Organized: Is a “Safe” Life Best?

Black Canyon Steps

By Jeanne Takenaka

Almost everything I’ve read recently has challenged me to step out of “safe” and open myself up to the dangers of living abandoned to the God who created me.

This would require me to let go of control. Since I was a girl, I’ve appreciated the peace that being organized affords. When I’m organized, my days flow the way I intend. When I’ve got everything where it belongs and all events scheduled on a calendar, I can focus on mothering, on being a wife, on writing. I can focus on other things.

What if allowing a little disorganization opens me up to a greater dependence on the God who made me? He created me to be an organizer at heart. But have I turned my desire for organization into an idol?

Rocky hills copy

Must everything be in its place before I’ll pursue opportunities God places on my daily path? What if He’s calling me to go—now?

“But Lord, my counters are blanketed with papers. You know that growing pile of papers and receipts beside my bed? I need to deal with it first. I’ll go with You when I’m organized.”

How many opportunities have I lost by striving for organization before daring to move forward?

Flower amid rock

No, I’m not making a case for living a disorganized life. As I consider this yearning I have for organization, I’m discovering there must be a balance. If I spend all my spare moments, and even some of my “mom-moments”—when a boy asks for a cuddle, or for a few minutes with a listening ear—trying to deal with the piles in my home, how much I’ll miss.

Stormy Sky

The piles in my life aren’t much different than those on my kitchen counter. They’re always there.

Those things about me that I want to make better. To organize.

The weaknesses I see within myself that I long to turn to a strength. The inner wounds that still surface from time to time.

God wants me to give them all to Him, to trust Him with each aspect of myself. With each pile in my life and my home. It’s only as I entrust these things to Him that they can be transformed.

Sailboat under gray skies

I don’t have to be chained to the compulsion to organize everything in my life. It’ll never stay that way anyway.

One day that’s too busy to go through the mail begins the next pile. Add to it the Sunday coupons I didn’t have time to clip, a drawing from a boy, a note from a friend . . . the piles grow like weeds. I’ll never conquer them permanently. I’m not that organized.

What if there is a balance between organizing to live unencumbered and living unencumbered with a little organizing thrown in every day?

Black Canyon Gorge copy

Wherever that balance lies, I want to find it. A little time spent dealing with piles daily. Much more time spent with Jesus and letting him deal with the piles in my life. And having an open heart to go where He leads in the day. Whether it’s swimming with the kids, on a family hike, or (gulp) on a family missions trip to Africa one day.

How well am I loving God if I cling to the safety of organization rather than step out into the unknown He presents me with? If I don’t trust Him in the places of the unknown, am I really loving Him?

Evening sun rays

It’s a deliberate choice to trust an untamed God. If I’m going to truly follow Him, I need His eyes to see that balance between my desire for organization and what it affords and living life outside of “safe mode.” If I’m truly going to love Him, I must let go of my craving for control and crave His presence instead.

What about you? How do you live your life outside of “safe mode?” How do you find a balance between being organized for the day and open to the unexpected?

 

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12 thoughts on “Organized: Is a “Safe” Life Best?

  1. Great post!

    For what it’s worth, the lesson is being hammered into my head that time is limited, and it’s a matter of making choices. Sometimes it’s a choice between organization and enjoying the simple gifts of a day, but sometimes the balance is more complex.

    Do I pursue a dream that God may have placed in my heart, or do I let even that go, to fully enjoy the companionship of those whose life of lives I share?

    There are 24 hours in a day (and I’m now awake for most of them!). There’s no make-up time, no way to roll back the days and the years.

    Does this mean, sometimes, saying”thanks, but no thanks” to one part of the choice God has placed in front of me?

    Yeah, it does.

    I know what it feels like to look over my shoulder, into a past I can never touch, with the sharp regret of opportunities for love and joy lost forever.

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    • Andrew, you’re right. Sometimes there are bigger choices at stake. Knowing your priorities and living them out each day is something each of us should do, whether we know how many days we have or not.

      Living each day as best we can so we leave no regrets is a difficult thing, but it does give peace when we look back.

      Continuing to pray for you.

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  2. Aaahhh, the piles. You should see my den. Yikes! I am what one would call a “recovering perfectionist!” Things will never be perfect. Hard for me to accept that fact. Organization is tough these days with a basement full of stuff now littered in my sun room. Water in the basement does that. Makes one very unorganized! I know there is a TRUST morsel in here somewhere. Just this morning I read, ” His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory.” I Corinthians 2:7…Psalm 13:5″…But I trusted in your steadfast love…” I want to live more fully. I know that is a choice. May I learn this day to “TRUST an untamed God.” Blessings my friend.

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    • Ahhh, Gail. As you work through your basement “issues” may God give you grace and peace through the disorganization. And may He give you eyes to focus on the important not the urgent. 🙂

      I love those verses you shared. Thanks for adding them to the conversation!

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  3. “He created me to be an organizer at heart. But have I turned my desire for organization into an idol?”
    Jeanne, you just described me to a “T” in this blog! I also desire to live with an open heart to go, say, and do what He wants me to do daily. I think finding the balance between organizing your day and being open to the unexpected has to be a daily, intentional choice. I lay out my “to-do” list before Him in prayer (and in pencil!) and ask Him to edit it at will.

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    • I love this, Lisa. Too often, I write my to-do list in pen. I like your practice of laying out your to-do list before Him daily. This is a practice I need to make into a habit. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. I’ve gotten easier on myself over time. But my dining room table seems to be turning into my desk … and that’s about to drive me crazy. But … the plus side … I’m in the same room with everyone else! 🙂 Sweet post, Jeanne. You are lovely.

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  5. I like safe, but safe ain’t fun. Nor is it Christlike. I like to think I’m closer to Jesus because He sought out the people hiding in the shade and came to them, while all the predictable, law abiders basked in the sunshine, waiting for Jesus to jump through their hoops .

    Organized is important, otherwise life is chaos. But once the house is in order, go to the edge of the envelope, grab the hand of God and GO!

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  6. Some days it’s easier to let it all go and enjoy our great God. The “stuff” will be there when I return.

    Love your pictures.

    I remember the one time I visited Denver and how close I felt to God there. Thanks for sharing today!

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    • You’re right, Jackie. Some days are easier than others to enjoy God (I like how you describe this!) and forget being perfectly organized. Other days? I get too caught up in it. I’m purposing to enjoy God more.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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