Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Mess We Make

After years of being in denial, I have come to terms with an ugly truth about myself. I have a problem that I have had for most of my adult life, that I cannot seem to shake. It affects my job, my leisure time, my family, and some of my friendships. I feel a bit hopeless in this issue, because as of yet, I have found no remedy or way out. What's this terrible problem that I battle? Here's my confession. I am...a messy person.

There, I've admitted it! Isn't that the first step to recovery? Perhaps. If my wife wasn't around to "inspire" me to pick things up and put them where they belong, I could go for a long time without picking up.

I'm not as bad as I once was. These days, I can't stand to see dirty dishes in the sink and clothes lying around bothers me. However, I still have this problem.

My truck is the place where I have the worst problem. When I wash it, clean out the interior, and vacuum it out, I vow to never let it get in that shape again. It stays that way for about a week. In a very short amount of time, I'm right back in the bad habits again.

Do you ever feel like your life is like that? You work hard to get things organized into neat compartments. You know when all of the bills are coming due, you're ahead at work or school, you have written everything down on your calendar, and you're pretty proud. Life seems nice and orderly.

However, life doesn't play fair. Maybe you forgot to pay a bill, or some expense arises that you didn't plan on. You have a few interruptions at work or school and suddenly you're behind. Your schedule has some overlap that you didn't notice before, and you have to be three places at the same time. What do you do?

Some people roll their sleeves up and start trying to work at organizing better. Some people panic and become a flurry of activity. Some people shut down and feel hopeless, and as a result, give up and do nothing.

I have found an interesting correlation that has eerily proven true over and over again for me. I would venture to say that it is true for you also. Here it is. The more chaotic and messy my life seems to be, the further I am from my walk with God.

When things seem to be crashing down on you and you feel hopeless, take some time to consider your spiritual health. Instead of working yourself into a frenzy trying to keep up, spend some time with your Maker. Ask Him to help you prioritize, and make Him the top priority. Our Creator is not a God of chaos. He is very orderly.

I am teaching a 4-week class on Genesis, at the Edgefield Baptist Association. On Monday, we discussed the creation. If you study the accoutrements, you will find that God created everything in the order needed. He created day and night and began the spin of the Earth. Then He created the atmosphere to hold in the oxygen and material that living things would need to survive. After that, He created plant life. Plants need the sun to live, so He created it next. Since the plants were in place to give the animals something to eat, He created them last. This is a wonderful example of how orderly God is!

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. They were very confused and chaotic in their worship. Some said that one way of doing things was right, and others held on to the opposite belief. As a result, not much was getting done for the Kingdom, because their whole church was "messy." Paul tells them in verse 33, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."

The only times in the Bible where God allows confusion is to either confuse the enemy so that His people could be victorious, or to teach His children a lesson. By allowing confusion and chaos, He is hopeful that they will turn to Him and give their confused lives completely over to Him.

Maybe that is the case with you today. Perhaps your life is a bit out of control and you're not sure how to begin calming it down. Start by going to the One who made you, and asking Him to take over. After all, you're not doing such a good job, are you? Slow down a bit. Trying to work harder at it, only brings further disappointment. Ignore the chaos for a while and sit down beside your Father, bring Him your brokenness, and ask forgiveness for forsaking Him. He'll help you put the pieces back together and bless you with a "sound mind."

 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah 
(Psalm 46:10-11)

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