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Chaos and Demands By Andrea Leigh Capuyan

The Stronghold of Chaos and Demands

Chaos and havoc can give birth to unhealthy demands and strategies which rupture relationships. These commitments impair us. Sometimes the strategies are so ingrained and so powerful that we are unaware of their influence. We fail to see the harm and devastation they cause us and others. It is fascinating that chaotic events expose the real chaos that’s been hiding inside of us.

Ironically, it is during times of upheaval God makes known to us all our hidden motivations. He brings understanding, allowing us to see what He sees. He brings change, inviting us to release demands which continue to wound us.

Allison’s Story

It was impossible to prepare Alison for that evening with her parents. An unusual event in itself, her father asked her to join him at the dining room table. He proceeded to explain that he’d been having an affair, resulting in an assault allegation against him from the woman in this relationship. Her father says he is only sharing this with Alison because he is concerned she will hear rumors from friends at school. The confusing conversation ends and Alison walks into the kitchen where her mother is standing at the stove preparing dinner. Alison looks at her mother and asks, “What is happening?” Through tight lips her mother whispers, “Your father has been very stupid.” And that’s it.

Allison keeps cooking dinner. And with a million questions and thoughts swirling in her head, standing there in this storm, she begins forming a few singular, unspoken vows to make sense of her world. Looking at her mother’s blank face, she begins making several pledges to herself in an effort to stop this madness from ever happening again. Unconsciously she starts making a plan to save herself from the pain and chaos surrounding her.

Sadly, Alison’s story is familiar. It powerfully demonstrates that pivotal relationships and experiences shape core beliefs that impact all parts of life. Rarely can we simply move past these events without lasting consequence. These unspoken commitments bleed into all areas of life – faith, family, work, and ministry. We are on a search to manage the chaos and avoid the pain.

God Brings Order to Chaos

From Alison’s story, I notice two responses that seem “normal” and common. While understandable they undermine our relationship with God and others. I see these responses in my own life and perhaps you see these in your life too.

There is hope for personal transformation when we invite God to reveal these personal vows which rule our lives. Left unexamined we remain blind to the chaos and the power of lies. Often the very pain we are fighting to escape we will repeat time and time again in life. OUCH! It is when we pause and reflect and respond to God’s stirring that something can shift.

A Demand for Control

When the world seems upside down and unpredictable, a desire for order is normal. The problem becomes when our desire becomes a demand for control. We commit ourselves to self-sufficiency. Our obsession for control robs others of mutual responsibility. It inhibits growth and partnership. We become arrogant, unapproachable, and resistance to the movement of God. This demand for independence and control is bigger than micro-management. We become judge and jury. We assign blame. We punish others and ourselves. Moral ambiguity, deception, betrayal can lead us to create self-righteous, legalistic, and rigid systems and structures. We control what is right and wrong, who is safe and who is not.

A Demand for Safety

Children need safe homes to flourish. The recklessness of Alison’s parents is wrong and heartbreaking. Safe environments foster trust and honesty. Yet, this planet is full of many frightening experiences which are unexpected and unforeseen. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes bring destruction. More significantly, deception and secrets bring captivity. We are left searching for truth and stability. A desire for security leads us to self-protection and self-preservation above all else.  Caution leads to inaction for fear of what a risk might expose. We are unable to rely on anyone else. We dictate answers rather than inviting problem-solving. We resist feedback. We keep God at a distance. We dig in and stagnate. We build walls. We shut down.

There is Hope

We are not abandoned to tragedy. God is tender, patient, and kind. These demands Alison constructed do not condemn her. They are not more powerful than the goodness of God. Since the Fall, all of us replicate Alison’s response to chaos. We pursue strategies which will bring us peace, even illusions of peace. All of us are on a search for security and order. All of us long for a love we can trust. There is hope. Alison’s story is not over, and neither is yours. God is up to something. God will bring healing when we respond to his invitation to lay our hurts, fears, and demands before Him.

What are you facing today – what are those unspoken vows you need to name?

Where does a demand for control and safety impede your relationships?

I pray you trust God’s love and light to bring illumination. I encourage you to find others to walk with you as you take courageous steps to dismantle the demands which shape your life.

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Andrea Leigh Capuyan, CCNL, CNAP, is the Executive Director of the Laurel Pregnancy Center in Laurel, Maryland. She is cares about leadership development and organizational culture within the small nonprofit ministry setting. She is passionate about encouraging fellow women in their roles as leaders. Defining our identity as a steward of God informs her perspective on everything – faith, leadership and spiritual transformation.

 

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