me cope with the darkness and evil in the world as lack of the light of God and the need for goodness. When the light is dim, I miss some of what’s there. As I continue to grow in the Light of Christ I will be more and more enlightened into his way of thinking. Definitely not arrived yet, but desiring to grow and glow.


2 Corinthians 5:16-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Some Paradoxes in the Bible

This post is getting quite long. If you are interested in the paradoxes of Scripture, here is an article I found informative and interesting:


Below is an example of one of the paradoxes listed in the article linked above:

Paradox: Is Christ a peacemaker?

  • “He will be named…Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
  • “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace.” (Matthew 10:34)

Application questions: How does the gospel bring peace but also divisiveness? What peace did Christ bring at this first coming? What peace will Christ bring at His second coming?

Living Your Word 2019 Opportunity!

Bernice Hopper, and Mary Brack, and I share insights through blog posts for keeping an Everyday Calendar Journal. We will be using the journal to record events, experiences and relationships; to explore our word’s meaning in visual and fun ways. If you would like to connect with others in creative way about organizing your word, your ideas, thoughts, prayers, events, or your projects all in one place, you are invited to join our Facebook group: Everyday Journals ~ Living Your Word of the Year.
URL for Facebook group:

URLs for Instagram: #livingyourword2019




Valerie: (this one :-))

A-Z Posts

A Gift of Peace ~ Shalom Prayer

The beautiful guiding prayer of The Maranatha Community has been read and heard by millions worldwide. It has helped transform my thinking and used to bring about inner healing. In this post I’ve use the sound-track from the original Shalom CD (with permission) to overlay it onto my original artwork to create this video rendition.

7 Reasons Why I include a Word of the Year in my Bullet Journal

Video and written reasons on the benefits of including a Word of the Year in a bullet/calendar/everyday/anything style of journal

A-Z Word of the Year Challenge Journal Pages

This post shows my finished journal pages of the A-Z Word of the Year Challenge & links including A-Z of my Mystery and applying it to a word of the year.

Reaching the Zenith with Zeal – A-Z Word Challenge

Moving toward a zenith, the highest point in life, with passion and zeal sounds fulfilling and to me. I would like to live with such purposeful intention.

Yearning and saying Yes – Y in A-Z Word Challenge

What I yearn for I tend to say ‘yes’ to. That is why it is so important to nurture my heart, be aware of what or who I give my heart to, what I focus on, and even what I see and hear.

How I Choose a Word of the Year

Video and written steps on how to choose a Word of the Year to focus on and live by. Visit my blog for creative ways to journal and live your word this year

The Treasure of X in the A-Z Word Challenge

The mysterious treasure and paradox of the letter ‘X’ in the A-Z of Mystery journal. Scripture and questions to consider in this journey of life.

Wisdom from Above – W in A-Z Word Challenge

Seeking wisdom “the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, insight, understanding and common sense; unbiased judgment, and compassion.” What do I have grace and time for?

Vision – Valor – Victory ~ V in A-Z Word of the Year Challenge

V in the A-Z Word of the Year Challenge I was almost asleep one night recently when a phrase floated across my mind and I knew it spoke truth and asked to be written down. So I pulled myself out of bed and went to my journal to write: “Vision with Valor lead to Victory.” This got me thinking of what this means to me personally. I went to the first A-Z journal I did with Bernice Hopper’s challenge back in 2013. Here is my V for Vision for that: Vision is a key word for me right now, and… Read More

Living in Unity – U in A-Z Challenge

We are bound together in a common life. Seeking unity with one another is a worthwhile pursuit. “How wonderful it is…to live together in harmony.

Living Time Now – T in A-Z Challenge

“We live in the past of the future,” I heard Jonathan Cahn say. So I am choosing to make today count like a time traveler! It’s like I am actually able to go back in time and change the trajectory of my future. If I were looking back from tomorrow or next year, that is exactly what coming back to this moment would be like.

