When Chaos Stopped Being Beautiful

When I stepped away from what life used to be, I started noticing the rose tinted glasses that had been pushed up on my nose. The constant knots in my stomach, the uncertainty, the tears, the drama, the arguments. That chaos was my world. And well, I thought I needed chaos to feel alive or be happy. It was my lifeline. If life started stabilizing and feeling a little too established and a little too calm, then I geared up and sought out chaos and self-destruction. Through these glasses, I saw madness as a booster. Confusion and disruption fed me and I gobbled it all up.

Certainly people who lived conventional, healthy lives didn’t understand what excitement was. Clearly they were missing out on the constant rush, the racing heart, the unpredictable days. And I would sit and ask myself- “What kind of person would want a life like that?” It was all or nothing, crazy or boring, right or wrong, fantastic or horrible. But I was operating out of a place of brokenness. I was putting my worth in the hands of strangers and danger. I couldn’t love myself, so I wanted to create a life that, from the outside, people would love for me. I thought that meant I needed to always have something go awry in my life. I thought that meant that I couldn’t work a 9-5 job. I couldn’t have a real routine. I couldn’t be “okay.”

I stumbled through life forgetting all about Psalm 37:7- “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” I forgot that sometimes it’s in the utter stillness-when you could hear even a pin drop, that the Lord speaks. As goes the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19… “Then the LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Behold, the LORD is about to pass by.’ And a great and mighty wind tore into the mountains and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still small voice.”

When the Lord speaks, whether it be through a blazing fire or the lowest whisper, is far more of an adventure than any activity I could participate in. I thought that if I stayed busy, I would stay interesting. I thought if I stayed interesting, others would love me. I thought if others loved me, I could maybe love myself. I couldn’t find comfort in the promises of Christ because I was convinced that if I did it my way a little bit longer, everything would be perfect. If I kept stirring the pot, jumping from job to job, finding situations to complain about, and just keep drinking and dating around- I would find my happiness. I just had to keep looking. I told myself that the right man would come along and see me sitting in my pile of homemade confetti, and just sweep me off my feet. And we would enter a world of romantic discord together.

May I be so bold to challenge the infamous quote by Atticus? The quote reads, “It was her chaos that made her beautiful.”

Huh. The dictionary defines chaos as “a state of complete disorder and confusion.” I want to be loved despite my chaos, but I don’t want to be loved because of it. If someone finds my chaos attractive, they need to hold up a mirror to their own face and look inward.

So many people are scared of peace. They are scared of the calm. Maybe it’s because mistakes are more noticeable in the stillness. Maybe because it seems uneventful. Maybe because we are a generation who use people and things to mask our feelings so well, and the fact of the matter is, if we took the time to sit down and let the waters calm, there would be some personal discomfort, unaddressed feelings, and twiddling of thumbs.

Thumbs wouldn’t be twiddling because we are bored. They would be twiddling because all change takes some adjustment. And hey- RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU AREN’T THE BIGGEST FAN OF ADJUSTMENT PHASES.

My chaos didn’t make me beautiful. It made me miserable. It made me feel crazy. It drew me farther and farther from God, and goodness gracious, it attracted the wrong kind of man. Before I made the move to Mississippi, my therapist and I had come to the conclusion that I fed off of chaos. Creator of chaos, it was what I felt gave me purpose. And I was proud of that. I bragged to others that I was just a whirlwind of chaos. When I made the choice to check myself into rehab, I knew the alcohol and relationships had to go, but I identified as a chaotic being- that was “who I was” and I didn’t want that aspect of myself to change. So I got into a romantic relationship IN REHAB, I fought my treatment plan, I broke the rules. I told myself that I had to do it my way, but could still “get healthy” in the process–whatever the heck I thought that meant. It took months. Yes months- for me to finally surrender to the idea that maybe, just maybe, chaos wasn’t beautiful anymore. 

Maybe I didn’t want to identify with chaos anymore. Maybe I didn’t want to keep stirring the pot. Maybe I didn’t want to keep fighting and attracting negative attention. Maybe I was tired. Somewhere in between therapy sessions, conversations with those in recovery, and living life on life’s terms, peace started looking a whole lot more attractive than chaos.

I don’t live a chaotic life today, I live one of peace. Are there moments that seem crazy? Of course- I’m human, right? There are some days while I’m at work that it’s pure chaos and I just want to scream- but I don’t enjoy that anymore. It doesn’t give me the butterflies it used to. I work to bring a solution to the chaos and reintegrate peace.

My romance with chaos has died, and in the process, I truly came alive. 

Oh what an adventure it is living life with Christ. My life isn’t boring. Christ pushes me. My therapist pushes me. My friends push me. I still get to live a bold life. I get to live one of vigor, enthusiasm, and authenticity. I’m not depriving myself of who I am or who I was created to be. No, I’m finally leaning into the life I was intended to live.

My romance with peace is so much healthier-and it treats me so much better than chaos ever did. I’m falling in love with a life that doesn’t have to be full of job hopping, unnecessary drama, pity parties, and dangerous situations. I’m falling in love with a life that includes consistency, devotion, and commitment. And that is what makes me beautiful.

I hear God roar in the fire. I hear Him roar in the stillness. And His voice is just as powerful in both of those moments. Louder doesn’t mean better. Busier doesn’t mean more important.

Take those rose-tinted glasses off and see things for how they really are. You don’t have to hide from reality. You can embrace it. Sit. Breathe. Experience the wild adventure that comes with resting in the arms of Christ.

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