Managing the chaos

I woke up this morning with my brain in a thousand different places. You have seen the quote that says my brain has 15 tabs open, 6 are constantly running, 3 are all about numbers, and the computer screen is foggy and I can’t seem to accomplish any progress. This has been me over the past few months. Another analogy I heard the other night brought me to a better understanding and even my husband could get it. In the back of my brain, with all my clutter and thoughts, is a catalog system. As things happen and I deal with them in my life, I catalog the files to their proper draw. Yet, at this moment I feel as though someone has come along and dumped out a couple drawers and I cannot get those files back in order. Someone being triggers. Triggers with experiencing new pain, trigger of trying 2 new medicines, trigger of not sleeping good, trigger with a troubled relationship, trigger with insecurities, trigger of not being in control. The files in the drawer are dumped out. I am trying to place them back in their proper drawers so that I can get myself together and move forward with the 5 projects I currently have sitting around. Instead, all I can do it focus on the edge of the fog and see housework and chaos with several naps ahead just to get through the day. Day after day, I struggle to cope, struggle to just go with the flow and let the files remain on the floor. All mixed up and no place to call home and be safe. The system is out of order and it’s driving me crazy. Be still, comes to my mind. “Keri, just be still and let me put them back in order,” The small voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me. Yet, the wave of anxiety doesn’t seem to lessen much. Until, one morning a glimpse of clarity breaks through and my next step is so clear. I know what I have to do. This step is easy, but what if the next step is not? What if the next step requires me to do something hard and confrontational? Am I going to do it so I can put that file back in its proper place? Or, am I gonna avoid it and try to cram it in the back of another drawer that it will never fit in?

Sometimes, the way to picking up the pieces it not a glamourous path. The clarity that came was to stop taking the new medicine. They are not working and they are causing more trouble than not. That one was easy. Next file, experiencing new pain. Well, I can either proceed with trying to heal and figure it out, or I can ignore it and see if it goes away. Because this is a big trigger for me, the best move is to try figuring it out. One doctor’s appointment later and physical therapy ahead and that file is on its way to the drawer. Next, is control and relationships. For me, this time, it goes hand in hand. What is bothering me? Why am I so stressed? Why is my peace so hard to find in this relationship? Especially when it has been a safe haven in the past. As I work in trying to decipher what is the beam in my eye versus the splinter in the other, I am faced with a difficult decision ahead. A tough conversation that could either help or hinder this relationship. As I place it back on the floor to pray over it a little longer, to be sure of what I need to do, the next file on the floor catches my attention. The file that says you are not doing enough. This file is right next to another one that says, “phone call asking you to take a new position on a committee to do the Lord’s work”. Then the next card on the floor says, “What about your book? What about your blog? What about your ministry with them?” Before I know it, I am overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. I drop the files back on the ground and I let them linger. Thirty minutes later I try placing them together on the ground to see how they feel together. I place “Not doing enough” with the “Book, blog, committee job” and I become overwhelmed instantly. No matter how I arrange the files they all bring me chaos, confusion, and nothing is back in a drawer safe and neat. Something is wrong with these files. I just cannot put my finger on it. This is where I need help. I need to get a different perspective on these files and make sure I am seeing things clearly. So first, I pray. I pray and ask God for wisdom, for clarity, and for peace to know what to do next. Then, I reach out to my support group peoples and after a long talk with my amazing husband the clarity comes. It all boils down to some tough decisions, opening up a drawer that says no, and dealing with the fact that I have a huge misunderstanding of what serving God looks like. Stuck to the back of the file that says, “Not doing enough” was a file that says, “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” That haunted file that I thought I dealt with long ago, was somehow among the others. The file that should be under false beliefs drawer. The root to all my chaos lingered in that horrible file that tends to creep out over and over again.

My false belief drawer is half way full. As I read and study my Bible and face daily struggles, I work out those false beliefs and I put them in the drawer. The thing is that some of those false beliefs I’ve had for long time seem to slip out. As Satan throws a lot of arrows and triggers my way, he will slowly slip one of those out of that drawer and throw it in the pile as I am not looking. Sometimes those files are just so deeply rooted they have a way of coming out all on their own. But God! Through it all God has a way to deal with those deeply planted beliefs that keep us in chaos. I remember that God is in control and the best way to deal with those deeply rooted beliefs is to face them head on. Every time they come up; I try to remember that it is for my good. God is still working on me. He is the potter and I am the clay. Every false belief that creeps up he continues to keep his hands on me and work me until they come to the surface and those imperfections slowly come out. Then another, and another. He is so patient, and loving and kind. He is in no hurry as we are. He can see the big picture. He already knows what I will become, he just has to keep his hands steady on me to help get through and adjust. Adjust to a new way of thinking. Adjust to a place of acceptance for who I am. Adjust as I keep taking those filing cards on the floor and place them one by one back in their place so I can focus again on the big picture God has for me! The big picture is to hold water. To know that I am washed clean! That no matter how dirty or damaged I am he will restore me one piece, one ripple, or one file at a time.

The file that says “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” can be placed in the false belief drawer as I slowly believe that God has an individual plan for me and my family! My husband so clearly stated, “confusion is not what God wants. If it is something he wants you do to then you will have peace about it and not confusion. If it brings confusion then it is not for you! Also, if God has a bigger purpose for you than your family will be lead in that direction also.” That is so true. God would not take me to a place and leave my family behind. The pressure to believe that all these things were about me, my failures, and things I should be doing left my family out! Lastly, I thought, “Who am I to think that everything is about me? Am I that conceded?” The truth was on the outside that’s what it looked like, but it wasn’t so much on the inside. It wasn’t all about me, but with the observation of all the files on the ground, my anxiety was creeping higher as well as my depression. When this happens, I am more sensitive to all things. My major flaw in my personality was creeping up and I take everything as face value with no boundaries. Everything I hear, everything I feel, every challenge that is presented in the pulpit, on the radio, by my loved ones, or in my head, I take upon myself as my responsibility. But what is my responsibility? Where do I put up my boundary?

Galatians 6:5 – For every man shall bear his own burden.

1 Corinthians 3:8 – Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

These verses tell us that we each have different gifts, abilities, and talents, as well as our own burdens. It also says that the one that planteth and the one that watereth are one in the same. It is talking about ministering Gods word. No matter the conviction or responsibility you feel led to concentrate on we each have a job to do. We are to do it to the best of our abilities because they are equally important! Whether its serving the lost, the sick, the anxious, or the well-seasoned Christians. My personal conviction and responsibility is to the believer and helping them to navigate this life and the trials they face. To help them fight the great fight and finish the course, but most importantly to do it while keeping their faith. This is my responsibility, my burden. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving out the non-believer, but all scripture is profitable to Gods kingdom. All concentrations in ministry have the ability to convict, convert, to help those struggling and give them hope!  Because hope is the true message that we all have in common!!

As I place this file of “not doing enough”, and “everything is about me” back in its spot in the false belief drawer, I will take out some brand new 3×5 index card and start a new one to place in my core belief drawer. One that says, “It’s okay to say no.” Another that says, “confusion is not from God.” Another that says, “Teaching God’s hope, no matter in what concentration, is enough!” I can feel the peace fall over me and a little sprig of joy starting to sprout and the day it looking like clear skies ahead. Those other files still on the floor are tough, but with God, I will handle them one at a time and with His help and guidance. It gives me hope to know I will not have to deal with them alone, and no matter how many times those drawers get emptied it is not hopeless. This is life, this is my life, this is my journey! I will embrace it and thank God for one more day and one more opportunity to put the old and the new files in their place until I get to see Him face to face!