Thursday, August 28, 2014

The False Gospel of Organization, Order, & Control

Two weeks ago, our house was a conglomeration of boxes. Big boxes, little boxes, half-opened boxes, boxes anywhere and everywhere. The boxes with things I needed I couldn't find. The boxes stuffed with items we didn't need for a while were the boxes that continually seemed to make their way into my path.
We had just arrived in Louisville earlier that afternoon around one, after two days of traveling, and had plunged into our move only fifteen minutes later when we signed our new lease and picked up the moving truck.
We were so blessed to have so many friends helping us. But the day was still a whirlwind of activity, packing up last minute boxes, entertaining and bouncing Annie in the baby carrier for naps, and ordering and eating dinner, in between trips back and forth between our old and new apartments with the moving truck.
The time we had set for the move was so limited that we did not have time to get all the furniture situated in the correct rooms. Our desks were in the living room, the couches were covered in boxes. We were climbing over boxes to get to the kitchen, slipping between boxes to make our way down the hall. As I sat on the living room floor, staring at the boxes and furniture that surrounded me, I could feel the subtle unrest of anxiousness in my heart. All around me, everything was everywhere. And the loss of control I had over our home at the moment caused my heart to be unsettled.

At this point, let me just say that I. Love. Organization.
I thrive on schedules and order. I like everything to have a designated place, and it makes me feel at peace when everything is clean and where it belongs. I have a meal plan, a cleaning schedule, and a weekly routine that I try to build our days around. And when our days run smoothly according to these plans, I feel satisfied and in control. Sticky notes are my favorite, and I always have a running to-do list. When I accomplish much on my list, it brings me satisfaction and happiness.
Conversely, when our days become "crazy" (I'm sure when we have more children I will remember back to these days and think I never knew what "craziness" was, but, to me now, they can sometimes seem crazy:) ... the baby won't sleep, I haven't been able to do the cleaning task I had scheduled for today , I accidentally started a fire in our oven that I had to put out with two large cups of water, my phone is broken, I haven't slept 4 hours in a row in months, there are toys and blocks all over the floor, Annie is covered in cheerios stuck to her little belly with sticky watermelon juice, I am trying to cook dinner while Annie is screaming and biting my feet and climbing up my legs... in the midst of that craziness, I can struggle with discouragement and dissatisfaction (because I haven't gotten anything "done" today!) and anxiousness and unrest in my heart (because I feel out of control in the moment).

Yet, in those moments, I am living according to a false gospel of control & organization:
- When everything is organized, in order, and running smoothly, I feel at peace, satisfied, at rest, happy, etc.
and
- When everything is "crazy" and "unaccomplished" and everything is everywhere, I feel anxious, unsatisfied, discontent, discouraged, etc.
I am looking to organization and sense of control and order to find satisfaction, rest, encouragement, peace- rather than looking to Jesus. 

Slowly, God has been revealing to me and teaching me that, in these moments (and in every moment!), I need to remind my heart of the true Gospel:
Jesus died for my sins and rose again to save me from God's wrath. I am united to Him now, and only He can bring me satisfaction, rest, peace, joy. 

The rest that He gives is a true and better rest because His burden is easy and His yoke is light (Mtt. 11:30). And the peace that He gives is unlike the peace of the world and the false sense of peace that my sense of having everything in order can ever bring; His peace transcends all human understanding and can guard my heart and mind against all anxiousness (Phil. 4:7). And the joy that He gives is true joy; it is inexpressible and glorious! (1 Pet. 1:8-9).

The peace and happiness that come when I feel like everything is in order can fade away in a moment of chaos, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He remains the same in the "orderly" days and the "crazy" days. And when I look to Him and dwell on His character and pray to Him and fill my mind with His Word, my soul finds rest, no matter what the day holds. And for this, I am thankful.