Shine Your Light! S in A-Z Challenge

It’s time to Shine! What does it mean to shine? “How do I shine as myself, with God, and others?” To shine looks differently for us individually, but my guess there are also some common things we long for, need, and value.

Developing a Rhythm for Life – R in A-Z Challenge

Seeking to establish a fulfilling rhythm of daily life, working from rest and resting from work in a fulfilling way. Every living thing has a rhythm. “R” for Rhythm in the A-Z of Mystery Word of the Year Challenge.

Being Quiet to Hear – Q in A-Z Challenge

Getting quiet is important in order to hear and discern what to do. Listening prayer is a way to do that. Suggested questions & art reflections on Q-Quiet in the A-Z Challenge included

Order and Organizing! O in A-Z Word Challenge

Overcoming my struggle to order my stuff, organize and create beauty. O – Order in A-Z Word of the Year Challenge. Key questions to help organize.

Celebrating Nature – N in the A-Z Challenge and NEW Stencils Released

Celebrating Nature with a Word of the Year active challenge and NEW leafy doodle stencils. Included are artful inspirations and a how-to stencil Washi tape video, comparing medical tape with white Washi tape.

M-Inspiring Your Creative Muse in Living Your Word of the Year

The word ‘Muse’ is filled with mystery. Muse is associated with memory and music. We may sense the connection most when we hear a song from our past, bringing back all sorts of memories, and we feel transported back to a specific event or time. Google Dictionary defines Inspiration as:” the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative” or “a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.”

L-Looking Back with New Eyes to Move Forward

I’ve been reminded to look back in order to move forward. At first it sounded counter-intuitive and non-productive, but after doing it, I see the value of taking a fresh look at what I have, what I’ve done, and stop to look, listen, and be grateful. It was the prompt I needed to Live this moment, to be present without the pressure to perform.

K-Keys to Living Your Word of the Year

A key is a small thing that opens a larger, important experience. A question can be a key to the answer you’re looking for. A key can unlock a mode of transportation that can take us on a journey to another place. A key can open up a space of a new world. A key can bring us home.

J-Journey Living Your Word of the Year

If you are here now, you are on this life journey, and so am I. My journey is taking me back, like revisiting these journals with journey themed pages and bringing to mind my faith journey. I am grateful for the process, even though at times it was hard to see on the path… What is your journey…

I-Intentional Living the Word of the Year

Now is the time to be intentional! It’s been a very busy time and I feel on the edge of being overwhelmed. That puts me in danger of letting the default of shutting down take over. I’m determined to grow past that into healthy purposeful action.Keeping a journal has become the most helpful tool to living with intention and staying focused on what I believe is important in life.

HOW? The Question Growing Out of My WHY

Asking myself the simple question, “How?” Is leading me in a life-changing evaluation of how and where I spend my time and energy.
My “how” needs to be an outgrowth of knowing my “why.” How is the way we live out our Why. I am grateful to know who I am and why I do what I do. However, sometimes I get confused on “how” to move forward from the deeper place of who I am and knowing my why.

Growing in Goodness & Gratitude with Your Word of the Year

G – Growing in Goodness & Gratitude I’m feeling the need to release grumbling and embrace gratitude as my “G” word. Grumble feels like a heavy word to me, like carrying around a dirty burlap bag of rocks. Gratitude feels light and hopeful. What better way to become grateful than to list what I have to be thankful for and to focus on the goodness of God, and good things! Building on the “F” Flow with the Fun post of last time, I’ve decided to do some “Grateful Groove” in my movement, during my worship dancing time. The combination of… Read More

A-Z of Mystery Journal – M – Music

The Mystery of Music – M in the A-Z of Mystery Journal “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo Music is what feelings sound like, it speaks where words fail, soothes the mind, flows from heaven to the soul, and sings the prayer of the heart. Isn’t it amazing how music can bring back a memory so strong we feel the reliving of it. Music helps us remember facts. Remembering music is one of the things our brains hold onto, when other memories and facilities fade. I think… Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment