Saturday, February 17, 2007
When life's a Mess
When Life’s a Mess... I wrote part of this a few years ago when my son was going through his most difficult time with drug abuse. This time in his life of course impacted how I performed at work, it impacted the stress we had at home, and well with issues at church at the time, I wasn't able to handle the extra stress from that very well either. My life was a mess.
God/Church..... Religion, Worship, Bible Study, Fellowship, Leadership, Stress.
Family..... Spouse, Children, Relationships, Love, Harmony, Strife, Stress.
Work..... Boss, Supervisor, Performance, Co-Workers, Relationships, Drudge, Stress.
These three areas are the most influential areas of our lives and where we are impacted the greatest. We spend most of our time in these three areas of our life.
If all three areas are going well, then we are happy and full of joy. We are confident in ourselves and feel we can tackle the world. Things are going great and we feel good.
If two of the areas are going well, and one is not, then we take comfort in the other two areas. We feel some stress and or failures to some degree in the one, but it doesn't overwhelm us because we have the safety and security that we feel in the other two areas to help us get through what ever it is that weighs on us.
If only one of the areas is going well and two are not going well we are feeling stressed out. This leaves only one area to get comfort and security from. We find ourselves avoiding or less interested in the two that hurt us and we want to hide in the safety of the one area that makes us feel good about ourselves.
But what happens if all three are a mess? We are at risk. Where do we go for help? Our world is falling apart and we don’t know where to turn.
One evening several years ago I had the opportunity to preach the Sunday evening service. I preached about the effects of these three areas in our life and I applied Scripture to help us get ourselves through these difficult times that most everyone goes through. My answer of course was to focus on God! To start with that one area first because the other areas won’t improve or get better if we don’t seek first the Kingdom of God. He must be our focus and so often we lose our focus on Christ when things are such a mess. We only see the present circumstances and were blind to seeing our way out. Things appear hopeless to us and were in a fog of pain and suffering that we just can’t see our way out of. By focusing on God we are realizing that we can’t get out of this mess on our own and we start to seek His direction and will in our lives and that’s when we see improvement in these areas that we are struggling in. The message was well received and I felt that it was a good lesson for all of us that night.
Now that a couple of years had passed I found myself in the very situation that I preached on a few years back. You see, at the time I preached this message I was feeling pretty good. These three areas were going well in my life and I felt pretty much like I described when all three areas are going well. Since then, my life has been through some great trials and tribulations that have allowed me to find myself with all three of these areas a mess not too long ago. Oh, not to the point that I was about to lose my job, and not to the point that my family was falling apart, although I did feel like I was losing my son and the stress this created for our family was incredible. Also not to the point that I was going to quit going to Church. But I was weak and hurting and tired of life because these three areas were not going as well as I’d dreamed or hoped they would. There was trouble in Church, trouble at home, and trouble at work........No Safe place anymore. I’d realized another very important part of the lesson that I didn’t know then that I know now. I made a mistake in my first sermon. Hang on, because you may not have seen it either. I made the mistake of grouping God in with the church and religion area! I know what you are thinking..., Isn't God about religion? Isn't God tied to the Church?. Let me explain where I made my mistake.
Without going into much detail, I found myself frustrated with God as I became frustrated with my church. As I saw gossip, arguing and complaining about church leadership, worship style, music, visions, etc. I found myself upset with God as well. By my grouping Him in this category of my life I became disappointed in God and this greatly affected my relationship with Jesus. I found it difficult to read my bible anymore. Praying became something I just didn’t want to do anymore. I was confused and frustrated with my little faith. Oh what a mistake I made, and I suffered for a couple of years with this mistake until I finally realized this truth...... God is His own category and it’s above all else. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it! Of course I already knew this, but I did what so many other people have done over the many years of Christianity. I tried to put God in my little box of my limited understanding. And I made the mistake of thinking that Church was the place where God was or should be. I guess somehow I convinced myself that of all the areas in my life that church would be the most Godly and when it wasn’t, I thought less of God. Dear Lord forgive me for this!
I began to remember times in the bible when Jesus was sick and tired of the way the Pharisees did church. He rebuked the religious leaders of the church just as much if not more than anyone in the bible. Why? Because the religious leaders were all about appearances and formalities and traditions and legalistic rules and regulations that they deemed necessary to be a part of their idea of the body of Christ. And this disgusted Jesus and He rebuked them.
So I still say there are three main areas that affect most of the time in our lives, they are...
CHURCH and all that goes with it.
FAMILY and all that goes with it.
WORK and all that goes with it.
We still feel stressed as each of these areas become more and more of a mess, but there is hope! Focus on the One who knows how to make it better. Allow God to work through us so we can impact these areas of our lives as God sees necessary.
When I finally realized that God is not grouped in with anything else. It became easier to focus on Him and His truth and will in my life. God’s not to blame for issues that happen in any area of my life. He loves me and wants me to be happy and have His best for me because He loves me so much. By focusing on Jesus, He has the ability to improve all areas at once. All things become better when we see through His eyes and feel through His heart. These three areas of our lives may never be what we dreamed or imagine they should be in our minds, but with Gods help and understanding we are thankful for what we do have and what it is and can become when we allow God to transform us and therefore transform the situations in our lives.
So when your world starts to fall apart and things seem out of control... remember this. With God you have hope in the situation. Focus on Him. Don't group Him in with your problems, but instead realize that He's the way out. Focus less on your circumstances and more on Christ and being obedient to His will for your life. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to have abundant life! Satan's the culprit for the mess in your life, so if your going to overcome, then you must have the power that can defeat Satan. God is the answer and He alone can win your battles for you. Surrender to Him and watch what happens. Suddenly the issues in your Church are better (because God has given you peace and wisdom to see where you can help.) Suddenly your place of work becomes better as God gives you the strength to endure your relationship with your boss and He even gives you the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of those you work with. Your performance increases and you become more efective as you work for the Lord rather than man. Then suddenly your time at home becomes quality time and a loving time as we are able to spend time together working through whatever it is that tears us apart. Whether it's our children and their struggles or maybe it's our relationships with our spouse. Whatever it is, with God's love working through us, it can improve and become better. So rather than trying to fix your Church life, your work life, and your home life,... FIX your relationship with Christ first and then your life has a chance to fall back into place.
The secret... is in knowing that you can't fix your life, God can. I don't know if most men are like me, but I have the desire to fix problems when they come up. I want to take care of it, fix it, make it right. And when I can't, I feel sick, and worthless, and like I've failed. But now I know that God never intended for me to place that kind of responsibility on my shoulders. He wants me to trust and lean on Him and allow Him to lead me through the storms of my life. I thank the Lord that I've realized that I'm not the God of my life... He is.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for helping me to understand that You are above all my problems. That any area in my life can improve when You are in control. Lord forgive me when I think I can be strong, when I think I can fix the messes I create on my own. Lord you constantly allow me to get myself into situations so that I can be reminded that on my own, without Your guidance and direction, I can quickly make a mess of my life. Thank You Lord, that You love me and want the best for me. May I always stay focused on you so that these three main areas of my life can be the joy for me that I know You want them to be. May You bless our Churchs, our places of work, and our familes at home. Thank you Lord. Amen.