Organized Chaos

Can you view a crisis as an opportunity? Can chaos actually be part of order? Billy Graham said, “when we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.” It seems like I live in this space a little too often. How about you?

From the outside, people think I have it all together—well planned and well executed. At least that is what they tell me, but maybe they are just trying to make me feel better. Years ago, I took one of those personality tests while participating in the Leadership Georgia program. Not surprisingly, my creative spirit just barely beat out my organized self. Can you grasp the inner turmoil I live with? If not, you should see my outlines and lists. They start out well, but end up with arrows pointing, scratch outs, and sticky notes on top of sticky notes. I have deemed my personality organized-chaos.

I love to experiment, draft, rewrite, and edit all parts of my life. Unfortunately for my sweet husband’s back, this means I might want the piano moved on a whim, and a couple months later decide it would be better somewhere else. I love looking for a better way, a more efficient way, a more creative way—a way that will better glorify God’s purpose.

Last week in my online Bible study, my friend Amy reminded me that God is a God of order and peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33. The more we lean into the Lord and His plan, the more the chaos dims and the order is revealed. We learn to depend on Him for direction. Everything may not need to be changed, but a slight tweak could make all the difference. Listening to God through scripture, prayer, and the advice of Christian friends can help us prune away what is unnecessary or holding us back.

Jesus taught us that “He is the true vine and His Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful…. This is to the Father’s glory, that we will bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be disciples.” John 15:1-2, 8.

This time of social distancing seems to have brought up the gardener in lots of people. Every Sunday afternoon, large piles of yard debris are left on the streets of my neighborhood. My daughter and I worked on a neglected flower bed. As we cut back the dead branches, we discovered weeds and other old plants choking out and tangling the bushes we wanted to fill the space.

Isn’t that how life can be, filled with bad and even some things that were once desirable, keeping us from what is best. I love that God has cleared everything from our schedules, even the good stuff. Never miss that part of the verse. God even prunes the branch that bears fruit.

We get to choose how to fill our moments. We get to have a clean garden, an empty journal, blank boxes on our calendar. We can choose to delete a sentence, a paragraph, or even a chapter. We can ask God to help us write our story.

Friends, ask God to help you choose the right words, the right next step. We don’t have to know how the story will end, only the part He reveals—have faith. God will inspire, direct, strengthen, and give his abundant grace in our human weakness.

“Be confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Maybe that means you make some plans, but when things go topsy-turvy, stop and look around, God is very well at work, and He has something so much better for us. It might be scary or strange but be courageous. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

What will you plant? What path will you take? What story will your write?

 

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