A few weeks ago, I entered the kitchen to get a cup of milk for each of my two young daughters. They were waiting for me in their beds, nearly ready to sleep for the night – or so I was hoping. Suddenly, I noticed some movement on the white tiled counter. Ants. And not just a couple of them but a long trail of busy, black ants. I followed their path over to the far side of the kitchen where they were disappearing into a tiny hole in the counter. I stepped back and decided to return to my original task of the cups of milk. The ants would have to wait until tomorrow for me to deal with them.
In every house I’ve called home in Thailand, there have always been ant problems. For this reason, we (initially my roommates and I, but now my husband and I and our children) have always limited any food to the dining room and the kitchen. The ants don’t need us to generously bring them crumbs and spills to other areas of our house – they’ll go there on their own anyhow! We also need to have our house helper or a friend keep an eye out for ant invasions when we go away for vacation or return to Canada for Home Assignment. Ants like unlived spaces even more than places invaded by humans. The last thing we’ve had to do over the years is to simply accept that the ants would never go away completely and that we would have to learn to live with them. Those ants in the bathroom? Sure. You can stay there guys. The ants traipsing across the steps of our front porch? Well, just don’t cross the threshold into the house, okay? Okay?
I desire to be used by God but that also means I need to follow God in whichever direction He leads. Does this mean that I must embrace an element of chaos if I want to follow Jesus?
I think that embracing the chaos can look different for everyone, and, it may not be the challenge that God is asking you to embrace. My husband and I are nearly totally opposite people – for him, embracing chaos is exciting (or normal – because what’s chaotic for me is not for him since he is Thai and this is his home culture!) and he enjoys the challenge. For me, I am a natural homebody (which is quite ironic considering how the Lord has called me to be involved in Kingdom building) and I like to plan things so I know what to expect. Accepting the unexpected opens the door for both potential failure and success.
The ants in my kitchen represent something stressful and unmanageable. They are unpredictable and potentially destructive. They are my storm, whereas a clean, antless house would be my calm. But if I let the ants blow me down, increase my stress and invade my peace, what will that mean for bigger life challenges? Sickness? Death? Loss or disappointment of any kind?
No, as the Lord is leading me, I must embrace a portion of chaos and ask the Lord what He wants me to look for, listen for and learn in the process. Because stepping out of the boat to walk on water to Jesus? It’s only possible if I first step out of the boat.
What is the Lord inviting you to embrace in this season?