Sacred Chaos

I don’t like to sit still. I like to be doing multiple things at once. I find it tedious to sit and listen for long periods of time, and prefer to fidget or always be doing something (even if it’s biting my fingernails, playing with my hair, or doodling.)

Right now, I’m writing this post, playing Settlers of Catan, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, checking facebook, and updating my Sunday School Teacher Schedule for the fall.

Since I graduated high school eleven years ago, I have either worked full time or gone to school full time or both. I just wrapped up my busiest summer of ministry ever.

It seems that everyone these days describes their lives as “chaotic” or “busy.” When it comes to practicing our faith, and especially the Spiritual Disciplines of prayer, study, fasting, or meditation, we ALL often wonder, “when would I have TIME for that?”

For years I tried to write in a journal as a spiritual discipline, but I would get bored with it after a short period of time (translation: six-ten months lapse of writing). I tried the whole “read through the Bible in a year” thing, but would stop around 2 Chronicles. I would start “saying my prayers” at bedtime, but fell asleep most of the time somewhere in the middle of them. I would often feel guilty or discouraged, like I was failing at being a good Christian and displeasing God.

Lately I’ve been re-reading this book called Sacred Chaos: Spiritual Disciplines For the Life You Have, by Tricia McCary Rhodes and I love how the first chapter challenges readers to let go of their ideas of what it means to spend time with God. She says that it doesn’t have to be a set time or length of time each day or any particular method, and even tells those who think they have a “fairly consistent” routine to stop for a few days and look for “fresh ways to connect with [God].” (p.22)

When I hear people talk about not having time to spend with God, or to hang out with friends, or to develop their spousal/partner relationship, my heart breaks at how the church has failed to connect people with God.

Where did this idea come from that you have to carve out thirty minutes to an hour a day to spend with God? Don’t we believe that God is everywhere, all the time?

In Sacred Chaos, Rhodes distinguishes chronos time (measurable units of time, like hours/minutes/days) from kairos time (“a window of opportunity to be seized,” (p.30) where something special happens). She challenges readers to focus not on how MUCH time (chronos) they spend with God, but rather the quality of time (kairos) they spend with God.  During a busy time in her life where spending chronos time with God was “impossible,” she said that God provided her with a “fresh awareness of [God’s] presence throughout [her] day.” (p.30)

Bottom line: I believe God is everywhere, all the time. God’s Spirit is with us in ways that we cannot understand or explain. What if, instead of carving out time to sit in God’s presence, we lived each day, each moment, with an awareness of God’s presence with us.

My partner and I walked our usual 2-3 miles this morning with our dogs and saw the sun rising behind some buildings. We were drawn to the sunrise like a magnet, God’s glorious beauty shining through every part of the sky…. We followed the Spirit’s leading and were open to God’s presence in that moment.

In the midst of whatever chaos you are dealing with, open your senses to the divine presence around you. In the sunrise, in the squirrels playing, in the mounds of paperwork on your desk, in your errands, even in the crowded grocery store or in stop&go traffic…feel the comfort and beauty of God’s presence and be in awe of how the Spirit of God moves in and through all of creation to bring light and life to all.

God is in the chaos.

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