Does Chaos Have A Grip On You?
Finding Peace Comes From Letting Go
🔵 I want to invite you into a spiritual journey of surrender and courage. It’s choosing to move toward becoming the most authentic, untangled person we can become. It’s about waking up to all the things that are keeping us from living at peace with the world outside, as well as inside, and moving into a life marked by faith, hope, and love.
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
“Oh Mark, you have no idea,” you’re probably thinking.
You’re right. Because I have never felt overwhelmed in my entire life.
I’m kidding. Of course I have! I’m well acquainted with the vice-like grip of having circumstances and emotions completely bowl me over.
I also totally understand how easy it is to get addicted to chaos. There are so many horrible things happening all around us (especially if you watch the news!), not to mention the uncertainty that still surrounds this global pandemic we’re all living through. It really is too much most days. And it makes sense why we love to escape from it all with Netflix, sporting events, Twitter, food, shopping, alcohol… I could keep going! (I didn’t mention ice cream, because ice cream is fine. Totally acceptable to eat a lot of it.)
Do you long for more peace in your life? I know I do. Let me give me you some hope that it’s closer than you might think.
🔴 One thing I’ve observed is that some people continually choose to live in a state of chaos, feeling trapped in it, as if they have no choice in the matter. So much so that a person can create chaos in their life even when there’s nothing chaotic going on around them.
Why would somebody do that?
I believe the feeling of chaos helps people feel alive and dare I say, purposeful.
But it’s a false sense of aliveness and a false sense of purpose. To live constantly in a battle with life is exhausting and soul-killing. But we love having an enemy to be in battle with, an overwhelming problem to try to solve, a bigness that we can lose ourselves in. Because when we’re not fighting, who are we? Do we have purpose when we just rest in peace? (well, not that rest in peace, but you know.)
I believe we do. And that it’s what we were created for.
”Hi Mark, you keeping busy?” (A typical elevator greeting.)
“Absolutely not,” is my answer, usually met with raised eyebrows and a “so what lottery did you win?”
I didn’t win the lottery. But I refuse to buy into the addiction of busyness and chaos (close siblings in the anti-peace movement). I am choosing to live a life that’s rooted in peace and simplicity and I don’t want anything to jeopardize that. It doesn’t matter if ugly circumstances are thrown at me or are consequences of my own choosing; how I choose to respond to what happens to me shapes my life and determines my personal level of peace and joy.
This is Rooted In My Faith.
Clinging to negative thinking feels like we’re in control—and our ego loves it. But trusting feels like losing control—and our ego fights against it.
Living by faith doesn’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong, that we won’t get hurt, that we won’t be uncomfortable, that we won’t make mistakes, and that it won’t be a lot of hard work. John 16:33 confirms this: “And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
Jesus is basically saying, You’re going to be tempted to choose chaos. But you don’t have to! Peace is a better option. And it’s yours for free.
I want to invite you into a spiritual journey of surrender and courage. It’s choosing to move toward becoming the most authentic, untangled person we can become. It’s about waking up to all the things that are keeping us from living at peace with the world outside, as well as inside, and moving into a life marked by faith, hope, and love.
If someone is truly at peace with themselves and with God, they don’t have any reason to complain or demand anything from others.
I’m convinced that the peace we’re longing for will come from radical acceptance and surrender—a letting go of our intense need to be in control. This is such an important topic for me that I wrote a whole book about it. You can read Losing Control for free in pdf form by visiting my website here (or you can show your support for my creative work by purchasing a paperback copy or audiobook from me, or listen to it on Audible!)
Peace is not going to come from having us orchestrating and fixing up everything exactly as we would like. There’s still a dangerous lie constantly swirling around that whispers “you just have to try harder to control everything and then you’ll be happy.” Let’s call bunk on that one and aim for acceptance and surrender to life just the way it is, resting in the peace that comes from letting go of our desire to control everything and everyone. This letting go might actually be easier than you think.
“Was it hard?” I ask.
“Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real.”
I gulp. “Can I ask how you did it?”
“I just decided, Ava.
I just decided.”
― Lisa Schroeder, I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Maybe the letting go doesn’t sound very easy right now. Maybe it feels easier to focus on what’s not right about ourselves, other people, and the state of the world. It takes an intentional decision to look through the chaos that surrounds us and still see the good in people and our world. When we choose to see good we’re allowing ourselves to see God. Seeing God in each other reminds us that we are all sisters and brothers traveling together on this common journey.
I want to grow into a person who can keep saying an accepting “yes” to the things that happen to me, even to my crazy, unpredictable emotions that will inevitably pop up. And then, with great courage and strength, I can step into life and make choices that will allow me to be more present, loving, and peaceful, rather than distant, miserable, and controlling. As we do this, the fear of the unknown will be replaced by confidence and the ability to see beauty in that which has surrounded us all along, even if it looks like a mess on the outside. And we’ll be graciously met with a new ability to start changing things about ourselves that may actually help us live the life we desire.
As a recovering control freak, I’m convinced God is super-duper thrilled when I let go of the reins of life, stop trying to control people, and rest in God’s promises of unconditional love and never-departing presence.
It doesn’t mean life is going to be rosy. Anyone breathing will tell you that. Max Lucado said, “God never promises to remove us from our struggles. God does promise, however, to change the way we look at them.” For me, it looks more like peace, restfulness, and trust, rather than anger, frustration, and resentment.
God’s presence is the source of all peace and love. We can take our brokenness and enter into this place of abiding. We are offered fresh water, we are given new breath, and we are reminded of who we are. We sing Psalm 23, a song of comfort sung in the midst of pain and sorrow. We fall into this place of rest and peace by slowing down our mind and our feet and remembering that we’re not alone. We connect with the love God has placed inside our very hearts.
And we can be at peace.
Help me sit in the middle of the mess and be at peace
Knowing my serenity and worth are not found
In anything being fixed and in its right place
Let me see the life bursting through the disorder and be at peace
Knowing I’m not escaping from anything
But instead, choosing to engage with life
Give me courage to move into the messiness of life and be at peace
Rejecting isolation and passivity
In order to build relationships and create unity
Grant me wisdom to know what I need to address and be at peace
Choosing to use love and grace as my tools
To help make the world a better place
Help me be brave enough to live from my heart and be at peace
Listening to the call from within
To live in new, adventurous ways
I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment on the website by clicking here and finding the comment bar at the bottom of the post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!