I’ve recently realized that I am addicted to order. I so badly want things to be neat, tidy, and under control. There’s nothing I hate so much as the feeling of chaos, that I am just bouncing around in life like a pinball; the feeling that I am powerless over a downward spiral of negative events .
And when I experience these feelings, what do I often do? I turn my fear and anger inward. I inflict hatred upon myself.
Creating order is my way of coping. If something goes wrong, I immediately start asking myself, “What can I do? How can I batten down that thing that’s flapping in the wind?” I want to be like the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike. I so strongly believe that I need to do something to stave off chaos.
It doesn’t seem like a bad plan. But it only works until the next thing goes wrong. It makes me angry at myself, because I can’t fix things to create the order I crave. It places my confidence in my own efforts, and not in God.
I’ve come to realize that this pattern of thinking is a stronghold of Satan in my heart.
So I’m deciding to break down this stronghold. It’s a familiar battle. I’ve known for years that something is wrong, and I’ve tried to address it. I’ve seen Christian professionals who taught me more healthy ways of thinking. I’ve taken medications that made things not bother me so much. I’ve learned may truths as a Christian that have been effective, and have given me peace.
But I haven’t been able to correct the root of the problem. And that is what I am battling now. As I’ve mentioned before, I am reading this great book, “Spiritual Discovery,” and it is helping me more than anything ever has to identify what attitudes in me are causing the dysfunction. I feel like I am rooting out Satan where he has been hunkered down in a slimy pit of lies, a fortified hidey hole that I haven’t been able to uncover.
In Psalms 51:6 David says to God, “Behold, you desire truth in the inmost parts.”
This verse that resonates with me. I’ve got to root out what I’m feeling and identify the lies. I have to find truths that combat the deeply seated false beliefs.
What lies am I discovering?
The lie that the world should be orderly. I live in a fallen world, full of sin and weakness. I can’t expect it to be otherwise.
The lie that God is not in control, or that he doesn’t care enough about me to do something in my life.
The lie that everything is in a downward spiral.
The lie that chaos has the upper hand, and that God isn’t working his good and perfect will on the earth.
The lie that what seems to be failure couldn’t be a part of God’s plan.
The lie that I need perfection and order. It’s the same thing as craving material things. Orderliness never lasts. It’s a terrible thing to need, because I can never be satisfied for long.
And now that I’ve identified the lies, the next step is to pinpoint the truths will be effective weapons against these untruths.
The truth that God is vastly good.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. John 1:5b
The truth that there is hope. God is holding my hand through the raging waters. He will not let go because He is committed to me, because He dotes on me. He is my lifeline. He is my helper. And by His strength He will drag me out of the suction of the currents.
“he pulled me from the surging water. . .He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.” (Ps 18:16b, 19)
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Ps 139:10)
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire” (Ps 40:2)
The truth that God’s whole direction here on earth for all time was and is to reach out to me, to sacrifice for me, to make a way for me to come into his arms.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Eph 1:4-5
The truth that there will be a heaven that is order and perfection.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Rev 21:4
The truth that weakness can actually work in my favor. That I actually need weakness to empty me of myself so I can be filled with HIM and transformed.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. II Cor 4:16-17
For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Cor 12:10
I’m telling you, these truths are hard to remember sometimes! But I want to learn to listen to God and the truths he’s trying to tell me. I want to hear his song.
The song Joseph heard when he told his brothers, “you meant it for harm, but God meant it for good.” The song Joshua heard when he knew he could take the promise land. The song David heard when he faced Goliath. The song Jesus heard in the Garden that carried him forward.
The song I begin to recognize when I’m thankful.
The song that sings, “Trust. You are in my loving arms. I will keep you from harm. My hand holds you tight through the waters that sweep. My goodness surrounds you. My army is there. Sshhhh, my beloved. Be quiet. Know that I am weaving the thread of my will through your life.”
Ah, that’s the key — finding that thread of his will in my life. But as I said, it’s so tough to do. The other day Ken and I were driving back from Atlanta and I was trying to find the Auburn football game on the radio. I painstakingly switched through static, oldies, commercials, sports talk, whiny country music, pulsing R&B. I finally found a broadcast of the game, but after 30 minutes, we got out of range.
That’s what it feels like to me when I try to tune into God’s will. I have to be patient and still and sift through a lot of voices in my head until I can hear his voice. And then through the course of the day the voice gets obscured, and I have to wrestle all over again to hear it.
But when I do, it’s so powerful. I feel like am a part of something huge and beautiful and meaningful.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Ps 139:16
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26-27
I’m learning that faith isn’t just believing. It’s hearing God’s voice. It’s knowing God. It’s tuning into his will. It’s a deep and vibrant connection to God’s very heart.
I’m learning that the cure for my addiction to order is to find God’s better order.
And now, as my day draws to a close and the recollection of challenges I faced are like specters tormenting me, and I feel engulfed by worry and fear and emotion, I force myself to stop and listen. I remember who God is. I remember hope. I remember the heroes of faith. I remember the love that’s like a waterfall. I remember that HIS will will carry me along and sustain me through the scariest times.
And I feel better.
When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! Ps 142:3a
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isa 42:61