What do you do when life feels out of control and chaotic? When there are circumstances you cannot change and relationships you cannot fix? I clean my house and blame my family for everything. When I feel unglued, I try to control my circumstances so I tell everyone what they SHOULD be doing (usually irrational words follow) and I start scrubbing, mopping, and dusting like a maniac. I am usually not a yeller or a neat freak, except when I feel I am losing control. What is your “go to” behavior in those times?
Danielle Strickland spoke last week at a conference I attended and said, “We resist chaos and messiness in life and miss when God wants to come near.” As we react out of our own coping mechanisms to make the chaos go away in our minds, we miss God completely. He becomes yet another entity we cannot control so we run the other way. Can anyone relate? Danielle continued by saying, “The Spirit of God hovers over the chaos.” Ouch. It hurts because I know He does but in the moment I am too stubborn to stop, rest, and sit in the place of dependence on Him. I really, really want to but it is too hard- I want to deal with it myself…..and it never works.
This past week I have had some really difficult circumstances in relationships and I began to unravel, like a spool of yarn rolling across the floor. I found myself spiraling into self-doubt, self-loathing, and utter despair. Ways I had related to others had been twisted and manipulated to the point where it was very hurtful. I wanted to defend myself but knew it would not help. I wanted to seek revenge but knew it was not right. I wanted to blackmail but knew it was repaying evil for evil. My mind was consumed with these thoughts and they were taking residence in my head every moment.
Then I was talking to my sweet friend on the phone and I said the words, “I must be willing to be misunderstood.” She replied, “YES!” God began to use my own words to get my attention. I wanted to be right and I wanted peace at any cost and I was not going to stop until it came, but because God is good He continued to bring me back to “I must be willing to be misunderstood.” That is so hard! Fear, insecurity, and anxiety desperately want to creep in and I feel like sometimes I am strong enough to resist them and other times I let them invade and take hold.
I certainly did not react this time the way I had hoped I would….but I do know this- God grew me and hopefully next time there will be less manic cleaning and not so much yelling. We are all a mess and God wants to take the brokenness and restore and change us. But we must be willing to face our hard stuff head on and sit in the uncomfortable places and seek Him first. Not seek approval, acceptance, and order- but get on our knees and let Him be God. The good and holy God. No matter what. I am not there but I am on the path. I hope you are too.
Will you pray for me? I would love to pray for you as well. We need each others to point us to Jesus sometimes. When we are wallowing in self-pity or falling into the pit of despair, we need those people who are willing to go to those dark places with us and find Jesus- when we cannot seem to get there on our own.
Take heart, my friends…..God is still at work in us. He will continue to redeem and restore if we allow Him in to the messiness of our lives. He wants to bring His order into our chaos if we will only let Him.