Chaos: January Pastor Post
Category : Pastor Blog
I am well known by now for not being the most organized or orderly person on the planet. There are those who would love to sweep into my life and organize everything for me, to set up a calendar of meetings and events, to sort out my paperwork and my mess of receipts, and to straighten my office till it looks like no one works in there at all. There are others who simply stand by and shake their heads in bewilderment as they try to understand how I get anything done in the midst of this kind of “mess”.
Through my years of school, marriage, counseling and therapy, and continued introspection and self-analysis, I’ve discovered many things about myself. I know now that I am a certifiable sufferer of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I know also that my brain is gifted to work extremely well in some ways and extremely poorly in other ways. For example, when I am asked to organize a meeting or systematically think through a single task or problem, my brain doesn’t like having only one thing to do. It needs lots of things going on around it for it to be working at its best. For example, when I preach, my brain divides its attention between the words on the tablet where my notes are, the image on the screen on the wall, the facial cues on the people who are in the congregation, the radio story I heard on Wednesday morning that will be my closing illustration, the cultural background in which the passage was written, my own personal struggles that week dealing with the passage, and ultimately the singular point of the sermon that I feel God has led me to be delivering. For some people, this amount of stimulus would be overwhelming, yet for me, with the brain God has seen fit to put in my head, it’s one of the few situations where my entire brain seems to be firing at the same time, a thrilling experience. That’s not to say that I don’t get distracted occasionally in the middle of a sermon or forget a name or location or a story while preaching, but generally speaking, my brain works best in situations like when I deliver a sermon.
But even though I’ve come to some sense of peace when understanding the inner workings of my own brain, I still am quite envious of those who seem to always have everything together, everything in its place, and never an ‘i’ that is missing it’s dot. It hasn’t been uncommon for me in recent years to tell myself on January 1st that THIS year will be different. THIS year, I’ll be more organized. THIS year, I’ll not let my desk be cluttered. THIS year…. And no matter how often I make that resolution, it never happens. My life is never suddenly neat and orderly. And year after year, my poor wife Kyla is always living just on the edge of chaos.
And while I do think some parts of my life could be a tad bit more structured, I’ve also decided that in creating me, God didn’t make a drastic mistake. My brain works perfectly for what God is calling me to do and whatever God calls me to do tomorrow and this summer and next year will fit perfectly for how my brain works. Recently, I started reading a book titled, “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives”. It’s a book that I’m absolutely sure was written solely for me. The author, Tim Harford, points to moments of chaos where incredible breakthroughs are discovered in both science and mathematics and in art and music. Without the chaotic minds working alongside the neat and orderly minds, those solutions, those breakthrough albums, those medical breakthroughs would never have happened.
My challenge for us all this January isn’t to suddenly become messy, chaotic people. I am unendingly thankful for the neat and orderly people around me. Instead I would like for us to see ourselves in the new year as children of God, made perfect for God’s calling. The very thing that makes you unique (and possibly a frustration for someone else) may be a gift to you from God with incredible usefulness and purpose.