Today, I have the privilege of hosting Andrew Budek-Schmeisser. We’ve crossed paths in the blogosphere many times. His blog comments often challenge me to think outside the box. He has a unique perspective on life. I have a lot of respect for him. When he shared his comments on last week’s blog, I was intrigued and asked him to guest post today. Please welcome Andrew!
Masters of Chaos by Andrew Budek-Schmeisser
Chaos is a part of being human. So is overcoming it.
The first step in riding through a chaotic time is to recognize what chaos does. Turning it into an acronym may help…
C – confusion
H – helplessness
A – anxiety
O – overwhelmed
S – sadness
Chaos is, first and foremost, confusing. It takes your normal routine and turns it on its head. Think back to grade school – remember the fire drills they occasionally pulled? While they were a fun way to get out of class, that first moment,when the bell went was an introduction to chaos.
That’s why they have drills – so that you’ll know what to do when the bell rings.
Chaos can leave you feeling helpless. It’s like a terrier shaking a rat – life has grabbed you in its jaws and it seems so large and powerful that nothing you do will make a bit of difference.
Anxiety naturally grows out of chaos, because you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. You project forward into a future that’s unreadable because the normal signposts are gone – and you assume the worst.
It leaves you feeling overwhelmed, because chaotic events enjoy company – they rarely come alone. Things will start to fall apart in series or parallel, and you want to cry ‘enough’.
And finally there’s sadness, a strength-and-initiative-sapping melancholy that comes because it seems that things simply can’t be set right again.
Knowing your enemy is half the battle. So, how do we fight back? Let’s turn the acronym on its head.
C – courage
H – hope
A – aggressive action
O – optimism
S – serenity
Courage is vital, because you’re dealing with an enemy that wants to win by undermining your character, and thus, your effectiveness.
You can build courage, so that you have it ‘in the bank’ when chaos comes to call. It’s simple – do what you fear when you can. This may be standing on the roof and looking down, or jumping off the high board at the local YMCA pool. Courage is a choice, and it’s a choice that you have to keep in trim through exercise.
Hope is the vision to the future that says things will get better. Hope animates us.
In the action-thriller The Rock, Sean Connery says that he survived indefinite imprisonment by “nurturing the hope that there was hope that one day I’d breathe free air”.
You don’t have to start with much. Just a mustard seed.
When things get pear-shaped in life, you need to look for avenues of aggressive action. Chaos won’t cure itself.
And never second-guess. Once you make a decision, don’t change it.
You can train for this, too, by making a choice to be decisive. Make decisions quickly, and stick with them. Start with simple things – like coffee at Starbucks. Get in the habit of aggressive action.
Optimism is related to hope, but it’s more immediate. Learn to talk optimistically – work toward never letting a negative or pessimistic word pass your lips. As a man speaketh, so is he – so speak positive. Practice now, so, again, you’re in the habit.
Finally, serenity will take you places where nervousness never will. Remember, “trouble came to pass, but nowhere is it written that is came to stay”.
Serenity keeps you from running over an emotional cliff. It lets your heart back off, and your logical head step to the plate to take the incoming pitches – the illegal spitballs that chaos-the-pitcher throws.
Dealing successfully with an uncertain and chaotic world is possible – you can not only survive, but thrive! There are time-proven methods, and all you have to do is start making them part of your life now. Build on a solid foundation, so when the storm comes – your house will stand!
What about you? What methods do you use when chaos appears in your life? What Scripture do you find helpful?
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser runs a dog sanctuary called Howlin’ Paws where he and his wife give unwanted dogs a second chance at being loved. He blogs at Blessed are the Pure of Heart.