As we return to our “everyday” in these (supposedly) post-pandemic times, the world’s chaos continues in a dizzying swirl around us, confusing life matters and creating a maze of issues. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we were designed and equipped for such a time as this. We can thrive in chaos.
Fortunately, we have workable strategies and tools to help us — and, dare I say it — actually thrive in the middle of all of it because of all the chaos! In this piece, I’m going to share 3 ironclad strategies and give you a toolbox to help you thrive in chaos:
- Thrive daily — armed with a Big Picture view, we can thrive in chaos
- Find purpose and meaning for your life in these chaotic times.
- Live forward with confidence in the face of the unknown.
Uncertainty permeates daily life as we discover how things have changed during (and now after) our mandated mass hibernation. Emerging from our pandemic pandemonium, reminders popup throughout the day making it clear that life (as we once knew it) is not the same today in this crazy new world ‘order.’
Some changes will be positive, as:
- Surviving businesses implement more efficient operating procedures and better ways to serve customers. They may be more profitable in the long run!
- More attention focused on environmental aspects by assuring healthful conditions, upholding higher hygiene standards, rejecting potentially hazardous or unsafe practices.
- Programs and activities will be changed-up, streamlined with necessary modifications, including only the essentials, eliminating unneeded fluff.
- New ways of doing things may be discovered and implemented, turning out to be “better” and more appropriate than the old ways were anyway!
- Previously-overlooked needs may be uncovered and appropriately addressed with new programs, policies or practices.
Of course there have been (and will be) losses for businesses, people and entities that are not in a position (nor can see ways) to pivot, moving forward in times of economic upheaval. Entrepreneurs characteristically exhibit the ability to turn on a dime (make that a $1,000-dollar bill today), as they implement necessary changes to right their listing ship and stay afloat in the storm.
Chaos impacts life, but life continues
In addition to the changes we personally experience, chaos surrounds us. It fills major city streets with violence, looting and fires. It is witnessed in neighborhoods and shopping malls across America. It’s apparent there is a continual underlying struggle for power and control that is not beneficial to humankind as a whole. Meaningful and necessary efforts to help people transition to a healthy, every day life in these uncertain times are not happening on the scale that are needed.
The chaos surrounding us is compounded by festering personal issues. We know challenging times are part of living. Coming back to “Real Life” after a pandemic shut-down is like throwing everyday life into a blender and then dumping it out, as everyone attempts to figure what work and life are going to be now.
Right out of the gate, I was surprised at ongoing difficulties encountered in pretty much everything (it seemed). Ready as I was (maybe you, too), these obstacles impeded moving forward. Simple things, really. Maybe I was overly optimistic.
Once mandates were dropped and we were green-lighted as ‘ready to go,’ gradually things seemed to get a little easier and a bit freer. Still a the threat of a controlling grip persists. It lurks in the shadows. Its presence reminds all that we could easily return to banishment from our everyday life, at a moment’s notice.
During the pandemic, our family (like many others), continued to live life in this strange, new closed-off world. We found ways to maintain contact with our family and friends. We attended conferences and meetings and school online. We had a wedding. Our niece had a baby. We had a death in our family. We had 2 college graduations, and another begin college. After a lengthy job hunt, one of our family members found a great one and relocated, to begin a new life. I published (and launched!) 2 books. Life went on. It wasn’t easy, but it happened.
When the pandemic craziness began to tone down and we were able to live more freely, I was surprised to discover it may take more time personally, to “get back” into life again. If you feel this way, too — give yourself grace and time.
3 Ironclad strategies to help you thrive in chaos and everyday
Often, the answer to our thriving in chaotic times (or even on blissful days) lies not within ourselves, but rather outside ourselves. As our perspective opens up, we see the world with a wide angle lens. In this way we gain clarity and understanding over our lives and the conditions in the world. We can better discern what we need to do, what we are called to do, and how to serve others, living a more fulfilling, purpose-filled life.
- Thrive daily — no matter what (armed with a Big Picture view) here’s how:
- Spend time in God’s Word (The Bible).
- Pick a Bible study (independent and/or group study).
- Journal: the Word; share personal insights, ideas, dreams, goals.
- Pray often – and about everything! Our heavenly Father wants to hear from you.
