Of Life and Chaos

                                                              Photo credit: AnnVoskamp.com

Life is messy.  Can I just get an “Amen” to that?  Or is it just me?  

There’s all this hype about a new year, a clean slate, new opportunities, etc, etc.  I don’t know about you but I for one will freely admit that I freak out at the beginning of a new year. It looks like this clean slate that you’re completely terrified of smudging up.  Smudging beyond hope of an eraser’s capabilities. 

I suppose the word I’m feeling is inadequate.  
My life looks like a mess most days and I feel like I’m just blowing it.  

For example, at the beginning of this brand new year of 2014 I decided to make it a goal to finally read the entire Bible in one year’s time.  In order to follow the plan I’m utilizing I would need to read four chapters a day, give or take.  Not a big deal, right?  

Who doesn’t have time to read four chapters a day?  Cue: sheepish hand raising on my part…I have fallen behind by eight days and we’re only in the first month!

I’ll be honest with you – I don’t do well with lump sum reading when it comes to the Bible.  I get hung up on this phrase or that word and I start chasing down rabbit trails of cross references and Greek origins and Hebrew meanings.  And I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with a thorough approach to studying the Word that way.  

But you want to guess what the devil and/or the inner critic does with that?  It goes something like this: “Come on, you can’t even be disciplined enough to stick with a plan for a week?  What kind of Christian are you that you can’t even spend enough time to read four chapters of God’s Word a day?”

I shy away from this type of speed reading though because for too many years that’s the approach I had to worship time with God.  I thought it all depended on how many verses you got read as to how well God enjoyed spending time with you.  And I think there’s this part of me that’s saying hey don’t go back to the speed reading where you merely saw the words but they didn’t have a changing power in your life.  Now I’d much rather take little bites of a verse and cogitate on it for awhile and allow it to soak in and penetrate this hard-headed, stubborn-hearted being of mine.

At the start of a new year, I have this rose-colored view that this year I’m going to be more organized.  I’m going to plan out my day versus running ragged all day trying to catch up.  That’s not going so well either. Already this year, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day.  That exhausted feeling when you finally crash into bed with eyes mere slits anymore.  And you wonder why it is you’re so tired because you think back over the day and you don’t think you got anything crossed off on your pre-planned schedule.  So where did the day go?  

I’m trying to stop myself to reorient in all this chaos called life.  And I’m trying to focus on where God is in all of this. Is He the one making demands on my weary soul or am I trying to earn His love?  Did you know you don’t have to earn anything when it comes to your relationship with God?  What good is the day if it was spent running frantically from demands to distractions if I missed the still small voice of God wooing me to Him?  What did I accomplish if I didn’t take time to sit and listen to God?  Why have we made it all about performance when really God’s all about worship?  

No matter how much I dash frantically about, I cannot clean up my own messy life.  The only way my messy life will be changed is through sitting with Jesus and allowing Him to align the chaos.  It doesn’t matter if I get four chapters of the Bible read today, if in that speed reading I didn’t take time to hear Him speaking that one phrase, that change, into my life.  It doesn’t matter if I’m organized, if in that organization I became a Levite that passes by a beaten-up, dying soul.  It doesn’t matter if my performance is stellar, if in that performance I became so frustrated that I exploded instead of saying a kind word to that parched heart.  

Life may be chaotic and messy but I have the Creator intimately involved in my life.  My Creator took darkness and fashioned out a miraculous world with just His voice!  My Creator who formed me knows my make-up and knows how to redeem my chaotic soul into His likeness, His plan for me.  This year may be a clean slate but I will smudge it if I don’t depend on my Redeemer to dictate what I write in my story this year. And so with my Savior’s help, I want to use this year to focus.  Focus on what He is speaking to me.  Focus on where He is leading me.  Focus on what He has planned for me.  Focus most importantly on Who my God is to me and Who He wants to be to me.  Then life will be manageable however chaotic and messy it may feel.