A couple of times now in the last few days I’ve woken up with the song Madness, by Hillsong United, playing on repeat in my head. I like the song. I have it on a few playlists. I haven’t though, listened to it recently that I can recall. I once heard someone, (I think it was Annie Downs) say that you should pay attention when you wake up with a song in your head.
So, I asked God what it’s supposed to mean. He reminded me that I bought a book with the very same title-Madness by Jossy Chacko, at the Global Leadership Summit. It’s been sitting in a stack of unread books for the past month, as books often do around here because I buy books like some girls buy shoes. I always buy more than I can handle at any given time.
So I decided to pick up the book and start reading. Already I’m seeing a trend; this book is about lives lived in such a way that in serving God, one is going to look like a mad-man (woman). The other book I had set down and recently picked up again is called ‘Beautiful Mess’ by Danielle Strickland. I had no idea what this book was about, I just assumed it was her life story or something. I basically bought it because I heard her preaching and she was on fi-yah. I was so compelled by her passion that I was eager to read anything she had written. Turns out this book is about embracing Chaos. If you know me, you know that’s my absolute FAVORITE *sarcasm*.
Nonetheless, I’m finding over and over (or maybe re-finding, because I’m pretty sure that God has explained this to me before), that a true life of following Christ is going to involve a degree of madness and chaos that will probably make our skin crawl about 78% of the time. The other 22% will be full of exhilaration and illuminated retrospect, but the majority is going to be majorly upsetting to our control-bent, order-loving, give-me-the-map-or-I’ll-die selves.
From Strickland’s book: “The darkness is real, the climb is treacherous and the conditions are never perfect, but the summit is worth it. The moments when we can see God’s light emerge on all that is our world – where revelation makes some sense of it all – where we can finally see clearly…it’s worth it. It really is.”
If we are going to be the people of light in a world that is crawling with darkness- sex trafficking, a refugee crisis, political corruption, the strong oppressing the weak in a multitude of ways, uncharted sexual confusion, defining whose lives are expendable, the threat of nuclear war-if we are going to be light in these times, we have to let go of the false perception that we can blend in and carry on as usual.
I am such a sucker for a good reputation. I LOVE it when people like me. But what’s that verse again? Yes-“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”-Luke 6:26. Ouch. Those words sting a bit. It appears that if I want to be well-liked, politically correct, culturally relevant, I’m going to have to lie. At least lie to myself. I cannot live the chaotic, beautifully-mad way of Christ if I’m concerned about looking like a smart, capable, tolerant, passive, people-pleaser. They are 100% incongruent.
I also cannot hold onto my comforts. This is SO HARD. In our country we are absolutely bathed in comforts from birth. We are accustomed to having our basic needs met without a ton of effort. Many of us live at a standard that is unreachable for the majority of the world’s population.
But what if God didn’t give us all of this to make us more comfortable? To give us better vacations? To give us a second home? I know this message is so unpopular, because we feel absolutely entitled to what we have “earned”. Yes, earned with all the borrowed gifts of grace; health, a 1st world educational system, a country rife with liberty; I could go on.
What if we are to throw all of that to the wind and ask God what He really has us here for?
Honestly that freaks me out a bit. It’s so unpredictable. I might be uncomfortable. And how do you even do that responsibly when you have kids?
The truth its I have no answers for these questions. What I do know is this; when I let myself get on autopilot, I stop hearing from God, I stop being moved to act in compassion to the people He puts in front of my face, and I start thinking I need more, more, more of everything the world has to offer. I have found over and over that this way of living leaves my soul starved, sad, angry, greedy, and frustrated.
I’m printing this verse off today and taping it up around my house to remind me why I’m here;
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
I’m under no illusion that this kind of living is easy. It will indeed require me to live embracing what feels like utter madness; I will have to become best friends with chaos…but to live any other way is to deny the calling of the One who bought me with His own life for His eternal glory and my eternal joy. I don’t want to miss that.