I said I would be writing about organising on our blog this month and our first post was Se7en + 1 Steps to Getting Organized and Staying Organized. That is all very well when it comes to kitchen cupboards and paperwork, but I know their is a part of my life that can get overwhelming… we need to keep our spiritual lives in order too. It is so much easier to declutter a drawer, to run an errand… anything is easier to get in order than getting our quiet time done, and our prayer life up to scratch…
Galatians 5: 22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The fruit’s of the spirit indicate that we are to be faithful and self-controlled… in a word disciplined and striving to serve the Lord with all our hearts. I think we know that folks can see if our kitchen counters are clear, or the bathroom is clean, but out hearts remain hidden… and that is why domestic decluttering is so much easier for all of us than getting our spiritual lives in order. Being spiritually organised implies a consistency that I confess I often fail at… and the excuses for my lack of effort, because that it was it is, are plentiful and often elaborate…
Se7en +1 Steps Towards Decluttering Our Spiritual Lives:
- Dream Big and Be Intentional:
- Start Small:
- Schedule Organising:
- Finish One thing Before You Start Another:
- There Isn’t an App for That:
- Don’t Forget the People:
Have a plan, 1 Corinthians 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way, clearly indicates that we need to have a strategy for all facets of our lives, including our spiritual lives. God does not see us as better or worse christians… yet I fall into this trap time and time again, I think “All the other christians are doing…” getting up before dawn and doing their Bible Study, and reading great tracts from the Bible throughout the day… If you can’t see yourself doing that and serving your family you may have to change your vision: My morning looks something a lot more like this: I sit at my desk and read a section from my Bible… before I turn my screen on. I am human, and part of a family with eight kids, there are days when we have to get up and dash… but I am determined, if I do nothing else, to find the time for quiet time.
I am often overwhelmed when folks say, I will pray for this and I will pray for that as they walk through the tea-room on a Sunday and I have visions of them spending hours at prayer each day. Prayer is definitely one of those times when one shouldn’t make promises you cannot keep. I have never heard of anyone saying that their prayer life is complete, and that they pray enough in a day. I think most christians would like to pray more than they do… but we are just so often distracted, we really need to persevere and establish the habit… Start small, if you need too just a few minutes a day. Our goal is to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, take little steps throughout the day to achieve that.
How does one declutter spiritual things… I think we can all get so busy with the “spiritual fast food” like books of blessed thoughts and reading material that is “christian so it must be good.” In a world that is always dashing, one needs to show discernment and discard those things that claim to bring us closer to God, but actually keep us away from Him. Far better to read your Bible daily, even if it is a teeny, tiny, small section at a time… than to read your way through five books on how to read your Bible and more bible study notes than you can possibly keep up with. There are other things to declutter… things that take up time and then we claim we don’t have time to pray… pick just one time-waster a day… instead of sending a tweet, stop and pray – just five times a day – that is five short prayers that you may not have prayed otherwise. Pick one TV show a week that you watch because the TV is on… and make a decision to turn off the tv for that show and pray.
1 Timothy 4:15 calls us to be diligent. Once you have made small steps to starting a good habit it is very hard to keep it up, you know how easy it is to say – I am going to pray every day at lunch time… and then three days running you have lunch out and the habit you established is gone. My kids are great at keeping me accountable, I have no problem telling them of the plans that I make and the habits I intend to keep or change. Nothing like eight little voices checking up on you throughout your day. You might not have eight kids but find someone to be accountable too. As a family we have prayer times and we pray for different things at different times. I believe in setting my kids up with good prayer habits from the start. My kids do not remember a time when they didn’t pray together in the morning. It is well established and as part of their day as breakfast – and we all know how important that is.
Schedule time to do spiritual things… if you plan to attend church as a family every Sunday then make it a priority. After years and years of getting to church on a Sunday morning I can assure you that there are times when it requires an enormous amount of strategising and organising just to get out of the door… let alone get to the church on time!!! That being said we are so often able to manage other routine things in our week and then, well languish when it comes to spiritual things – we were too tired for church, we had to get to lunch at granny, whatever – if you make it a priority then dig your heels in and stick to it. Consistently attending church adds enormous encouragement to our walk with the Lord… just singing together and reading the Bible with other believers, hearing a sermon and fellowship time afterwards… it can put a spring in your spiritual step all week!!!
It is in my nature to begin massive projects – I am a natural born barn builder… I love to start great big projects. This is something that spans all aspects of my life and my spiritual life does not escape the onslaught of having great big plans, great big “good intentions” and great big projects. I decide that together we are going to learn a hymn a week… a restrained and easy to achieve project… but then I get excited about a different idea, what if we learn a psalm a week as well, and a verse a week and… and so I build up and build up and eventually we are mastering nothing. Stick with one thing and keep at it until you are through… last year we studied maps of the Bible week by week and month by month – I didn’t add to it… though I wanted too and I didn’t let us fade and quit either. A project done to the end is very rewarding…
There are lots of useful tools on the internet to help us with our spiritual walk: bible studies, reading plans and memory verse apps and so on. While I have nothing against them and certainly make use of listening to Christian podcasts and Christian bloggers… as with anything we read we need to show discernment, Colossians 2:8. Just because a website claims to be christian doesn’t make it christian… make sure that before you follow a website that claims to be christian that you look for a statement of faith, a good resource will always be upfront and have a clear declaration that they are bible believing christians… not all websites have that claim and not all of them are practising the truth.
And the se7en + 1th…
We can get so caught up in things spiritual that we quite forget the people… I know when I get up in the morning and spend a while reading through my Bible and grounding my day – I am not always eager (!) to receive a little distraction and more than one or two interruptions asking “What is for breakfast?” No, I haven’t yet found the secret to little people interrupting my thoughts, but I know they won’t always be there. I can welcome them to join me and we can read together until I am finished… often I have to move from my desk to the couch – there is just a whole lot more room for company there!!! Yes, I could send my kids scampering off to do their chores but I am hoping that seeing the spiritual aspects of my life as a place where they are welcome and a place that they can join me will be a path for them to follow. I see it as blessing that I can share my faith with my children. Matthew 5:15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
It is all very well to keep our homes and our surfaces organised, and you all know better than I do, how I love a good organising project… but we need to remember that this life is fleeting and our eternal home may need as much, if not a whole lot more organising and planning and care than our present one.
All photography credit, in this post, goes to Hood #1.