Stopping the Chaos

Stopping the Chaos

March 18, 2024

Here’s a truth that can help the chaos in your life if you take it seriously: Whatever you do not acknowledge and address in your life becomes more dominant and powerful.

Let that sink in for a minute and then think. Hurts, anger, jealousy, pride, arrogance, lying, inferiority feelings, additions to pornography, food, chemical addictions – the list can go on and on. Any of these issues that we do not acknowledge and deal with will wreak havoc in our lives. And then it goes on beyond us. It is destructive to all the lives that our lives touch and the people with whom we are intertwined – our spouses, children, parents, friends, coworkers.

I watch it all the time. I have lived in the same general area all my life and all the way through I have seen and still see people stumbling and getting tripped up by the same issues. Issues that began years back – twenty or more years, ten years, two years ago – and they are the same ones that are causing them to fail today.

It is the same story line over and over. It continues to happen because a person does not take personal responsibility. They continue to marry the same person with different names, move from unsatisfying job to job, they have major stress with different people, diverse groups, but the core is the same.

Whether I acknowledge the problem or not, it is always there. It stares me in the face continually and reminds me that this is yet another personal failure. You cannot fix a problem you refuse to acknowledge.

We can’t fix problems that we sweep under the table or hide to the best of our ability, thinking if we ignore them long enough, they will go away. Problems are sticky. They hang around. And they don’t shrink, they grow when they don’t get the attention they think they deserve.

How can we fix something we refuse to see or acknowledge? We can’t. How do we root out the problems that have been hiding and hurting us for so long?

First, we identify our issues. Finding the problem areas we’ve ignored, hidden, and denied seems like a monumental task. Identifying and bringing them into the light is the very first step in the process of stopping their growth.

Next, we acknowledge it is a problem, and OUR problem. I’ve discovered that some of the most powerful words any of us can say are, “I acknowledge this is a problem.” The admission itself generally brings great relief – sometimes to the person pointing out one of our problem areas, sometimes just to ourselves. When we’ve ignored a problem for a long time, ironically it seems to be the only thing we think about subconsciously. It never goes away.

Then we address it. Stuff happens to us as a child, a young adult, or an adult – it could be verbal abuse, neglect, abandonment. The list could go on and on. We all have things that have happened. Sometimes we make decisions that harm us.

Hebrews 3:12-13 tells us that holding on to those things can lead to an unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. Hurt and disappointment do that with regularity. We get disillusioned with life and that leads to lack of faith in God.

So, the Hebrew writer says for us to encourage each other daily – the word encourage literally means counsel one another daily – so that your hearts are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:12-13 NIV

We not only need to be willing to own our own issues and responsibility, but we also need to have friends and be friends who speak the truth to each other.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda]. Proverbs 27:6 AMP

Do you have anyone in your life who isn’t looking to get something from you? Anyone who is in your life simply because they care about you and not because they need you? Are you that for anyone else? Most people don’t speak the truth to each other because they are afraid of what they might lose. They love the relationship and what it gives them more than they actually love the other person. So, the drama goes on and on. No one speaks the truth. No one owns the problem, and the dysfunction continues.

Or, in some cases, despite the truth being shared, the person is unwilling to hear and take personal responsibility, and they move on to another repeat.

If you recognize the cycle of dysfunction in your life, this is a wake-up call to end it. Remember, anything you don’t acknowledge and address grows in power. Take charge today.