I doesn’t matter who you are, there’s just something about a clean room. You walk in and your heart is at ease. You breathe deep with genuine satisfaction, for everything is complete. Your carpet is vacuumed, your shades are dusted, your bed is made, and all your clothes are hung up. Haaaaah…the long awaited exhale of order – it’s deeply satisfying.

The past two months of my life have been rather challenging. Through post-eating disorder thoughts, the desire to fully control my time, and random spouts of insecurity, I have seen how un-together I am. I am learning, in some areas quicker than others, that when I try to control things, they get out of hand, for my solution is rarely the right one. When I try to create my own way of ordering things, they often times end up chaotic. I pile on one thing after the other until WHAM! I’m lost in it. My room (my heart that is) gets messy.

I believe we were created to be in order. If God made our hearts, our bodies, and the world in which we live, it would make sense that he knows how they best work together. On a WAY smaller scale, it’s almost like a software developer who knows the ins and outs of the program he developed. He knows what things work well with other things and what it takes to make everything run properly. He knows what commands will cause disaster and what commands will cause success. How? Because he created it, and He knows it that well. He purposed the program to run smoothly, and he created a way in which that could happen. The program wont be successful unless it runs as it should.

If God created us for a specific purpose, or plan, He must have created a way in which we were to complete, or pursue, it. I don’t believe that God just placed us here with the hope that we would do what we want, when we wanted to. (If that were the case, I’d have to question God. I mean, C’mon! Creating man for nothing…that just seems like a waste of time.) I believe He placed us here to follow him – to be in order with Him – so that through us He could do miraculous things that would further His glory and kingdom.

The other morning, I woke up with intense anxiety. As I got ready for work, my mind raced with all sorts of thoughts about my paycheck, how much I had spent over the past month, and how much I needed to get through the month. In order to put the internal angst to death, I speed-walked over to my computer and looked up my bank statement. After assuring myself that I was okay, I checked out all of the things I had bought that month. Food, clothes, movie tickets, gum, iTunes songs, and finally, there, tucked into a long list of items, was the amount I had given to causes beyond myself. I felt the sense of security leave me, and again, I felt a lack of peace when it came to my checkbook. Something just felt wrong. Something felt out of line.

Another story hits me…

A few weeks ago I was sitting across the table with a dear friend of mine. As the surface-level ‘catch-up’ conversation started to fade out and the chips in our bowl started to deplete, tears began to flow. As I looked at my friend crying, it was obvious that something was ‘off.’ This time it was in her current relationship. Confusion, worry, doubt, anxiety, unrest, the battle for control, hopelessness, self-blame, and sorrow spilled out. Something was out of sync.

The list goes on and on. A father abandons his wife and child – disorder. A sister betrays her sister by sleeping with her sister’s husband – disorder. A savvy businessman invests his life building an empire but never spends a single day at his child’s soccer game – disorder. Kids get bullied – you guessed it…disorder.

As I mentioned above, I’m no stranger to disorder. Whether it be pride leading me to embarrassment, a improper view of money, or placing my hope in what others think of me, I’ve felt the lack of harmony that comes with living my life out of order. If I were honest with you, I’d let you know that I somewhat feel it now as I struggle with re-learning how to have a healthy view of food. I continually feel the ‘old order’ (the order that wants to control everything I eat so that I can maintain a certain waist size) fighting for my heart, but that’s my woman-made order, and I must learn to let go of the reigns it has on my life. I desire the freedom that only He can bring.

I was listening to a podcast today, and the speaker said something that resonated with me. She said, “Obedience (order) breeds peace; disobedience (disorder) breeds chaos.” So true.

If I believe I was created by the God of the Bible (which I do), then I must believe that I was created in His image. In this, I must believe He knows best how I ought to live, for He created the world in which I walk. Didn’t He? His words weren’t given to me just to read and throw aside. They are, in fact, the means by which I which I am to live. He created to be inline with Him. When I’m not, when I’m out of sync, and I feel it because it’s a result of me living life apart from Him, my creator.

Isaiah 26:3 reads, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you.”

Much like my room, I need order in my heart. I need everything to be in line, and the only way that can happen is by seeking God, the one who gives me life. In seeking Him, I find out what He has to say about where I am. I must humbly allow Him to align my heart with His, even if it doesn’t make sense or is painful for me. This brings order, and order brings peace. Refreshing.

One Thing is Needed.

I had one of those exhaling moments this morning. Do you know what I’m talking about?

It’s almost as if your brain forgets how to multi-task, and you are where you are fully. For a moment, your to-do list fails to exist and the day ahead of you no longerfights for your attention. You are fully present.

