After opening my eyes to feelings of anxiety this morning, I was like, “What the heck? This isn’t me.. What’s up, God?” Waiting for His answer, I stared out over the landscape of my bedroom. My pulse quickened with embarrassment upon noticing the overwhelming mountainous mess. This past month of travel and transition cultivated bad habits, leading to “I’ll deal with this later” and shoving items into bags or drawers or piles. If I needed quick access to something, I just shifted piles around like puzzle pieces. I told myself it was organized chaos: I know where everything is even if it looks like an explosion. This only worsened as guests would come on short notice, causing me to hide messes from other parts of my house by throwing them into my room and closing the door.
The problem is, a mess hidden from view is still a mess, organized chaos is still chaos, and it’s a horrible waste of time trying to bring order to something that, by very definition, lacks order.
A knock on the door interrupted my pondering. The landlord’s repairman had finally come to knock out my list. “Oh no,” I thought with dread. “He will have to go into my room! The mess will be revealed! This can’t happen!” I briefly considered shoving the whole mess into a giant pile – some bare floor space might make it look at least a little better? No, I’d lose any semblance of organization I still have going for me. “Well, maybe I’ll just tell him to come back?” No, I had been waiting a week already and the repairs were necessary as they were beginning to effect my ability to function in the space and host guests comfortably. I was going to have to let him into my room, in all it’s mountainous glory – I hung my head, avoided eye contact, and muttered excuses about having been traveling, whatever.
Noticing my posture and panic, it struck me: I no longer live in shame, and nothing gets to allow it back into my life. So then why was I responding this way? He’s just a guy trying to help improve my living conditions, and I seriously doubt he cares what my room looks like. In fact, he’s probably seen worse!
Right then, God showed me that my internal world looks a little like my bedroom right now: I’ve been so busy meeting people, serving others in crisis, and rushing around that all my personal messes have just been piling up in the bedroom of my chest. The places people get to see have been swept clean, leaving the secret, quiet place cluttered – there can be no real rest in a cluttered nest. I’ve been asking God many questions and waiting on Him for some major life decisions to be made, but how can He do that if it’s all been piling up behind a closed door to a room that I am too embarrassed and busy to open? Behind that door, so many moments needing to be processed and put away properly have been tossed into the “later” pile. And this was ok for a time, but my anxiety is flagging that we’ve hit max capacity.
Ready or not, it’s time to slow down, open the door, let Jesus into the mess, and deal with everything…shoe by shoe, paper by paper, pile by pile.
But isn’t it so good to know that He’s patient with our processes? Where we are content to sleep in squalor and step through mess, God says we were made for more. Yet, He won’t force the door open until we’re ready – He’ll just stand there and knock, tool belt at the ready. If we allow the resulting panic or embarrassment to be indicators and immediately ask Him what needs to be done, shame and anxiety are denied a place to take root.
Because I let the Lord’s Repairman (wink wink) in this morning, my heater is now breathing warmth back into my halls, I will not be trapped in my room again by the broken doorknob that kept falling off, and my fire alarms will sound and save me from fiery peril. What’s more, he noticed some cosmetic issues with my car that I’d just accepted as permanent and fixed them on his way out. BONUS! What would God withhold from us, His precious kids, if only we’d give him the permission? He always does more than we could ever ask or hope for because He never settles for less than everything His Son died to give us, even if we do.
P.S. He never leaves us in serious mode very long – Joy always comes in the morning. After setting things right, He sang this perfect little reminder to me and invited my heart to join in by making an incredible video…I’ve been dancing the anxiety away! Enjoy: