Thursday, October 6, 2011

Searching for Peace Amidst the Chaos (2004)

(I came across this article I had written for my MOPS group back in 2004. Those were days where I had only one child. Funny... these days I'd be happy to find messes limited to the rooms they should be in. Two more kids and more than 7 years later, my search is still for peace amidst the chaos.)

“Mommy?”

“Mommy?”

“Mommmmmy!”

It never fails that my daughter calls my name when I am washing dishes or preparing a meal. She’ll even go so far as to place herself between my body and the sink (or the stove) to push me away from my current task. I try to explain to my 1 ½ -year-old “Mommy has to wash the dishes so she can get dinner ready for Daddy to eat when he is done with work.” It’s a temporary solution that generally leads to her request, “Hold you.” “Hold you.” until I give in to the attention she longs for and feels the peace she needs. Needless to say, my kitchen on any given day is a disaster area.

My kitchen is not the only area that is in desperate need of help. Generally, it is impossible to walk in the family room without stepping on some kind of toy. Fed up with trying to find clean spots to place my feet, I will stop to organize the room. Pleased with my accomplishment, I head upstairs only to find that my daughter is emptying every single item out of her dresser! My body aches for rest and peace so I sit down hoping to close my eyes for five minutes. After only a few seconds, quietness alerts me that something isn’t right. Running, I meet my daughter’s smiling face. Smiling, because she has found a new game involving her black dress shoes and the dog’s completely filled water bowl (or at least it was full prior to her new game).

Chaos. That’s the way I would define my mornings, my days – my life. This continual disorder naturally leads to stress, which I so maturely handle by going on the warpath. I go through the day looking for that “release valve” to reduce the stress in my life. Until I find it, everyone in my path will, unfortunately, have to suffer. There are those moments where the weight is temporarily lifted off my shoulders (possibly because I have found the “release valve” in completely losing my temper). But just when I begin to sense a little peace in my life – make room for chaos! I fill that schedule jam-packed again. The result is continually the same. Day-in and day-out: Disorder. Chaos. Lack of peace.

So, I’m on a mission to replace the chaos in my life with peace. Some advice I’ve received has seemed very reasonable. “Make a daily schedule.” “Write out lists.” “Keep the counters clean.” “Budget.” “Invest in friendships.” “Rely on family.” Sadly, attempting these suggestions lead to more stress. Often, I feel that I should just resign myself to living in chaos. For many of the things filling my schedule, there is no option to remove them out of my life. There’s the grocery shopping; the meetings; the family gatherings and even the workouts and social gatherings. Not to mention the all-familiar saga of never-ending dirty laundry. All of these time consuming tasks leave me longing for peace.

My mission to replace the chaos in my life with peace has led me to the Bible. In reading God’s Word, I find in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” This verse gives me some hope. Clearly, my search for peace needs to begin with God. He is the source of peace. In John 14:27, Christ tells His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I have been learning that I will only find peace when I turn to the God of Peace. I must place my total dependence on Him and trust Him at His Word.

Trusting in God is something I have a very difficult time with. By nature, I am a control-freak. It is unnatural for me to be dependent on anyone. This is one area where I have had no choice but to grow this past year and it is an area, I’m learning, where there is always room for more growth.

One way God is teaching me how to grow is through my daughter’s example. She trusts me. Completely. Totally. She depends on me. The prophet, Isaiah, in Chapter 26 verse 3 writes “You [God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Peace will only be found when I admit my total dependence on God and trust that He will keep His promises to me.

My search for peace is an ever-continuing mission. For those moments; mornings; days; for my life – when chaos and disorder overwhelm me, I’ll cry out to the one who continually hears my prayers; to the only one who has earned my complete and total trust and dependence. In my search for peace, I can learn something from watching my daughter. By following her example, I know I can cry out to the only one I can trust completely and totally. “Father?” “Father?” “Father!” He will hear my cry and answer. “Hold me.” “Hold me.” will be my request. And I will find peace.

“I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me… Then I lay down and slept in peace…” (Psalm 3:4-5)

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