God is not a god of chaos. He just… isn’t. He isn’t down with disorder or confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33- BTW I may have paraphrased a little bit!) I mean, really? Could He have made such efficient use of seven days if he was all discombobulated? Heck, no.
God is all about organization. All about order. And I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s good to know at least someone’s got His ducks in a row, right? That’s not where the whole God/organizing parallel ends though. No, no, no. There are actually a number of parallels between living an organized life and living a life lovin’ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Don’t worry, I’ve only highlighted eight of them!
1. Constant effort is required
You don’t just make the mental decision and then-BOOM- your life is sunshine and waterfalls. Unfortunately, you have to make the decision every second of every day, over and over again. You have to be willing to put in the work and the discipline to follow through. Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize
The REAL prize. The real prize with Jesus? It’s not following the letter of the law or putting on appearances. It’s being secure in how you plan to spend your eternity. Building a close relationship with Jesus. Taking Him with you everywhere. Now organizing? Organizing is not an end in itself. It’s a means to a bigger end. A bigger life. What does that big life look like to you? What good stuff are you making time, space, and energy for through the process of being organized? That good stuff is your prize.
3. Please an audience of One
When people see that you’ve got a good thing going on, there will be questions. There will be naysayers. “Why in the world would you wake up THAT early to have bible study? You’re crazy!” “It’s just one night of leaving the dishes in the sink. It won’t kill you.” And you know what? Maybe you ARE crazy. And one night PROBABLY won’t kill you but- BUT- it’s a slippery slope. One day of sleeping in leads to another. One night of not cleaning up the kitchen leads to a week. The next thing you know? You’re having to start over again.
4. Both Jesus and living an organized life keep you anchored in a world of craziness
Let’s face it, life is messy. MESSY. And while neither Jesus nor organization will make the messy go away, they’ll definitely give you the necessary tools with which to deal without losing your mind. They serve as anchors, but not in the sense that they hold us back. Instead, they keep us rooted in the truth. They keep us from being swept away in a messy world.
5. Both are learned skills
That’s right. You don’t have to be a ‘natural’; you can learn! And for some of us? Well, for some of us, the learning curve is pretty dang steep. I mean, some people are just organized people. It’s in their DNA. It’s as natural as breathing. For others? Well, not so much. Same way with Jesus. I dunno about you but I’m stubborn. And rebellious. I know Jesus sometimes shakes His head at me like, “Really? We’re doing this AGAIN?” And you should know I don’t hear His whispers. He’s gotta hit me with a train. The thing is, with some practice, discipline, and some rock star help along the way, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, you CAN get better at it. You CAN be organized. You CAN have some Jesus in your life.
6. When you fall off the wagon, you can get right back on it
And you will fall off. A lot. Life’s messy, and we live in a fallen world. The great thing though? One bad move, one bad decision, doesn’t mean we can’t turn back. Yeah, you’ll need to deal with the consequence of your less than stellar choice, but, once again, you’re not doomed.
7. Shiny objects will try to distract you
And they excel at their job! You don’t need 15 cute new matching bins to get organized! (Do you know how many times I’ve seen multiple sets of said bins thrown on top of a messy pile of crap? They ain’t magic! You’ve still gotta do the work.) You get organized first with what you have (bins, shoe boxes, sandwich bags…)and then, once you find the system that works, then you go shopping. You also don’t need a brand spanking new journaling bible with matching handmade bible tabs, bible highlighters in every color of the rainbow, or the perfect study space to start reading your bible. Just read it! You can shop once you figure out what kind of bible you want to invest in- NIV, NLT, KJV. So many times we fall for the lie that we need something new or special before we can make a change. (I’m pretty sure that’s one of Satan’s favorites, BTW.) In truth, all we need is the desire to change.
8. It doesn’t look the same for everyone
I mean, there ARE some basic principles that are absolute truth. You know, like John 14:6- The only way to the Father is through Me- and accepting the fact that throwing all of your stuff in a giant pile in your bathroom is just wrong. But the details? The details are negotiable. The important thing to remember is that you’ve gotta keep trying until you find what works for you. Bible study in the morning not an option? Big deal! You’re a night owl, so bible study at midnight it is! Think the color-coded closet thing is a bit overboard? No worries, just make sure everything in the closet it hung!
I hate to sound like a motivational quote, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In fact, to quote Teddy Roosevelt,
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Living an organized life that allows you the time, space, and energy for the good stuff in life? Living a life lovin’ Jesus? That’s the kind of ‘hard’ I’ll gladly sign up for.