Does it seem like too many days are topsy-turvy?
Does the world seem to be topsy-turvy as well?
Topsy-turvy means upside down or in a state of confusion. When we are in such a state or feel as if we are, it can be easy to feel disoriented, discouraged, and even paralyzed to know what to do next and the enemy of our souls loves it.
A cousin of Mary Poppins in the new movie, Mary Poppins Returns, finds herself in just such a place every second Wednesday. She sings a song about it entitled “Turning Turtle” as she compares her own experience to a turtle turned upside down on its shell and unable to get turned right side up.
Many different influences can bring us to that topsy-turvy place. Sometimes we will spend a good bit of time trying to sort out which thing was the culprit, but even though that may help for the future it does nothing to get us righted in the present.
Our thinking takes us down rabbit trails during such times as a cacophony of voices (internal or external) seek to persuade us of what is up and what is down, what is right and what is wrong. The noise increases our uncertainty and insecurity. It can mean that some things we were sure we knew fall prey to doubt.
Few of us can claim to be totally free of areas of insecurity that lurk about. Oh, yes, we try to keep those out of sight.
Those things tend to act negatively on our neurochemical responses in our brains so we look for those that can make us feel better. Pride can do it. We can also judge others and compare them negatively to ourselves. How easily we can go there even though we know those are the exact opposite traits of humility and mercy that are to characterize us as believers.
“The posture of entitlement that leads to judgment is fueled by insecurity. To hide our insecure places, we project contempt (other-centered contempt) in order to feel better about our own deficiencies. I will feel better about my own insecurities if I can first judge yours.” Andrew J. Bauman
It’s true that not everyone turns contempt on others. Some of us like to turn it on ourselves, but over time that often tends to shift to others.
The song in the movie suggests that Topsy turn with the world to gain a different point of view, but for us in the real world that is not very good advice. Turning with the world’s upside down view, thinking, ideas, and behavior are a slippery slope to nowhere. Destination: condemnation.
When our days seem topsy-turvy and we are thrown into a sea of confusion, the answer that will lead us to peace is the truth of the gospel. It is the anchor of hope we need. It steadies the undulating waves and sets our feet on solid ground. It speaks life and light always.
And the message of the gospel reverberates in the life of Jesus on the earth and can be heard above the din of other voices in the sweet whispers of the Holy Spirit.
What is that good news?
The scandalous message of the gospel is that God loves us despite… (Fill in the blank for you). It is the only place we can be at peace and rest in the midst of a topsy-turvy world swimming in a sea of confusion.
Perhaps what you see in your life or the world around you grieves you. It’s not what we hoped for, but when we look closely at the gospel story we will again see what we may have missed.
“Grief and glory are always bound together in a peculiar dance: Where one shows up, the other will always be near. To taste glory in the midst of heartache, we must follow our Savior’s example by facing the brutality of the Crucifixion.”
Andrew J. Bauman
In our grief, in our confusion and chaos, the Lord invites us to express all of what we are experiencing. He has given us the gift of lament. Our topsy-turvy life and world invites us to lament, acknowledge our pain, our disappointment, and our confusion.
“Lament, above all, is a dialogue between us and God, and he has given us a beautiful picture of what that looks like throughout Scripture.”
In the mist of your topsy-turvy, one thing is key to remember as you dialogue with Him:
“…God’s response does not depend on you. God’s response to your suffering depends on God, and God hasn’t changed in the midst of your pain.”