Growing up, my mom was always telling me to make my bed. And usually, my messy sheets and lumpy pillows were still disheveled when I would fall into bed each night. She would tell me,
“When you make the bed, even if the rest of the room is a mess, it just looks cleaner.”
As an adult, I usually make my bed now, unless I am just in a rush to get out the door. Sometimes in the craziness of life, something as simple as making the bed just doesn’t take priority. But you know what? When I do take the 90 seconds to do it, I see that my mother was right. The dirty clothes may still be piled up, the night stands may still need to be dusted, but something about having a freshly-made bed just makes the chaos seem a little less…overwhelming.
So guess what I did today? I made my bed.
Y’all, this world feels a little crazy right now. Actually, it feels a lot crazy. Natural disasters and shootings and racism and poverty and injustice and suffering…it’s enough to make the strongest heart weak with sorrow. I believe as followers of Jesus it is important- necessary, even- for us to learn how to suffer well with others. We must be willing to sit in the suffering with people. We can’t be healing and hope to the world if we don’t know what the sickeness is that is plaguing people. Jesus was always surrounded by suffering, and He didn’t shy away from it. Closing our eyes to suffering isn’t an option.
But what do we do when it all feels like too much? How do we cope when our world just seems so desperately broken that our tiny little voice and effort seemingly disappears into the vast ocean of suffering? How do we suffer well without letting it overtake and consume us?
We make the bed.
There are things in our lives- simple, doable things- that keep us grounded and make the chaos seem more manageable. They aren’t earth-shattering things, or things that have profound impact to the outside world. But they bring our inner-selves to a place of normalcy that we desperately need in times like these. It may look different for different people, but I believe it is imperative that we find these rhythms and not forsake them, even in- especially in– the times of chaos.
Going to dinner with friends.
Reading bedtime stories with your kids.
Having that cup of coffee before the sun breaks through the trees.
Reading the Psalms.
Smiling at people.
Taking walks and waving at those you pass by.
Laughing at a funny movie.
Getting lost in a good book.
Spending precious time in prayer.
All these things, though they may seem small, can help keep us grounded and calm- just like smooth covers and fluffed pillows can make your room feel clean. Does it mean the dirty laundry pile isn’t still there? Of course not. Making your bed doesn’t solve the problem. But it takes us to a mental and emotional place where we can tackle the problem. I don’t know about you, but I handle stress and chaos so much better if I’m even just doing ONE THING well. If I am attending to my mental and emotional state, I can extend mercy and help and compassion to others in a much healthier, effective way.
What do you need to do today to stay grounded and able to tackle the chaos? Call friend you haven’t talked to in a while to catch up? Spend extra time in prayer? Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to start? It doesn’t have to be huge, as long as it brings calm and clarity to your life and allows you to enter into chaos as a healer and not a victim. I encourage you today, pick one simple thing that will keep your heart and mind in check before you turn on the news or reach out to help.
I made my bed today. And things are looking up already.