I do not like roller coasters. I look at them and see this mess. I feel like I am in this mess when I have been on a roller coaster. I have felt nauseous and unstable when I have come off a roller coaster. They frighten me to my core!
I found a picture that fit how I felt about roller coasters. I noticed something in the picture. It does not have an ending outside the mess. It has an ending in the middle of chaos, and there is no evidence the boxes would stop there or go off the track completely. I began to think of life in this picture.
Our lives can feel like a roller coaster. Our lives can feel like they will never come out of the chaos, or we feel like our lives will end in the middle of the chaos.
Peace and Joy can be in the middle of the chaos. Peace and Joy can turn the loop-d-loops into a calmer track. The word for Peace is shâlôm, meaning rest, safe and well. The words for joy are chedvâh and chara, meaning rejoicing and calm. The word for Grace is charis. The word for Thanksgiving is Eucharisteo meaning giving thanks in everything.
How can all of that be in the middle of chaos, and turn the chaos into a calmer track? A few quotes from one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, will explain my belief. “Can we really expect joy all the time? I know it well after a day smattered with rowdiness and worn a bit ragged with bickering, that I may feel disappointment and the despair may flood high, but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.” “Only self can kill joy. I’m the only one doing this to me.” “The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy—nothing else.” EUCHARISTEO. Dying to self-demands that I might gratefully and humbly receive the better, the only things that a good God gives. Joy means dying, to follow the Messiah to the table of thanksgiving, or “blessed self-forgiveness”. I can let go. You can let go. “My own wild desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills my joy. Flames need oxygen to light. Flames need a bit of wind. The theology’s putting on skin. All light seen is light from the past and light now old from the sun streams through the window, glints off the glass shards. Broken glass ignites in the light and there it is, the secret of joy’s flame: humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control…let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His allowed trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave your hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee…whisper thanks. The picture below is the line coming out of the chaos.