Tag Archives: Matthew 11:28-30

Calm in the Chaos

I don’t like chaos. It’s something I guard against. I don’t like to be around large groups of people very often or very long. If my kids get wound up, I lovingly instruct them to bring it down a notch or go be crazy in another room. I’m as careful as I can be to make sure our family schedule has regular times built in where we’re not running around to and from lessons and events like chickens with our heads cut off. Some types of chaos are controllable.

Sometimes life has seasons of chaos that are hard to avoid though, right? For example, when you decide to move to a new place, you have weeks or months of fixing up your current place to put on the market, cleaning like a madman before a showing, emails galore with your realtor, and road trips to house hunt. Exhausting.

Or, what about those baby/toddler years? Years of sleep-deprived chaos before the kids are old enough to go to the bathroom by themselves and sleep through the night. Exhausting.

The newest season of chaos for me and my husband, Chip https://chipmattis.com/, has been writing. He wrote a children’s book (a beautiful father/daughter story called “Under the Dancing Tree,” available at Amazon, here ), and I have a middle grade novel coming out in May (so exciting)!

Before this past year of writing and learning about the book publishing process, I never would have dreamed all that is required of authors. I mean, if you want to write a book, you have to really mean it. Writing is the easy part. The fun part. The time commitment and mental commitment of the rest of the process is no joke. Chaos, if you’re not careful.

So I’m trying to be careful. There are a million things I could be doing at any given moment. It becomes a deliberate process of making choices and prioritizing. It’s probably similar with your job, right? However it transfers to your life, I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying.

So how do we guard against chaos when it becomes a bigger matter than simply saying “no” to activities?

I think the real answer is so simple it’s maddeningly difficult: refuse to participate in the chaos. This might sound impossible when you examine your life. After all, we still have things to do. Things we’re responsible for. Commitments we’ve made.

Yes. And we need to honor our commitments and fulfill our responsibilities. But there are always things we can say “no” to. One of the main things we can say “no” to is letting our minds be overwhelmed by the chaos around us.

Just as marriage is choosing to love your spouse every day, living from a place of calm means choosing to steady our minds every day.

But how? Well, I know I can’t do it alone, and I bet you can’t either. I need Jesus every single day.

We have to believe His promises. There are many, but three come to mind in particular:

 Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
He’s offering us supernatural peace! It’s un-understandable, it’s so amazing! Accept it.

 Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Not “I might,” I’ll perhaps,” or “maybe,” but “I WILL give you rest.” That sounds like a promise to me.

 James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Thank goodness we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us to make the devil flee! That’s powerful stuff!

So the next time we find our minds being overcome by the chaos around us, let’s close our eyes, however briefly (or lock yourself into the bathroom for five minutes like I’m prone to doing…), and speak these truths out loud to remind not only ourselves, but our enemy, of these promises.

Our hearts and minds belong to Jesus, and the devil (and the stress and chaos he brings) has to flee. Praise God for that!

Do you have any tried and true methods for combating chaos? If so, I’d love to hear about them! I’m always looking for new tools for my tool belt. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Quick update on me:
My book, “Power Up,” is nearing the end of the editing process, which doesn’t make me sad, haha! Cover art design will happen in April, and by May, we should have a real book! Meanwhile, I’m so proud of my husband for his new release, “Under the Dancing Tree.” You really should check it out at the link above; you won’t regret it. I predict it will become a modern day classic, along the lines of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

It’s Always Something, Am I Right?

It’s getting close to Christmas, you guys! Maybe you’re excited like me, and maybe not so much, but this holiday season is a season of joy in many ways.

I start decorating for Christmas as soon as my dear husband gives me the okay, and I listen to Christmas music in October. I fully participate in the festivities that abound in the month of December and I love it!

My handsome hubby on Christmas Tree Day!

But it can be a time of sadness for our family too. We remember the horrible passing of my mother-in-law, and when December 26th rolls around, my father-in-law is no longer here for his birthday to be celebrated. On top of that, I have a bit of anxiety and flashbacks to last year when my health wasn’t as good and my MS was giving me troubles.

Do you ever feel like life is just one long string of difficult events (with an occasional respite thrown in here and there so your sanity isn’t entirely lost)?

If so, I know the feeling. Between the death and sickness of family and friends, the horrific events on the news, and the stresses of life in general, sometimes life can feel very…dark.

I’m guessing I’m not alone here. And hopefully I’m not alone when I say I refuse to allow that outlook to rule my mind.

So how do we fight the darkness? How do we muster the strength to focus on the good, when sometimes the good moments feel so few and far between?

We fight darkness with light. The light of Jesus, specifically. And we remember our view of life is the result of thousands of daily choices that we may not even realize we’re making. Such as:

Will I complain? Will I dwell on the negative? Will I focus on the sadness of the world? Will I choose fear?

Or.

Will I choose to be grateful? Will I find the positive? Will I find joy in good news? Will I choose hope?

I’m no scientist, but I do know the more you think positively or negatively, the more your brain gets wired to continue down that path. To me, that’s pretty empowering.

Thankfully, the pressure isn’t all on us and our abilities. Not even close.

God desires to help us and give us the mental (and physical) rest we need to keep going strong.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  –Matthew 11:28-30

If we take him at his word and give Jesus our burdens to carry, we find ourselves free to accept and be filled with joy from the Holy Spirit.

Even if sickness or uncertainty is staring you in the face today, your peace doesn’t have to suffer for it.

Consider this—we get to rest in the truth that we belong to Jesus, Heaven awaits us in the end, and nothing on earth can take those things away from us. And in the big, big picture… what else really compares?

And let’s not forget we don’t have to resign ourselves to the ups and downs of this life without a fight. We serve a God who answers prayer and performs miracles. Yes, even today God is still working miracles all around us. So let’s spend more time hunkered down in our prayer closet (or car, or bedroom, or whatever) and let’s be open to praying for and receiving the good things God wants to do in us and for us, instead of sitting back and letting life happen however the chips may fall.

What about when life is good?

Sometimes life is great. All the pieces of this crazy puzzle called life seem to fall together and we can inhale deeply and count our blessings. But if you’re like me, your peace is sometimes threatened even during times of otherwise smooth sailing. Why?

Because something always happens next. Am I right?

But instead of anxiously awaiting the next difficult thing, let’s be deliberate about choosing joy in the moment.

There are always blessings to count—let’s do just that. Let’s choose joy. Let’s open our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to rid us of anxiety and fear, and replace those things with peace, hope, and joy. In times of trial and times of plenty alike.

So even though this season in particular is a myriad of joy and sadness, I can choose. I can focus my energies on what “could have been” and give myself over to sadness and anxiety, or I can turn my eyes upon Jesus, count my blessings, (which truly do abound, as they do for most of us with running water and electricity) and receive the peace and joy that he so desperately wants to give.

Moment by moment, I’m doing my best to choose peace and joy to carry me through this upcoming Christmas season. How about you?

Let me know your thoughts by leaving me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!  

And for any of you who may be wondering, here’s a brief update on me: My middle grade Christian Fiction novel (currently titled “Power Up”) is in the editing phase. There is a lot of waiting and a lot of back-and-forth right now as my agent, publisher, editor, and I work together to get everything just right. It’s a time of excitement and soon it will be a time of teaching myself how to effectively market a book—yikes! Life is an adventure, that’s for sure. While I have a little down time in the middle of the waiting, I’ve been working on an adult Christian fiction novel. It’s a story that’s been on my heart for a while, and even if it comes to nothing, it’s SO much fun to write.

I truly do appreciate your support through this new writing adventure! Thanks for reading!