“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre & Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ […] He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread & toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’”- Matthew 15:21&22, 26&27

The woman was desperate for Jesus. She recognized her deep need for Him, and longed for a small taste, just crumbs, of him. At this moment, she didn’t care that the Jews surrounding her could have her labeled as an enemy and potential threat to their holiness. All she cared about was getting a taste of Jesus.

In Luke 10:38 – 42, Jesus walks into the house of Mary and Martha. In response to his presence, Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said, but Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

Martha was busy. She sought to please Jesus through good deeds done; however, her heart was not in the position of humility and worship. Martha was busy trying to impress. She stirred the pot, swept the floor, got out the fine china, and prepared the table. Her feet hurried around the kitchen and her brow broke a sweat. And she did so alone…

“[Martha] came to [Jesus] and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

What was Jesus’ response?

“’Martha, Martha,”’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

Only one thing was needed, and that was to humbly sit at the feet of Jesus listening to what he had to say. Getting to know Him.

Although these stories to many of us are age-old lessons, they both struck a fresh cord with me this morning.

In both of these stories, the woman begging for crumbs and Mary and Martha, I see just how desperate people are for Jesus.

Just like Martha, I get caught up in doing – in striving. I get distracted. I strive for approval of man, and I get lost in it. You see, I care about what you think of me, though I shouldn’t. Sometimes, I even spend money I shouldn’t spend just so you and others think I’m ‘cute.’ I even go as far as contemplating what I’m going to say next in a conversation with you, even though you’re talking, because I don’t want to disappoint you with my response.

I’m missing the point.

Jesus said only one thing was needed – and that was to be desperate for him. All else fades away. People’s opinions and all we’re doing to gain positive ones all fall away in light of the fact that He is the giver of life.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Jesus was the only one thing was needed…and He still is.

Lord, may I desperately sit at your feet today. May I not thirst for the praise of men or their approval of me. May I desperately run to you.

The Cake That Makes Me Sick

Last night, I ate 2 pieces of cake and pistachio ice cream. I know, there’s no point in me telling anyone this information, but I learned an important lesson: What I think I want, sometimes isn’t what I need.

In Numbers 11, the Israelites had been provided for. God had sent Manna, in abundance, in a supernatural way to meet the needs of His people; however, they were far from satisfied. They wanted fish, garlic, melon, leeks, onions and cucumbers. They had a grocery lists of requests – and they wailed to make it known (vs.10).
If I think about it, this sounds like me sometimes.
Instead of looking at what I have and praising the Lord for where He has my heart, I choose to focus on where I want to be – where I think I need to be. I begin to supplement my life with the things I think will get me there – the things I think I need. Maybe it’s a life that’s lived at a tragically fast pace. Maybe it’s a relationship or a certain job. Whatever it is, I become so focused on “my need” that I begin to convince myself that it’s God’s will for that era of my life. I begin to manipulate my path to bring it about.
“The Lord heard you when you wailed, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!’ Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, of five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month – until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it – because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt'” (Numbers 11: 18-20)?
When the Israelites were in slavery, His response was freedom. When they had to travel to the land set aside for them, God led them down a path that would be less tempting for them. When they were thirsty in the desert, the Lord caused water to rush out of a rock – and when they became hungry, He provided food from the sky…
And when the Israelites decided they needed something more, He gave it to them.
Perhaps it was so they could see that what they thought they needed was, in fact, not what they needed at all.
My stomach hurt this morning and as I walked around my house gathering my stuff for the day. I regretted eating that second piece of cake. As my stomach mumbled and grumbled, I thought about the consequences of my actions. Although, it looked good, and tasted great, it was not what I needed. I wanted it and I partook of it, but it made me sick.
I can manipulate my life to be where I think I need to be. I can even try to run through life a little faster than the Lord wants me to. However, as I manipulate the path (and walk in a way the Lord doesn’t want me to), I miss out on some amazing things He wants to show me along the way.
He knows what I need and when I need it.
Although there are times I wish I could be elsewhere, experiencing different things, it must not be what I need – or even what’s good for me at that moment.
The question I have to ask myself is this: Is what the Lord wants for my life what I want for my life? If my answer is “yes,” then I have one choice – and that’s to follow His lead, knowing that when I stumble, He’ll invite me to follow Him, once again. If my answer is “no” then I need to step back and realize that He’s God regardless of what I think, how I act, or what I say – and that’s a fact I’ve got to deal with.
I don’t want to eat cake that’s going to make me sick. I want to eat cake that brings me life. I want to open my mouth to His provisions with a heart that trusts He knows what I need and when I need it.
When I get in the way, I end up sick.