Life sure has a way of knocking us down at times. With all that’s going on in the world today it’s easy to start feeling that things are simply out of control. Well, there’s good news and bad news on that front. I’ll give you the bad news first. It is out of control. Events are unfolding all around us which confirm that reality. We’re living in chaos.
Now, for the good news. From the beginning of creation, God brought order out of chaos. Take a moment and think about that.
God brings order out of chaos.
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” Gen. 1:1-2
With His help, you can too.
God organized things, starting with creating light. After everything He created He pronounced them good. Then He created man and woman in His image and likeness and pronounced all that He had created “very good.” The second chapter of Genesis helps us to understand what went wrong…man and woman rebelled against His sovereignty and sin came into the world, along with confusion, and difficulties. But with sin, He announced a plan of salvation through His Son.
So yes, for us, life is a bit out of control. But it really always has been. It’s not news. But being in the image and likeness of God, we are also called to create order as He did. We do it all the time. For example, when we build a house: we draw up plans and clear the trees, sift the sand for rocks to make concrete, and plane and cut the wood. Or when we clean up the play room: we sort and wash the toys, create a system of shelves or storage bins, and then place the sorted items where they belong.
Life is a constant interplay between chaos and order. But when it seems the chaos is winning we need to step back, regroup, and come up with a plan to get some kind of a handle on it. Continuing in the same pattern will only lead to, well…continuing in the same pattern.
So, taking our cue from Genesis, the first step is to get some light on the subject.
What are the problems?
Sort them into categories: home, work, relationships, money etc. Make a physical list.
Next: Separate the light from the dark
Which are the good things that are working in each category and which are not? Maybe you get along fine with others but not with your immediate family. Perhaps you have a great budget for your household but in other areas you waste too much money. Maybe your shoes are organized but you can never find a spatula in the kitchen when you need one.
Which of the problems causes you the most distress and wastes the most amount of your time? Tackle that first. For instance, if cooking healthy meals is important to you, by organizing your kitchen, planning a menu and making up a shopping list you may find it’s easier than you had imagined. (Hint: keep your lists on your phone so you always have them with you.)
Hiring a coach or professional organizer can pay huge dividends in getting things straightened out quickly and permanently. A good coach will listen to your unique needs and challenges and tailor a plan that works for you. There are general principles that may apply but not usually a one size fits all solution.
Next look at people: Who are the positive influences in your life, and who creates chaos and disorder around you? What can you do to maximize exposure to the former and minimize exposure to the latter?
If it’s those closest to you, your spouse and your children, that are the sources of your greatest distress, talking to a counselor may be a good idea. Perhaps some family of origin issues are at play that need more than simple organization techniques to address. Your home should be a place of comfort and solace for you, your spouse and your children. If it’s not, then make it a priority to deal with it. It may seem hopeless to you but a skilled counselor can help you sort it out and make recommendations that can bring significant improvement. But you do have to be open to making changes yourself.
It’s important that we keep this fact in mind: we may feel out of control, but God has it all under control. We need to be praying and fostering that relationship. Present your cares to God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you hope and wisdom. He will.
We can’t control the weather, the stock market, or the people around us. But God, being the Master artist that He is, will use all things for our good. Although it may seem that He’s painting a dark picture in our lives, He is working to bring good out of all that happens to us – even our screw ups and mistakes. Start by believing that and watch what starts to happen.
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.
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