- Keep a prayer journal – ongoing, including answers and updates.
- Know God keeps His promises. He will never leave us. He is in this with us.
2. Everyday — find ways to incorporate these learnings into your every day. Applying them adds purpose and meaning to life, creating a firm foundation. Seek to understand what God wants you to do to serve others. Is it:
- A ministry of encouragement?
- Creating art? Music? Performing?
- Mentoring? Counseling? Advising? Consulting?
- Planning events? Organizing events? Serving in events?
- Establishing a ministry? Coordinating a ministry? Running a ministry?
- Being available — ‘free-agenting’ yourself to serve in a variety of ways.
- Catering? Cooking? Serving food?
- What else?
Live forward with confidence. Know these callings are for as long as they are to be and they will serve needs. By our heavenly Father’s design, each of us has purpose in serving in this way. Serving in this way takes us outside of ourselves, beyond our own situations, as we focus on others.
One of the best strategies to thrive is to turn our moments of uncertainty inside out, allowing God to use them for His good! It’s astonishing to see that amidst the tremendous upheaval the pandemic caused, it provided the perfect opportunity for many to find their way back to their loving heavenly Father. New ways to serve in ministry and outreach are being created even now. This is how things work in God’s world — always inverse to man’s ways and view of the world.
Every day offers “ministry” opportunities. No one is required to be associated with an internationally-recognized organization or popular entity to serve God in ministry. (Motherhood is often referred to as a ‘ministry of interruption,’ although I think other ways of serving share this characteristic as well!).
Ministry is serving the needs of others by following His lead. He will provide all that is needed to do the job. God never hands us a “To Do” List and leaves us on our own, to to figure it all out. He stays right there with us and shows us “how.”
3. Dare to ask God the hard questions on your mind, the heavy things burdening your heart. Ask for His guidance, care, presence and tender mercy.
Walk with Jesus every day. No matter your age, skills, or life situation, Accept the urging you feel for the thing He is leading you to do. Even when it seems impossible, He will equip you for it. He always calls the least likely, and reliably shows up in a big way to help!
Here’s a Toolbox to encourage you to thrive in chaos: A 22-Day Scripture Reading List, to read, study, journal – !
Spend time in God’s Word to:
- Renew your mind (Romans 12:2 NIV)
- Refresh your spirit (Job 29:20 CSB)
- Find answers to difficult questions or problems (1 Peter 3:15 CSB)
- Work through life’s hard stuff (Psalm 109:26 TLB)
- Encouragement in times of uncertainty (Joshua 1:9 NASB)
- Inspiration to take the next step (Galations 5:1 NASB)
- Receive a ‘pick-me-up’ after a fall (Psalm 51:12 NIV)
- Strength to push through every day (Isaiah 40:29 TLB)
- Find guidance (Psalm 25:5 NIV)
- Learn how to pray (Matthew 6:5-16 NASB)
- Receive assurance (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
- Understand your purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:12-15 NASB)
- Learn about your relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5: 16-20 MSG)
- Know Jesus is your Best Friend Forever (BFF) (Romans 5:8 CSB)
- Walk with God (Micah 6:8 CSB)
- Gain clarity (Proverbs 8:9 TLB)
- Realizing personal accountability (Proverbs 22: 17-29 MSG)
- Know what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24 TLB)
- Get assurance of God’s immense love for you (Ephesians 3: 18-19 TLB)
- Get a glimpse of heaven (Matthew 6:19 TLB)
- Learn how to really forgive (Matthew 18: 1-35 MSG)
- Find out how to nurture relationships (John 13: 34-35 CSB)
A Final Thought: Chaos is not of God. It’s not what He wants for any of us, but it happens in this world. It can be (and is) used for His good, to further His kingdom. In spite of it all, we can live forward in confidence, wrapped in His love and THRIVE.
I leave you with this:
Scripture shows us what we’re to do:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” ~ Romans 12:1-2 [The Message]
God’s Word assure us — He’s got this:
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:16 [NASB]
RESOURCES: Journalling the Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain and gain clarity. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace, finding forgiveness, and view challenging things in a Biblical perspective as they Journal The Word. We can thrive in chaos! (Paperback and Kindle eBook)
MORE About this book: The Grace Daily Challenge Journal
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