Jesus and Chaos
By Rachel Hollis,
Author of the #1 Christian Book, "Girl, Wash Your Face"
(Rachel Hollis' "Girl, Wash Your Face" entered the Christian Book Top 50
list at #2 back in July of 2018. Every month since then, its been at #1)
The thing is,
Jesus was the ultimate embracer of chaos. He preached and taught and
shepherded a flock, and in the midst of his tumultuous ministry, he
accepted everyone. Everyone was allowed to join in on the love. The
widows, the prostitutes, the lepers, the orphans, people with great
need, people who brought drama and stress into His life, and folks who
weren't always lovable or even kind.
Furthermore, Jesus told us to love them, too. He didn't ask us kindly or
say, "Hey guys, maybe you could..." No, He straight up called us to
stand with the oppressed. Jesus looked at them and said, "Bring it on."
Jesus took in the messy, broken pieces and said, "Behold, I am making
all things new." - Revelation 21:5
Amid our chaos, fear, and frustration there is the reminder, "For
everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
- Ecclesiastes 3:1
You're sitting in your house, in your neighborhood, in your city, and
thinking, This is so hard. Nobody else understands. I can't keep up.
Blah, blah, blah. And God is up there like, Good and perfect daughter, I
have been talking about this since Jump Street!
Being overwhelmed isn't a new concept.
Having a tough day or week? Do you snap at your husband or want to pull
your hair out? You haven't cornered the market on that. You are not the
only one. The way you deal with your stress, though, is where your
individuality comes through.
So maybe you're reading this and you're thinking, Okay, I'm in... I get
it. Let's embrace this chaotic life! But how in the heck do I do that?
Start by giving yourself some grace. We all mess up; we all make
mistakes; we all forget pajama day or mix it up with picture day. I've
screamed at my kids, my husband, and myself. None of it feels good, all
of it devastates me, because the loss of control is so upsetting. But
you know what? Tomorrow is another day and a chance to try again.
Take a breath. Find humor in the situation, and force yourself to look
for it when it's not immediately evident. A couple of years ago when we
were getting certified to be foster parents, a social worker had to
interview each of our kids. We sat in the living room with them while
she asked innocuous questions over iced tea. She gave them harmless
prompts...harmless until she spoke to a barely four-year-old Ford
"What makes you happy?" she asked.
He said he liked to go swimming. "And what makes you sad?" she followed
up. Without hesitation he told her, "When Daddy scares me in the night."
Both Dave and I froze like deer in headlights. What? What the heck was
he talking about? And why was he choosing right now, with a social
worker from Child Protective Services, to work through this?
"What do you mean when Daddy scares you in the night?"
"You know, when he comes to my room in the night and he's mad at me."
Y'all, when you do an interview like this, you're already on edge; but
when your kids say something crazy, you think that, not only are you not
going to get approved for foster care but also you might lose the
children you do have.
More questions revealed that Ford was talking about the night before when
he'd woken up in the middle of the night and tried to sneak in bed with
us (which is against the rules). Daddy was grouchy when he had to walk
him back to bed three times at two o'clock in the morning. It's
hilarious in hindsight, but at the time, before we'd gotten
clarification, I thought I was going to hyperventilate. So push yourself
to laugh at hard situations. In fact, the crazier the situation, the
more humor you should be able to mine from it.
I also encourage myself, and you, to look for the fruits of the
Spirit. For those of you who didn't grow up singing them on a kids'
worship music tape before breakfast each morning like I did, the fruits
of the Spirit are love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
All of these are
incredible values, but I believe there's always one that we need the
most in a particular season. Choose the one that resonates with you at
this moment, write it down on some Post-its, and stick them everywhere.
Don't forget to take a
break, take care of yourself, go on a date, or get your nails done. Take
some time just for you to refill your cup, and you'll be better able to
embrace all the madness when you step back inside of it.
Find a tribe of people who are in a similar walk of life as you
are. Once you find them, be honest about where you are and what you're
struggling with. Learn to ask for help, and when someone offers help,
accept it! Accept any and all help you can get and consider it a gift
from God! I cannot tell you how many women ask me how I "do it all," and
when I tell them that I've learned to ask for help, they look at me as
if I'm an alien.
"Like, help with what?"
For example, when your mother-in-law says she'll come for the
afternoon and entertain the kids, say, "Yes, please." If your husband
offers to fold the laundry (even when you don't think he's good at
folding towels), say, "Yes, please." If your girlfriend says she wants
to bring you dinner but you feel bad that you're putting her out, say,
"Yes, please." Or if your elementary school offers afternoon classes
that will occupy your rambunctious boys for an additional hour and a
half, say, "Yes, please."
What can give you more time, more space, more freedom to find your
center? Whatever it is, say, "Yes, please" to that!
Remember that old joke
about how a man keeps praying for God to save him from drowning? Someone
comes by in a boat and asks him if he needs a ride, and he's like, "Nah,
God will save me." When it happens two more times, he says the same
thing both times. Spoiler alert: The man ends up drowning, and when he
gets to Heaven, he's like, "God, what the heck? I asked You to save me."
And God looks at him and says, "Dude, I sent you three different life
rafts, and you ignored each one."
Girlfriend, God is sending you all kinds of life rafts. Some are big and
obvious, and some are as simple as the bagger at the store offering to
load your groceries into your car. Get in the freaking boat!
Remember Philippians 1:6:
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will
carry it on to completion.
Oh man, I just love that scripture. I believe it's true, and I've
watched it unfold in my life again and again. You will get through this
season. This too shall pass. Don't set the rest of your life up on a
downhill slope because of one hard season.
It also might be helpful to remember that someone else is praying
to have the kind of chaos you're currently crying about. What I mean is,
the things you think are so difficult could be someone else's dream come
true. I don't say that to make you feel bad, or to negate your difficult
experience; but perspective may help you see that your chaos is actually
just a gigantic blessing. Adjusting your view can work wonders.
Lastly, remember the butterfly effect? Well, let's consider an actual
butterfly, or more specifically, a caterpillar. Caterpillars are
awesome. They have all those legs and they're really cool, and there's
an entire children's book series about how pretty they are. But if the
caterpillar just chose to stay a caterpillar, if she decided that the
chaos of metamorphosis would be too much for her to handle, she would
never know what she could become.
Do you think that changing her entire being isn't painful? Do you think
it's not scary and hard and overwhelming? Of course it is, but if she
didn't fight against the fear, if she didn't allow the change to turn
her into her true self, we would never know how beautiful she is. She
would never know that she was meant to fly.
Excerpted with permission from Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis,
copyright Rachel Hollis.