"'cuz most things true... are simple and complex" - Beautiful Mystery - Caedmon's Call
Opposites define each other, and tension and balance are necessary pieces of our physical and immaterial universe. By recognizing the complementary nature within dichotomies we can better apply ourselves correctly in thought and deed by a gracious smile or a fierce aggression as the situation may demand. Knowing the difference is the test.
Ambition and Contentment
Scripture calls us to "run the race", but also to "be content". How then are we to live? In truth, these are opposing concepts, but they are also complementary. Contentment is not to be laziness, but a gratefulness and recognition of what God has freely given to us and worked through us. Our ambition then, should be to pursue goals that advance his kingdom. Are you employed? Work to advance your workplace and improve your position. Are you single, and desiring to be married? Strive to become the person your future spouse can depend on. And with all your striving, give thanks.
Stress and Relaxation
In strength training there's an idea of stress (such as lifting a heavy weight) and recovery (getting protein and resting). Similarly to the dichotomy given before, these are both opposing and complementary, and we can apply this beyond training to our everyday lives. In a training context, the student needs to be pushed to a "novel" (new) level of physical or mental stress in order to provoke an adaptation. Given adequate recovery the body can adjust very quickly to meet the new (higher) standard of performance. Then the cycle begins again, and the intensity must be increased in order to inspire further progress. If you've attended CHALLENGE, you learned that you can operate at a higher intensity than is generally asked of you. If you can learn to call on that strength more often and pair that with proper recovery, you'll unlock a level of performance in work and life that will inspire those around you to great things.
Accountability and Independence
"To be a ring bearer is to be alone." - Tolkien
Man needs independence, but man is also not made to be alone. Build yourself up by surrounding yourself with good examples of Christian maturity and glean from their wisdom and experience. Learn from people you admire, people you agree with, people who make you uncomfortable, people willing to say what they believe, and people who don't care about your feelings.
As you learn and grow, you will learn to assess, adopt, and rearticulate things on your own. It's not enough to have grown up in a Christian family and memorized the answers to the bible questions. Do you fundamentally understand and believe those truths for yourself? How do you conduct yourself when you are your own accountability?
After you've surrounded yourself with role models, living or historical, think about friends or relatives who might be looking up to you. What kind of example are you setting for them? "Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright." (Prov. 20:11). Are you a worthy example? Find people to learn from, and model the path to those watching you (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Strife and Peace
"...better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war," as the popular saying goes. Truly, we are called to be both warriors "always ready with an answer" (1 Pet. 3:15) and also to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). With experience and training one must learn to discern the right time for each. As proverbs says, don't answer a fool by mirroring his foolishness, but appropriately (Prov.26:4-5). In cultivating these two "opposites" each will be sharpened and the faithful believer finds themselves more strongly equipped to deal with not only the brethren ("iron sharpening iron"), but also the unbeliever.