Bang. Bang. Bang.
My son taps who-knows-what on the floor, enjoying the sounds he creates. He loves noisemaking. I cherish his inquisitive personality, that quality which causes him to make the noises (and the messes).
But these things drive a parent crazy. “Son, stop banging. It’s just creating chaos,” my husband instructs.
Immediately, our preschooler bursts into song. “Chaos! Chaos! Chaos!”
At this point, what do you do except roll your eyes and laugh at the insanity of the situation?
Such craziness typifies our current life season. Noise and chaos, messes and piles, unfinished projects galore. But in the midst of it all, three kids are loving life and exploring the world around them.
Quite honestly, I waffle back and forth between being okay with all this – with embracing exploration while training them to pick up after themselves – and losing my temper or having a panic attack when I can’t find a tidy spot for a few minutes’ reprieve.
I’m thankful God understands.
He stepped from the beauty of heaven into the chaos and disorder of life on our planet. He lived and breathed among us, sometimes meeting people when they came to Him, other times going out of His way to set up a divine encounter.
He came to do His Father’s work, which included more than teaching and preaching. Jesus brought the gospel into everyday life:
He changed His agenda when the multitudes met Him on shore as He was traveling to a secluded getaway spot.
He stopped mid-stride to single out a woman in need of healing, though it required postponing another miracle.
He got up from His nap to calm a raging sea.
We, too, are called to do God’s work. We’ve been chosen to introduce our children to Jesus. Sometimes this means creating intentional times of getting to know God together. Other times it means we embrace moldable moments as they arise.
This calling leads us to get down on the floor and read to them, look at their Lego creations or help them find doodle ideas on Pinterest. We let them help in the kitchen or join our no-longer-quiet devotional times with God. We listen to what’s important to them – even though we were there and saw all the same details of the situation. We put down our devices, look them in the eyes and show our delight in them.
No one does this perfectly, and God doesn’t expect us to. Our kids don’t need perfect parents. They need intentional parents who point them toward a perfect God.
Jesus entered our world to reach us right where we are. We can do that for our kids, too. We can love in the midst of the mess, because people matter more than perfection. We can repurpose ordinary events to teach our kids spiritual truth, because eternity exists all around us. And we can find peace in the midst of it all, because the God of peace lives in our hearts and offers grace for every situation we face.
Here are a few practical tips for calming life’s chaos:
- Create a calm spot
Life feels more doable when we keep at least one room tidy. In our house, the living room is that space. It provides a retreat for moments when I’m overwhelmed or uptight. (Not that it stays that way. We do live in it, so it gets messy, too. But everyone in the family knows messes shouldn’t be left there.)
- Run back to Jesus
Sometimes I give myself a “time out.” When the craziness starts making me crazy, a few minutes with Jesus helps me refocus on what’s most important. I tell Him how I’m feeling and listen as He speaks truth over me – reminding me that He understands, that His power is available right now, and that He’s at work in the chaos.
Life gets crazy but thankfully, our God still calms stormy seas and restless hearts.