My life feels busy—sometimes crazy busy. While homeschooling five kids who are in various activities, it feels like a lot of juggling to make it all work. And although I aspire to have a clean and organized home, the reality is that I am so not there. I can even feel the chaos creeping in—a few more dirty dishes in the sink, a few more books piled on the counter, a few more puzzle pieces left out. Then, if I’m not careful, it’s full on crazy-town house, where there is crusted play dough on the carpet, piles of dirty clothes, and don’t even ask about the kitchen. What happened? Why is it so chaotic? Because kids? Because I’m a bad house keeper? Because my hubby doesn’t pick up the slack?
It’s not really any of that. It’s that my surroundings begin to dictate my feelings, and I have let the chaos in. It enters through my perception of my circumstances. Because the truth really is that even if I had a perfect system and was on top of my schedule and my house was perfectly clean and my kids were actually tiny self-cleaning robots, these things would not guarantee my sanity—and I would not automatically have peace. Because there would always be something else. Because the enemy doesn’t play fair, and even if I had the best hand, he’d throw in the ace he’s hidden up his sleeve. He cheats by whispering: You aren’t good enough. You haven’t cleaned up enough. You are failing miserably, and it is your fault. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Because it’s not an equation. Because a clean house doesn’t equal success whereas a messy house equals failure. Because there are seven of us and we are all still learning how to live together. Because we all need grace Every. Single. Day. Grace says, I refuse to judge you for your sticky floor because I see your heart and know that making pancakes with your toddler says love so much more than a freshly mopped floor. Grace says, yes the space is cluttered but let’s work on this together as a team—without blaming or casting judgment on the sloppiest child (who also may be the most creative). Grace says, in the midst of the chaos—the whirling storm of judgment beating down on your soul—choose peace.
In the gospels, there is an account of Jesus calming a literal storm. Jesus was with his disciples late one night on a boat, and a “furious” storm broke out, where waves were actually crashing into the boat. The storm was so terrible that the disciples thought they were going to die. And in the middle of this awful storm, Jesus was sound asleep. He was at complete peace in the middle of complete chaos. The chaos was around but it was not within. “The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:38-39)
I am reminded of Jesus on that boat when I think about my daily struggles. When I choose to reject those critical voices within, the storm calms and there is peace. Because there will be seasons that things don’t look perfect on the outside. There will be sticky counters and messy projects and piles of laundry. And so the storms will rage. But looking past the outward, going deep within—that is the place to find rest. And this is a reminder to me, to choose peace in the middle of my mess.
The word passion has been in my head for quite some time. Why? At my age, I am fine. I have a good job, healthy family, money in the bank. I am content. I went down that passionate road many times pursuing dreams, but ended up with disappointment or lost my desire.
Go away passion. Life it good!
Last month, we went on vacation to the West Coast to visit family. One day, we were driving down the 10 freeway in Phoenix and I just could not keep my eyes away from the mountains surrounding us. In awe of the desert’s beauty, I was mesmerized by the height of these mountains. I thought to myself, could I climb that mountain to the top? Or what about that one? While daydreaming about my inner quest, the word PASSION popped in my head. I continued to gaze in silence while pondering the word passion.
“To climb to the top, that is passion. Passion is growing, loving and pursuing Me with all your heart.”
Well, God speaks on vacations!
Passion is a God-given desire that compels us to make a difference in the world. Our passion may be a dream, vision, burden or call. When there is a passion for God, there is a passion to know Him, to obey Him, to serve Him and to proclaim Him. That is all well and very true. Like most, I have many passions.
You could probably create a similar list of passions that capture your attention and activities that fill your free time. As I look at my list, I am struck by the fact that these are all temporal pleasures. As much as I love going to the gym and cooking healthy meals, I know there is something more important and permanent. God is calling us deeper, which is a passion for Him. Passion is the only prerequisite for an abundant spiritual life.
There is no right or wrong passion. God gives each of us passions in order to move us to address the various concerns of His heart. When we pursue our passion, or the concerns He places in our heart, we are focused and motivated. We feel alive, intense, and energetic. We were created for more of Jesus, not just once a week at church. Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion.
If you imagine climbing a mountain, you have a passion to make it to the top. Although, it can be hard at times and weary. A passion for God is to pursue the knowledge of Him, understanding of Him and deepen your love for Him. We know this will take a lifetime. However, challenge yourself! Renew your strength and run to God. Continue your passion for God. To abide in Him is to hang on tenaciously. It is for eternity.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”