Calming the Chaos

Calming the Chaos

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.

Pondering Perfection

Pondering Perfection

“Please don’t let me mess up. Help me not to make a mistake.”

microphone-2479265_1280I stood in front of our church congregation, filling in as a member of the worship team. I would be leading out on the next song. My stomach was in knots as I thought through all that could possibly go wrong, things that have gone wrong in the past.

I could forget the words. My voice could crack. I could miss that high note.

Listening to the song’s intro (my heart obviously not worshiping), I realized something quite convicting – I’m quick to admit I’m not perfect. I talk about transparency and the importance of being real, of extending grace in our weaknesses and laughing at our embarrassing moments.

But I don’t like people to see me make mistakes. I want to control which imperfections they observe.

It’s one thing to talk about our mistakes and embarrassments, even our sins, in the past tense. It’s another matter to mess up when people are watching.

For most of my life, I’ve aimed at perfection. It seems a worthy pursuit. Jesus Himself said, “You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

When the Bible uses this word perfect, however, it has the connotation of completeness and maturity.

This term “can be used in a relative or absolute sense…God’s perfection is absolute; man’s is relative reaching the goal set for Him by God with each individual different according to one’s God-given ability.” – Lexical Aids to the New Testament, Key Word Study Bible

God is perfect. He’s sinless and holy. He needs and lacks nothing.

bean-1512433_1280We, His children, on the other hand, are in the process of becoming perfect and mature. We’ve been declared righteous and our sins have been washed away. Yet the Holy Spirit is about the lifelong work of forming Christ in us – and He’s not in a hurry.

True perfection, like all of Christianity, revolves around Jesus, not our own efforts to keep a good image or avoid mistakes. Jesus is our example, as well as our Source of transformation. He uses even our weaknesses to mature us and make us like Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

So today, instead of focusing on myself and the image I want to maintain, I choose to rejoice in the work God is doing in my heart, my life and my home.

ChristianPerfectionHow about you? How is Jesus perfecting you these days?

Related posts:

The Gardener

Thanksgiving in the Midst of Failure



Rest for the Restless

Driven by duty, or led by love? It makes a difference.


“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me,  for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.

Am I the only one who has had a problem with those verses? The Christian life as rest – what? An easy yoke and a light burden? Experience told me otherwise.

Until recently.

Until life crumbled and weakness won out. Until I could no longer keep up with the “good girl” life. Until everything I believed came unraveled. (To read about my journey, click here.)


In that place of weakness, with crumbled faith and nothing to offer God, I experienced rest. The God of rest came to me and picked me up. He gathered me in His arms and carried me close to His heart (see Isaiah 40:11). And there, near His heart, I began to learn from Him. And I found rest for my soul.

I had spent my life driven to do. Do more. Do better. Just keep doing. He deserves my best, after all. But the doing was never enough because I knew that Jesus had said heart motives were just as important as actions (see Matt 5:20-22, 27-28). I could never measure up. How could this possibly be rest?

But I learned, there near His heart, that God does not drive His children to do. We are not cattle prodded along a path, a destination to be reached by morning. Instead, He leads us as a shepherd leads his sheep (Ps 23). The shepherd guides them beside still waters. He gives them green pastures in which to rest.



In fact, the Hebrew word here for lead  carries the connotation of guiding to a place of rest and refreshment. It means to lead with care. In Exodus 15:13, we read, “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” He leads us with unfailing love. And did you catch where He is guiding us? To His “dwelling.” To His presence. Into deeper intimacy and friendship. He is not trying to get us somewhere. He is bringing us near. That’s where He is leading us. Closer.

Our Shepherd has a loving relationship with His sheep. He knows each of us by name. And the sheep know and trust His voice (John 10:3-18), because we walk with Him. The picture is one of sweet companionship.

In the opening passage from Matthew, Jesus uses another word picture to describe our relationship with Him. He invites us into His “yoke.” He shares our burdens with us. He’s not the farmer driving the oxen. He’s in the yoke working with us. We find rest as we learn from Him. As we keep in step with Him.

This Christian life is not lived for Him. It’s lived by Him – He leads; we follow (John 10:3-5). He empowers; we walk in victory (Col 1:11, Rom 8:37). He works in us; our lives please Him (Phil 2:13). Our job is to rest – in who He is and what He has done for us. Our work is abide in Him and let Him bear fruit through us (John 15:4-5).

What does resting in Jesus look like in your life? Any practical tips for resting when life is anything but restful? I’d love to hear your thoughts!