I came across the blog of a clinical psychologist called The Chaotic Life. The title alone gives you some idea of how he views our lives. I think he might be onto something. Many of the problems we face in life have a direct link to the style of life that we have chosen to live. The American Psychological Association (no I’m not a fan) takes a survey each year called the Stress in America survey and for a number of years they have found that Americans are too stressed out. Is it any surprise? I think that most of us will admit that our lives have become chaotic. Work demands from one-third to one half (and more) of our time. Then there’s running kids to multiple sporting events, school activities, work around the house, friends to keep up with, shopping to do and church.
And church. There’s no question that church activities add to our list of things to do and therefore add some degree of chaos to our lives. For the church and the Christian it’s a balancing act. Churches need to make sure that they don’t demand more time from their people than is reasonable (that’s a hard one to determine) and Christians need to make sure that they don’t pack their schedules so full that they don’t have time for their church.
So what is the answer? How do Christians handle the chaos of life? I suspect that there may be more than one answer to the question and each family will need to work through this issue for themselves. There is one place, however, that I can suggest you begin – in quietness and confidence.
The nation of Israel was facing the invading armies of the mighty Assyrian nation. It was a time of national chaos. The king’s advisors were pushing the king to appeal to Egypt for protection – a decision that would have made them a vassal state to the Egyptians. The choice they faced was involuntary subjugation to Assyria or voluntary subjugation to Egypt. Talk about stress! That’s when the prophet Isaiah spoke to the nation: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength (Isaiah 30:15). It is in the time that we spend with God that we begin to turn chaos into quietness and gain the confidence that He can give us the wisdom we need for life.
In his commentary on Isaiah, Matthew Henry wrote: Would we be strengthened to do what is required of us and to bear what is laid upon us? It must be in quietness and in confidence; we must keep our spirits calm and sedate by a continual dependence upon God, and his power and goodness; we must retire into ourselves with a holy quietness, suppressing all turbulent and tumultuous passions, and keeping the peace in our own minds. And we must rely upon God with a holy confidence that he can do what he will and will do what is best for his people. And this will be our strength; it will inspire us with such a holy fortitude as will carry us with ease and courage through all the difficulties we may meet with.
It is when we rely on God and face life in His wisdom and strength that we can bring quietness out of chaos.
Stay in the Word