Several times a week I connect with an online workout called Barre 3. It is one way I step outside of the chaos of my life to get reconnected and centered again. Often during the workout the instructor references the chaos we experience in our muscles as we move. We are encouraged to pay attention to what is happening and to embrace the chaos because it is in the chaos of our muscles our bodies are changed. What would happen if we embrace the chaos of our lives so to be changed? What if we didn’t have to hate it and try to get away from it but instead listen? What if we listened to what our bodies, emotions and experiences tell us so we can be transformed to look like Jesus?
Chaos, in my experience, presents itself in two ways – external and internal. External chaos is what happens every day when we get out of bed. Alarms ring, dogs bark, showers run, children chatter, dishes clatter, coffee perks, neighbors pound, newspapers smack, horns honk and on it goes all day long. It’s important to step out of the chaos sometime during the day – maybe more than once. Stepping out of the chaos means making time for centering activities such as prayer, meditation, stretching, exercise, deep breathing – you know, those moments where we can fix our eyes again on the One who is our champion (Hebrews 12:2). Everything is in His hands (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17) and He holds it carefully. Our world may feel like it is falling apart, but it is comforting to know that there is One who holds the universe together. I imagine some of you are experiencing trauma and events that no one can call good or right. My heart goes out to you in this time of trial. I wonder if your heart doesn’t resonate with the words of Jesus on the cross when he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34) The psalmists also felt deep despair when they perceived God had abandoned them. (Check out Psalm 13 and 55) Know this — you are not alone! Life can sometimes feel very lonely but I’m glad you’ve joined me on this journey.
The other kind of chaos is internal. This is harder to step out of and perhaps more lonely because no one can see it. I can be completely alone in my house on a beautiful day and be in complete chaos inside. Perhaps that’s the kind of chaos you are experiencing. It sounds like this: What if …? Maybe…I should have…Why did I…Next time…What was I thinking…I can’t believe…What if they find out…What will happen…? Most of these questions swirl around our basic needs as humans to be unconditionally loved, to be safe and secure, to have a sense of place/belonging, to know we are understood, to have a purpose and to be significant. When these needs go unmet or we have experienced deep hurts (sometimes called soul injury or wounds) our minds can be chaotic. These needs are as real and basic to humanity as our need for water and nutrition. If we only receive water and nutrition we will be alive but not living. Jesus said in John 10:10 that he came to give a us a rich and satisfying life. He doesn’t intend for us to limp along spiritually or emotionally.
Interestingly enough, we can’t get rid of the chaos around us. Horns will honk, dogs will bark, children will run and shout. But we can step outside of that chaos and experience quiet and still, to return to our lives refreshed and calm.
Internal chaos is much harder to step out of but we can get rid of it. The process is more difficult and takes time and commitment. But it is completely possible to know that you are unconditionally loved, you belong, you are safe and secure, you are understood, you have purpose and significance. We will talk about both types of chaos but for now take a few minutes to be quiet and still. Invite Jesus into the stillness and just pause, breath deeply and know that you are loved.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show his favor and give you his peace!