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by Mark Driscoll
Ladies, Don’t Compartmentalize God
“Neat” Never Happens
Believing we are in Christ—women of God, created in Christ Jesus for good works—we strive to live lives to love and glorify our God. If Jesus is our treasure, do our lives continually reflect this rich grace? Often, we experience joy and peace as we go about our complex lives, trusting Christ with the details. Other times, we take the reins and figure that actually, we would be better managers of the chaos. So, we try to create order in the mess, happy little compartments that we suppose will bring peace.
But, it isn’t that easy is it?
Our lives aren’t neatly arranged. We try for “neat” and it never happens. Rather, our lives are messy, filled with stacks and piles, chaos, and busyness. Our hearts are full of wandering desires distracting us from Christ, making those good works and loving acts of service sometimes non-existent, or just simply scattered across the disorder of our lives. And, our life stories are broken and complex, never easily understood. So, we limp through life as Christian women searching for “balance” amid the chaos.
She’s Gone Compartmental
Often, our response to the mess is to create compartments in our hearts. We make the lists: house, marriage, kids, extended family, schedules, friends, food, hobbies . . . and Jesus. (Interesting how Jesus gets his own separate compartment.)
Mental compartments give us a sense of order for our overwhelming lives. Our minds daily race through these various categories, either checking our boxes off our lists (or not), gladly tucking devotional and Bible thoughts into that “Jesus” category. Feeling weak and inadequate with what we haven’t gotten done, we wrestle with who we are in the disorderliness. Struggling with hope and feeling condemned by what is lacking, Jesus seems distant, unavailable, and cold. We briefly acknowledge him and get back to work, sure that God will understand our mess.
If we love Jesus, we can relinquish control.
We may have heard that “all of life is worship”. Clueless for how to achieve this, we try to “do more” worshipful thinking and feeling, hoping maybe that if we do more in the Jesus category, it will overflow somehow into the others.
That can’t be it right, can it? Do we think that if we ever “get it all done,” we will have time left over for God?
Our attempt at order by compartmentalizing or controlling our lives, people, and tasks is really a heart issue. We have to ask ourselves what we believe. Do we believe that God is Lord over all, attentive to us in everything? Does he care about the details, the insignificant aspects of our lives? Does Jesus really care about our lawns or laundry?
Worship Is More Than a Song
Handing the reins over to our attentive God (he already has them, anyway) is the first step. We can tenderly acknowledge the propensity to compartmentalize (which isn’t always sinful) and pray for discernment, that we may see our distracted worship, and desperate need for Christ. We need the Holy Spirit to help us (John 14:26) to see how we have pushed God aside in our effort to “do” our lives.
Worship is more than a song or posture. As D.A. Carson says, “Christian worship is the response of God’s redeemed people to his self-revelation that exalts God’s glory in Christ in our minds, affections, and wills, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is that turn of focus from my agenda to his, seeing Christ made great in my thoughts, actions, feelings, etc.—to gaze on him through the details of life.
We Serve—Whatever, Whenever, However
To worship Jesus throughout our stressful, busy days without putting him in some compartment means that we truly see him as Lord over all of it, deeply loving us in the details. Yes, even the mundane tasks of life. Remember, Colossians 3:23–24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
So, whatever, whenever, however we serve, we are serving King Jesus.
Pause for a moment the next time you are doing dishes, reading a board book to your toddler for the 30th time, filling your car up with gas, attending another boring meeting, cleaning toilets, pulling weeds, or lying down for sleep, and think of our God who is with you. He is loving you. His control is trustworthy and safe.
If we love Jesus, we can relinquish control, knowing that our holy, perfect, and attentive God is Lord over all these self-made compartments and gives us his Spirit to demonstrate his wisdom and grace daily. We are invited to live this out, as worship.