I love organization.
You know what this means, don’t you?
It means that I am constantly disappointed.
Anyone remember Murphy’s Law from science class? When left to themselves, systems tend to become more disordered. As a stay-at-home mom of six years this makes me want to sing the Hallelujah chorus: there is a reason my job can feel like bend over, pick up, put away, repeat!
Before having children, there were simply fewer things to physically organize be it clothing, books, or papers not to mention fewer things to mentally and emotionally organize like schedules, three other females’ emotions, and toys. Insert a few timely meltdowns and late nights and I could pretty much stay on top of my unrealistic expectations. But after children…well, the illusion of control died a thousand slow and painful deaths.
Despite how good ole Murphy normalizes disorder, I still try to recover what I’ve lost in time and control constantly. When I feel like I cannot get a handle on the mess around me, I want a quick fix (or a donut) to make me feel satisfied. So, what do I do? (besides buy the donut.)
I vacuum my garage.
(Wow, I’ve really got things figured out, people.)
I wrongly look for my sense of purpose and dignity in the ordering of my life, even if I can only find it briefly on the non-sandy floor of my garage. Theologically speaking, I’m right on track with God’s Genesis creation mandate for humanity: fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over it…help bring order to the chaos of this world. But if I peer a little deeper, if I look past the beads on the floor and the unfolded laundry and check out my angst or irritability at these things, I begin to see a heart that is set on finding satisfaction where it’s not meant to be found.
I can call it nesting or hormones or personality, but really it is just plain unbelief. When I am looking for ultimate peace or affirmation from a new structure, a new parenting technique, or really in anything that I do, I am simply not believing that Christ has done enough for me.
I would rather work for what I cannot gain rather than rest in what I’ve already been given. And what is it that I’ve already been given in Christ? The Psalmist describes it this way:
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” Psalm 62:5-7 (NIV)
Do you hear the refrain? Is God’s echo loud enough? Our souls satisfaction is in HIM alone.
When we remember, rehearse, and believe the promises of Emmanuel, God with us, it means our lives’ narrative can shift from scrambling to secure rest and contentment in personal accomplishment, order, or productivity to receiving the rest Jesus has already secured for us now and eternally. It means we get to enjoy the freedom of being less self-focused and then move forward in work and play with joy and purpose.
When we ask: How can I maximize my potential in this life and be recognized for it?
We can hear: HE IS WORTHY.
When we ask: What do I need to accomplish to feel satisfied and unshaken?
We can hear: IT IS FINISHED.
When we ask: What quick fix will relieve me of the pressure I feel to do this right?
We can hear: HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT.
Murphy’s law rightly echoes the reality of the disorder inside of me, too: if I am left to myself, I will tend towards disorder. But here is the good news: I am not alone. Christ in me is my reality. And Christ around me is the church. We need one another to remind us of Christ’s call for the weary and heavy laden to put down their vacuums, their to do lists, their winsome personalities, their five-year plans, their giftedness, even their good intentions to help and serve, and to first receive the rest he has provided for our souls. No amount of outer or inner disorder can ever be quelled apart from Him.