Peace in Chaos

 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV)

The first part of this passage came front and center to my mind this morning. I was struggling to love, struggling to dispense grace and kindness. My heart and mind were not exactly set on things above.  When I got home from work, I had to look it up. I couldn’t remember where it was found. And God did this amazing thing, ya know? Where He speaks through His word. Like, who woulda thunk?

Colossians 3. I read the whole chapter, and it all jumped off the page at me. I was so thirsty for refreshment, and God, being God and doing his thing opened up the fire hose and let me have it. So, before we go any further, do yourself a favor and dig up Colossians 3 and read it for yourself. Done? Ok, good. Let’s go.

Peace. What does it look like for peace to rule our hearts? What does it mean when the word of Christ is dwelling in you? It’s certainly not sitting on the fence. You’re in the field, or you’re on the fence. When peace reigns in our hearts, our focus shifts from building our own empire to furthering the kingdom.

Last month, I took a plunge. From every logical standpoint, it was a stupid decision. I quit my job in the career field I love. I loved my job. Did you hear me? This is what  I went to school for. My dream. I enjoyed my job. It was a good one. I was stuck on “building my little empire.” (a very small, insignificant one at that!) And yet, I was at a crossroad of fear, failure, trust, & obedience. God made it very clear. It was time to go. And for what? Cleaning. Yes. You heard me. I took a pay cut, & cut in hours and left the video camera so I could sit on someone’s floor and pick cemented cheerios out of their grout. And why? Because obedience. Because maybe my heart has it’s own form of cemented cheerios and He wants to chip those away. He is calling me out of my comfort and teaching me to trust. These past couple of months have been utter chaos. Trial after trial.

So I’m sitting the the floor today, wiping tiny hand prints and some form of crusted food or buggers off cabinets. Yogurt becomes a fantastic medium to express art, and cabinets are a ready canvas. It’s not exactly high on my list of enjoyable moments. Don’t get me wrong; the cleaning isn’t really that bad. It’s generally a peaceful environment, and I love that I get to be more active. But there are always a few exceptions, and this one is the exception. It’s the person you can just never please; always finding fault.It was a challenging, chaotic day. Patience was gone. Frustrations were high.   My conversation with God went something like this: ” Lord, help me! I’m running short of grace and kindness! Reserves are LOW. it’s BAD. … … … “Let the peace of Christ dwell in you.” … … … “Ok, anything else?” … … …I’m still sitting here, wiping cabinets and having my ears serenaded by a screaming child throwing a tantrum, while I’m still mentally going over my current state of life. It’s a hot mess….My circumstances didn’t change, but my attitude did. He shifted my focus. When we fully trust our lives to God’s sovereignty, when we trust that his plan and purpose is greater, that is when peace dwells in our hearts.   When peace rules our hearts, the kindness that I so desperately needed to dispense will flow more freely. Compassion. Patience. Verse 12 of chapter 3. Check that. It says to “put on” these things. If we’re clothed in patience, kindness & compassion, it’s a lot easier to share it, isn’t it? It’s readily accessible, not dirty, wadded up in the bottom of the hamper with a few wash cycles to go before it can be used again.

If we jump down to verse 17, we get to chip away more cheerios. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…” It doesn’t matter if I’m at my dream job or scrubbing a toilet. I’m working for Christ, and excellence should be my goal. And I should be doing it with a thankful attitude.  I’m getting to walk into someones home and serve them. What an opportunity to be Jesus to someone, to serve with a happy heart, and joyful, dirty hands.

So here I am. 23, no idea what is going on in my life, other than God is leading me where He wills. Uncomfortable, but much more at peace. Challenge accepted.

So, are you ready to get your hands dirty? Praying for peace in your heart, and the word of Truth to be in your mind.

-Shelby

 

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