24 January 2011

I Choose a Cloud of Dust, I mean PEACE

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be
useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

The words of 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace,” have haunted me all weekend. You know how it is when you start sorting out things? Clutter always seems to take over before the project is done. Well, last week I took an important step toward making my home a more peace-filled environment... I began to “unstuff.” But now I have myself I bit of an unorganized mess. So, I have to attempt to make some semblance of order to my things AND also address some other “stuff” (that is not material in nature). You see having too much stuff is not the only thing that steals my “peace.” I am the type of person that loves being busy, but sometimes (more often than I would like to admit), I get consumed by “busyness,” which leads to chaos. During those times, several things happen...

                         • My time with God suffers
                         • Family relationships are affected
                         • My job becomes more stressful
                         • I don’t keep in touch with my friends as I should
                         • My physical needs get set aside (sleep, food, exercise)
                         • Everything in my life becomes “messy”

Have you ever heard the expression “tyranny of the urgent?” The term refers to a mix-up of our priorities... letting urgent things take priority over the important things in our life. I think about Jesus’ life and how it portrayed the perfect balance. He spent time talking to people, took care of the needs of others, gave instruction to the disciples, yet took time to go to his Father in prayer. He sought God’s direction and was given great discernment for his tasks at hand. Charles E. Hummel says it this way in his book Tyranny of the Urgent, "Jesus’ prayerful waiting for the Father’s instructions freed him from the tyranny of the urgent. It gave him a sense of direction, set a steady pace and at the end of his earthly ministry gave him the satisfaction that he had completed the work God had assigned him.”

When my life begins to spin out of control, I feel like Charlie Brown’s friend, Pigpen. I’m trying to accomplish tasks while being surrounded by a cloud of dust (or in my case, a cloud of dust, plus the   Big 3.... clutter, commitments and chaos). In order to determine what I need to do next on my “peace journey,” I need to ask myself a few important questions...

Is my home organized - everything where it belongs, in a storage place or in a handy spot?
Is my paperwork sorted and ready to deal with, or are my piles “out of control?”
Are my “projects” stored away in a convenient spot, so I can pull them out when I want to work on them or do they take over valuable space such as my kitchen table, desk, coffee table, etc?

What are my priorities... where am I spending my resources (time, money, talent)?
Do I have trouble saying “no?”
What activities really give me “joy”... where is my passion?
What is God calling me to do.... have I asked Him for guidance?

Do I have a system for keeping track of important dates, phone numbers, schedules?
Do I get where I need to go on time, or am I always running late?
Do I set schedule time to spend with family and friends or do they get left-over moments?
Do I save some time for “me” (bubble bath, good book, favorite DVD)?
Do I spend daily time with God.... reading my Bible, praying, listening?

Addressing the Big 3, will allow each of us to personalize the next steps we need to take. Maybe it’s finding some help organizing your house, making lists to keep track of your priorities, learning to say “no” to too many commitments, or maybe it’s just finding some quiet time to put everything in perspective. Whatever choices you make, go to God in prayer and ask Him to help you discern your priorities. I recently read a devotion entitled “On Lists and God’s Plan B.” The writer, Karen Ehman said, “When it comes to the answer to the question, ‘Should I make out a list and follow it carefully?’ the answer is yes and no. Use it as a guide, but know when to set it aside. We have our lists, but God sometimes has a better “Plan B” for our days. Watch for those divine interruptions. Then quiet your heart, and willingly embrace them.” Ehman's website also has several free resources for helping you get organized.  Check out my Resource Page for links or to read her entire devotion.

I plan to seek God’s guidance daily, and this week God willing, I think I will start by tackling my “piles,” making sure everything is put away in its proper place (laundry, dishes, paperwork, etc). I might not complete everything, but I shall remember... .... Peace, it’s all about the small steps on the journey!

Thanking God for each of you, as I keep you in my prayers.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Every day we do things, we are things that have to do with peace.
If we are aware of our lifestyle, our way of consuming, our way of looking at
we will know how to make peace right in the moment we are alive.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh


Robbie Iobst said...

Wow! Beautiful Donna and I relate in every single way. I've made many steps to organize my clutter but right now my bedroom is Pigpen's hideout. I'm sure he's in there somewhere. :0) It's ironic but in the midst of all that mess is a book called Learning to Organize the Clutter. :0) Thank you for your words!

Donna Weaver said...

Glad you could relate and that we have "Pigpen" in common. The book that is buried in my piles is "Unstuffed." I always have good intentions... guess that's part of the inspiration for my blog. "Peace" is also around here someplace, I just can find it right now. Thanks for joining me on the journey. I really apppreciate your encouragement! God's Peace :)