Managing the Chaos

There was a moment this past weekend where I felt thrown into total chaos. There were about 15 people crammed into my kitchen, a 90-lb dog and a puppy, and 6 of those 15 people where children 10 and under. My kitchen is not big. The dogs were playing and barking, the children were shrieking and running and asking all the adults a barrage of questions all while the adults were trying to set food out for the meal we were about to partake together. One dog yelped suddenly and our dog started peeing all over the floor. We all tried to avoid the pee, avoid the dogs, usher the offending dog (mine) out of the house and clean up the mess in the midst of all that was already going on.

In short, it was chaos.

I laid in bed that night just wiped out completely.

My life has those moments of chaos a lot. I’m grateful that this time it was just the family who witnessed the chaos and thus, shared in it together.

Usually my first response emotionally to chaos is shame. I’m not sure why I feel guilty that I couldn’t keep everything together, I feel like I should have planned better, directed better, parented better or something along those lines. Sometimes that shame is this weight that forces my heart to sink into a place where I feel like an overwhelming failure.

It’s a deep hole to climb out of when I feel that way.

But what I long for as the answer is a way to speak life into moments of chaos. I long to redeem them. I long to breath in and out God’s spirit and be loaded up with grace and peace in those moments. It’s such a stark contrast from reality.

Somehow there has to be a way to forgive myself, to let it go, to remind myself that life has moments of utter chaos and to find a way to laugh about it. Why can’t I just laugh and admit that the moment is utter chaos?

Today at Costco I witnessed a mini-chaos moment another mom was having: She had a baby in a front carrier and two young children 3/4 year olds it looked like. She was in the cafe navigating her cart and her children. She handed the kids their lunch and began passing out napkins all while managing the squirmy baby on her chest and the people all crowded around. At one point her son LOST. IT. because there was a tiny hole in one of his napkins. I mean he lost it. And I just wanted to go and hug her. Because isn’t that the way it goes my sister?

I long for grace and compassion to be demonstrated to me in overwhelming moments. I long to have the grace to extend it to others in the midst of experiencing it myself.

Maybe one day I will be able to just let it all go. <cue music>To stand there and laugh at the insanity. To hug my fellow parent/friend as they experience their own chaos.

As you are out this summer and you see someone else in a moment of personal chaos, please don’t stare, roll your eyes, shake your head or say something nasty. Approach them and ask if you can help! Be a blessing and pass it on.

Talking to Your Cheering Section

I read this book recently by Brene Brown, Daring Greatly. The book was so personally challenging to me. I wish I had some fabulous sentence I could form describing why specifically, but I’m just wading through it like a sponge already full of water; I can’t take more on ’til I let a little out.

Brene Brown is probably the most quotable woman to me these days. She drops these nuggets of truth all over the place! For example,

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Chew on that for a bit…

The nugget of truth I’m currently wrestling with from her book (Daring Greatly) is about how important it is to tell the people you love what you need. Clearly. Bravely.

For some reason this was monumental to me. It hit me with the challenge of receiving the love those people offer me and growing the love I have for them. It just made so much sense to me to think that if I can’t tell the people who already love me what I need and be vulnerable with my needs, then I have so many other issues going on. Obviously the people who love you are FOR you and on your side. It’s like your own cheering section in life. We should all be able to tell our cheering section what will keep us going.

It got me thinking about something I’ve said to my husband for years (and how funny it is that I didn’t take my own advice); I used to tell him early on that I can’t read his mind and I need him to call an audible. If he’s the quarterback and I’m in the huddle and don’t hear the play he calls, I’ll mess it all up. So I need him to tell me.

There I was telling the love of my life I wanted him to tell me what he needed, but I didn’t realize how much I needed to take my own advice.  Sheesh!

While I know I’m a people-pleaser, and while I know I am also verbal and loudly opinionated, telling the people I love what I need is really hard for me. Harder than I realized. So I’m on a quest to be brave and courageous and to let my cheering section know what’s going to keep me going.

I want to be there for them so can I let them be there for me? Guess I better speak up!