Friday, April 16, 2010


How does it happen? How does a perfectly organized storage room decay into a cavern of chaos? After spending all of last Saturday cleaning out our storage room, I have been pondering this question not only as it pertains to my material world, but also as it pertains to my mental/emotional/spiritual world. For I do believe it is possible to have cluttered emotions and a cluttered mind; but, I also believe that peace, joy, and contentment reign when my heart and home are submitted and committed to a life of simplicity. I struggle with how to get there.

I feel like I work hard to keep our life simple. I am not a collector. I regularly donate clothing and household items to Goodwill. I have very few keepsakes. I do my best to take care of the things that have been entrusted to me. And yet...

...this happens. I realize it didn't "just happen" on its own, but the making of the whole disaster felt rather effortless on my part. I mean, I certainly did not work to create such a mess! Here is evidence that the law of entropy that we all learned about in seventh grade chemistry is still in effect. All things tend towards disorder. My storage room is clearly scientific proof!

I believe that the law of entropy is a result of the fall of man. We live in a world that is doomed to decay, and our only hope is the grace of God. Through that grace we have the power to swim upstream against the strong current of entropy--but it will not happen effortlessly. Believe me, I've tried the route of least resistance. It leads to something that looks like thermonuclear fall out.

I am considering anew what the fight against entropy entails, and how I might better engage in it, and here is where my thoughts have taken me:

First, I need to slay my inner sloth! The path of laziness is a tempting trail for me. Most messes do not start out as enormous entities. They begin with little piles here, a few stray items there, and the unwillingness to take the extra steps that would be required to return said things to their proper place. Doing nothing appears to be the easy way--but that is a MYTH! I wonder how much time I waste shuffling things around to avoid the itty bitty bit of extra effort it would take to put them away. Why oh why do I do it? I'm lazy. Not always, but sometimes. And sometimes is often enough for entropy to make significant progress in my house.

Do you think that there is a spiritual application of this concept? Is it possible to be spiritually lazy? Oh yes, I think it is. God gives clear commands in His Word, but I shuffle those commands around to avoid the extra steps that would be required for total obedience. I tithe 8%, because, you know, it comes to a nice even number. I overlook my own pride issues, because, you know, it would mean having to deal with insecurities to face them. I skip out on service opportunities, because, you know, it would mean having to die to myself to serve others. Yes, spiritual laziness is definitely a factor.

Second, I need to submit to structure! I have a system for keeping house, but I have recently neglected that system in favor of more fun and exciting endeavors.

"Can you do lunch on Thursday?"

"Sure," I say, "That sounds great!"

I completely ignore the fact that if I DON'T clean house on Thursday there will be no other time for me to do it until the following Thursday. And I fall prey to the deception that says structure limits my life. Structure is very freeing when applied appropriately to life. When I regularly clean my house on Thursdays, I keep entropy at bay and enjoy my time at home for the whole rest of the week. When I skip cleaning on Thursdays then I spend most of my time at home agonizing over the horrendous state of our abode and feeling guilty that I have done nothing about it.

Is there a place for structure in my spiritual life? Oh, but there is! God is clear about issues of order: Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unfortunately, most days I seek coffee, the daily news, and a hot shower first. Casting literalism aside, I also tend to seek my will, my desires, and my best first. I get my priorities out of order because I rebel against structure...even the structures that God put into place to build strength and effectiveness into my life. When I neglect to put God and His kingdom first in my life, I spend my days agonizing over the horrendous state of my heart and feeling guilty that I have forsaken my first love. His structure exists for my own good, and I am blessed when I submit to it.

Because of God's grace, a fresh start is always available to me. Entropy is not my master. God promises to bring beauty from ashes, even when the ashes are the result of my own laziness or an unwillingness to submit to His structure in my life. When I get it right, God is good. When I get it wrong, God is good. I can neither impress nor disappoint Him. I can only receive His love, and live my life as a grateful response for His goodness and grace. After all, my whole life, apart from Jesus, is a messy storage room cluttered to the point of total uselessness. I am entropy personified, save this one fact: He saved me. Now my life is ordered by the hands of a God who not only cleanses me from messes that are entirely mine in the making. He also restores me so that I can be used for His eternal purposes. Oh the joy of being His!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I've been fighting the clutter battle with my house and so many people keep talling me to "just let it go." I don't think I can! I've never had a clutter-free house, but I've been working on keeping parts of it tidied and organized, and I've discovered that I just function better if it's kept up. I feel better when it's tidy. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way, and feels "out of sorts" when it's not!