I like order. I like having organized drawers and folded laundry. I like when all my socks have a pair. I like when all my pencils are facing the same way. I like when all my shirts are hanging the same way. I like when all my dishes are clean at the same time. I like when my binders don’t have mess of papers stashed in the front pocket. I like when my trash can is empty. I like when the color of my notebook matches the color of my binder.
These preferences don’t result from OCD. I don’t think I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think it’s a little more like Obsessive Control Disorder. I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed because messes are present. Rather, I like to rid of disorder because I am overwhelmed in other areas of life. Cleaning and organizing are things I can control. I can control when I do my laundry, vacuum my room, sanitize my desk, make my bed, organize my drawers, etc. I like order, but I like order because I can control it. I like being in charge and feeling responsible. I like feeling accomplished and seeing the work of my hands. I like walking into an organized environment which I have created.
We all like control. When life gets out of control, we tend to wear a mask until it gets torn off our faces, revealing fear, sorrow, pain, anger, addictions, and insecurities beneath. I’m extremely guilty of this. I’m guilty of wearing a mask which tells the world “I’ve got it all together, look at me!” I’m guilty of typing “I’m okay,” feeling torn between wanting the recipient to believe me, but also wanting to be seen. I think some of it comes from not wanting to be a burden to others. Most of it, though, comes from a desire to be seen as strong, capable, and enough.
So right now, I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m just getting by. I’m physically exhausted. I’m emotionally drained. I’m spiritually fatigued. I’m mentally overwhelmed. Tuesday was one of the longest days I’ve had in a long time. I had two exams, two quizzes, and two papers due, a flute lesson, rehearsal, and a large load of work due for Wednesday. I also spent thirty minutes crying on the phone with a friend because of some news I received. I didn’t find time to pray or spend time reading my bible yesterday, and I haven’t in quite a while. I’m overwhelmed. Right now, my desk is sanitized, my laundry is all hanging the same way, the rest of my laundry is all folded (missing two socks), my dishes are done, my trash can is near empty, my floor is vacuumed, and every single drawer is organized. Even my mail drawer. After cleaning and organizing everything, I am yet again reminded I still have no control over life. Cleaning didn’t fix any of my circumstances. It just made everything appear in order.
Isn’t it crazy how fast God can intervene and remind us of our impotence? My friends, we are not in control this life. We do not tell the sun to rise or command the sea to be calm. And sometimes, it’s really hard to accept. It’s hard to accept we are weak, incapable, and living in chaos. In times of confusion, heavy burdens, and long days, it is crucial for us to give our concerns to the one who is in control. It helps to know that God is good (ps. 136:1). He is always good. It also helps to know He promises us His plans are the best plans. He intends to give us a hope and a future (jer. 29:11). Lastly, it helps to know you don’t have to walk alone. You are a child of a God who loves you and promises to go with you through deep waters (isa. 43:2). It’s easier said than done, but we don’t need to be overwhelmed, to fight for control, or to do it all by ourselves. Let go. His arms are open, and He is more than capable of carrying it all. Unlike humans and coping tactics, He doesn’t disappoint. He also loves you. A lot.
In all my years, I’ve never participated in Lent. Last year, I did a devotional each day during the forty days, but I didn’t give up anything aside from time. This year, I’m giving up instagram and snacking, and I’d love for you to keep me accountable for it. I also want to remind you that Lent isn’t a second opportunity for New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a time to create space for God to show up. By giving up things which are of great importance to us, we create room for Him and remind ourselves that He is more deserving than anything else. This year, I’m giving up and expecting to encounter God in new ways. I’m giving Him control over my circumstances and desires. I’m ready to let go.