WoW 134: On the paradox of crisis [Words of Wisdom]

Words of Wisdom, Email Newsletter

Plant seeds of wisdom today

Take the next 41 or so breaths slowly and reflect deeply on your life. I hope these words help you grow in you the most valuable treasure in life: wisdom. Wisdom grows imperceptibly but flourishes like a mighty oak, standing the test of time.

WoW 134: On the paradox of crisis

Listen instead of reading

If you prefer listening, you can subscribe to the audio version on Spotify,
Apple Podcasts, or Google, or your favorite podcast player.

Feel free to leave me a positive review if you like what you hear! It really helps me spread the message.

Listen to every Words of Wisdom ever recorded.


It can be helpful to think about life in different stages. Many people live in a seemingly constant state of chaos or crisis. They can’t seem to rise above their pain and difficulties. They lack hope, resilience, and depth of character.

the 4 stages of growth: chaos, crisis, healing, flourishing

When you are living in chaos you can’t see clearly, you don’t know which way is up, and you rarely experience peace. But life doesn’t need to remain full of chaos and despair. However, the way to breakthrough the deep chaos of addiction, childhood wounds, or entrenched sin typically is anything but pleasant.

To escape the hell of chaos it seems we often must experience a crisis. The great marker of the crisis stage is intense pain and suffering. The crisis stage is when all or part of your sin comes into the light. It’s when your evil deeds are exposed. It’s when you finally face trauma or suffering you’ve been avoiding and your attempts at control are shattered. You are in crisis when the consequences of your actions catch up with you and you begin to see the devastation everywhere. You are in crisis when your marriage is on the brink. You are in crisis when you can’t sleep at night because you are plagued with guilt and shame for your behaviors.

The paradox of crisis is that it can either lead you into deeper darkness or be the necessary suffering to lead you into the light. Your pain is an incredible opportunity. Finally, you have the chance to fully face your pain and shame, accept the reality you’ve been running from, and surrender yourself fully to God. Crisis, as difficult as it is, truly is an opportunity for you to experience radical transformation.

The crisis you are in is an opportunity for spiritual awakening. While you are breaking down you have the chance to let this suffering purify you. You can experience powerful breakthroughs in this season of your life as you move from crisis into healing. The key lies in whether you will take new action, a different approach than you have in the past. You must commit unwaveringly to the support of skilled discipleship.

If you don’t get help, if you don’t seek the support of skilled discipleship, you will likely fall back into further chaos. Without surrendering to God and seeking discipleship, your crisis will only become more proof of your enslavement to your sin and the strongholds that have a stranglehold over you.

There is always opportunity in chaos and in crisis. Regardless of the challenge you are currently facing, ask yourself and pray to God with this question:

“What is the opportunity here?”


"The unseen warfare is the most difficult, the most strenuous, the most painful, the most crucial. It is there that the decisive battle is lost or won."

Lorenzo Scupoli (16th century priest), ​Unseen Warfare​

“If you find that you have wandered away from the shelter of God, lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.”

John Cassian (5th century monk), ​The Conferences​


In what areas of my life do I feel like I’m living in a state of chaos or crisis? What are the root causes of this turmoil?

What unseen warfare am I engaged in?

In what ways do I need to surrender more fully to God? What might it look like for me to turn to Him in the midst of my current struggles?

(Use these questions as a journal prompt and to guide your prayers this week)


In your darkest moments there is always a doorway to peace.

Live wisely,


Did someone send this to you? Do you want to cultivate more of the good, true, courageous, and beautiful in your life?

​Join the growing community​ and subscribe to receive my Words of Wisdom every Wednesday.

Continue reading

A woman thoughtfully holds a glowing orb.
Our newsletter

Do you hear the call of wisdom?

How you respond to the call of wisdom determines the direction of your life.

Get the Words of Wisdom email every Wednesday: brief reflections on wisdom to help you grow in the skills of virtuous living.