FARGO — We are currently facing unprecedented social, health and economic chaos. If you simply wait a few hours and turn the news on, a new breaking story is unfolding. And, more than likely, you will hear a story that you could not have imagined a month ago. As of today, we don’t know how far, deep and long the chaos will be. We don’t know how close to home or how often the chaos and pain will hit.

The situations we are watching take place and facing personally are new, but chaos is not. All of us to varying degrees of difficulty and length have experienced chaos before. So, what do we do? Curl up and stay in bed all day? Ignore it, convincing ourselves that our pain is not that big of a deal or assuming it will go away quickly?

I have learned that chaos provides us two great opportunities to make healthy changes and decisions.

The first opportunity chaos provides us is the opportunity to narrow our focus; to slow life down; to determine what matters most; to create a stop doing list and weed “unhealthy activities or mindsets” or “good things” out of our life, allowing new space for the “best things” in life to grow and flourish.

Chaos provides a great opportunity to ask questions: What is really important? What is going to matter 10 years from now? What talents, gifts, relationships, strengths and financial resources has God entrusted me to manage and how can I best impact this world for him with all that he has blessed me with?

During chaos we are blessed with our greatest opportunity to live our values loud and clear and to passionately pursue our vision and to make course corrections as needed. Hard times naturally “squeeze” our values out, impurities and all.

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Chaos is not an excuse to take our focus off the things that matter most in life. For a follower of Christ, chaos is our opportunity to intensify Christ’s command for us to love God and love people. We can’t say, “Well, I had so much chaos in my life that my marriage is in shambles or my kids don’t want much to do with me. I had so much chaos that I am just going to stop caring about anything. I’ll just head to the bar and see who I can hook up with, see how much short-term fun I can have while adding to my and others long-term pain.” No, chaos presents us with a wonderful opportunity to focus on the things that matter most.

The Bible verse that comes to my mind is the prayer of Moses written in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Don’t number your days so you get depressed or anxious. No, number your days so that you crave a deeper relationship with God and see yourself, your life, and the world as he does. That is wisdom…Godly wisdom.

While I wouldn’t choose chaos for you or me, I am thankful for this opportunity chaos provides. Next week I will look at the second opportunity chaos provides. God bless you. Let’s take a step toward God today.