I smiled knowingly as I read a friend’s Facebook status recently. I’ve changed the names but this is how it read:
“Needs a break from the chaos, aka my life…Husband missing in action, Cindy chasing dog around and around in circles, then dog chasing Cindy, Jan acting like she has never had a friend over in her life, Marcia texting how she isn’t getting enough time with Matt (awww, young love) and then there is me watching it all happen in slow mo…I am exhausted.”
Each of our lives tends to ebb and flow through seasons and degrees of chaos. Some days it’s easier to smile through it than others. Sometimes the chaos is largely external, other times it’s a chaos of the soul that leaves a feeling like life is falling apart at the seams. Having a child with severe disabilities has certainly brought external chaos into my life but I’m grateful for what it is teaching me about how to experience internal rest.
Chaos can have one of two effects on us. It can draw us deeper into our understanding of God and our relationship with Him or it can distract us from exploring the truth about who God is. Any response but drawing nearer to God will ultimately have the affect of increasing and perpetuating the chaos.
We tend to live on a treadmill of effort trying to discover the latest and greatest tips, tools and techniques that will help us. We try to learn better parenting methods, explore tips for better cooking or household management, seek out marriage strengthening techniques, study money management strategies, and develop new career skills. While there are many good resources available, we are prone to becoming overwhelmed and distracted in the details trying to keep up, buck up, and measure up.
I don’t believe that God intends for us to get caught up in learning a myriad of tips and techniques. The Bible keeps pointing us back to core principles and shows us that by living according to certain basics, we will thrive because the Holy Spirit empowers us!
REST IN GOD’S NEARNESS— Psalm 139 reminds us that there is nowhere we can go to get away from God’s Spirit (Psalm 139:7-10) and He will fill us with joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11). God promises that if we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). He is our ever-present help (Psalm 46:1)!
REST IN GOD’S FAITHFULNESS — Throughout the Bible we find encouragement that God responds favorably to our trust in Him. For example, when the Israelites stepped into the Jordan River in obedience to God’s prompting, He piled the flood-stage waters into a heap and made a way for millions of people to cross over to the Promised Land. Even when sin has brought chaos that seems un-calmable, God is faithful and just to bring cleansing, healing and freedom when it is confessed (1 John 1:9 and James 5:16).
REST IN GOD’S SUFFICIENCY — Despite our best efforts to do enough, be good enough, afford enough and say the right things, God alone holds the power to equip us and make us fruitful (2 Corinthians 3:4-5). God alone is able to fill us (John 7:37-38, Ephesians 1:22-23) and to make more of things than we ever can (Ephesians 3:20-21).
REST IN GOD’S PERSPECTIVE — All of our circumstances, relationships, and attitudes take on a different meaning when viewed through the perspective of an all-knowing and all-powerful God who always has a bigger picture in mind (Colossians 3:1-4 and Romans 8:18). Christ himself endured the cross because He trusted that there was something much bigger than His own comfort at stake (Hebrews 12:2-3).
If we truly make it a priority to seek the Living God FIRST and embrace the truths of God’s nearness, faithfulness, sufficiency and perspective, we will experience a kind of “rest” in life that goes far beyond comprehension and this world’s understanding of rest. God will bear in us the fruit of a thriving life and a restful soul.
Reprinted with permission from the women’s retreat titled Our Constant in the Chaos by Lisa Jamieson, author of Finding Glory in the Thorns and Executive Director of Walk Right In Ministries. Copyright © 2009 Lisa Jamieson. All rights reserved.