When the answer is ‘Yes, both/and’

I got my answer to my dilemma today. There are still some details to be worked out, but it appears that a solution has been found that will be a win for everyone involved.

Was it something that I did on my own or something that God did on my behalf? Yes. Both/and.

There was one person who just kept coming to mind as the perfect person to fill the spot that I would be vacating. I finally approached her this afternoon about the possibility, and she was thrilled with the opportunity and accepted on the spot! It turns out that this is exactly what she needed in this season, just as it was something I needed to move away from.

I had to take the initiative to go talk to her, but clearly the stage had been set behind the scenes in a way that I could not have orchestrated on my own.

I am, of course, incredibly relieved to have such a good solution. And my jaw remains pain-free. No popping. No tension. No strain.

And yet, I am finding an even bigger inspiration in this. I so often pose questions like the one I did yesterday: Is waiting OR working the right thing to do here?

Is it this OR that? Black OR white? Right OR wrong? Good OR bad?

And the answer so often comes back as “yes, both/and.” I want life to fall into tidy, easily defined categories, but it doesn’t. Over and over again, it doesn’t.

The answer keeps being in the middle, in the wholeness, in the balance, in the paradox.

Does that make life easier or harder? Yes, both/and.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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10 thoughts on “When the answer is ‘Yes, both/and’

  1. I hear you, sister. I have a tendency to like responses to my questions to my Higher Source tied up in a neat little box with a bow, and if there were a tag, it would read: The perfect answer to your question. It just doesn’t work that way does it. The good news is, the universe doesn’t always give us what we want, but does give us what we need if we are will to let go of control a bit and Trust. Nice post! Thanks for sharing, Jenna

    • So good to see you here, my dear Jenna! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that struggles with this. Trust is still a challenge for me, but I’m learning slowly but surely. Thanks!

  2. That’s good news. Your posts about this have really had me thinking – there’s a saying, “Pray as if it depended on God, work as if it depended on you,” which seems also to offer a both/and solution, but actually subjects a person to an intense amount of strain and effort, both in prayer and action. Only I found out a while ago that apparently the person (St Francis Xavier or St Ignatius, I think) who coined this actually had it the other way round: “Pray as if it depended on you, work as if it depended on God.” I’ve had this floating round my brain for a while. It looks at first glance like a “waiting” solution, but of course that depends on how we understand the idea of “working as if it depended on God.” We know that we only love God if we love our neighbor, and love is at its fullest, able to regenerate itself, when it is reciprocal.

    I think the insight I’ve had out of this is that the original way the quote was said is actually a more subtle and strong both/and solution. To pray as if it depended on you means not just verbally requesting, but working actively to dismantle the barriers of fear that prevent me from opening up and asking the help of other people. Prayer needs to leak right through us. It’s not a tap we turn on with our words. It’s being able to step out into the (for me) unknown and (often irrationally) feared.

    To work as if it depended on God means (for me) accepting the help that’s offered, working with others to generate the best possible options. It looks shaky and contingent – it is! – but usually the results are better than what would have come about from trying to tackle something on my own, shackled with the shame I carry around. It also strengthens my relationship with other people to ask for help or work through problems with them: an obvious point that I still don’t grasp enough in practice, What is good about it is that I have to trust a God who is in what I do together with other people, who is in some sense “between us.” He doesn’t ask me to be a hero, or a victim, but a friend.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve heard the usual saying, and I really like the re-framing of it. Like you, it’s hard for me to ask for and accept help from others sometimes, but it seems like that is so often how God chooses to work. I really appreciate your whole comment as it’s given me so much to think about surrounding this subject, and I will reflect on this even more. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  3. PS ~ I like what you say about “holding the paradox.” That is really what my life has been teaching me over the years…it isn’t OR anything…it is always AND. Quantum Physics is now saying what the mystics have been saying all along: not a wave or a particle, but both, depending how it is viewed and treated. If you pardon the age-old vernacular by way of illustration: Trust in God, but tie your camel. 🙂

    • I love your vernacular example … and the tie to Quantum Physics. Paradox is such a powerful thing, but to be able to hold that well is challenging for my little brain. It stretches me, though, and I am always better for having been stretched!

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