Thursday, January 10, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #251* 3 Tips for Keeping those January Resolutions

Note from the Christie: You'll probably notice that this isn't strictly apologetics but more of a tactical application post. Life is hard and Christian life is cross-schlepping hard. How we live speaks more clearly about our beliefs than anything coming out of our mouths or keyboards. Let's help each other get it right, pick each other up when we get it wrong; witness first in the home, then in the world.

"Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor.14:40)

God is a God of order. Like cold is what happens when heat is absent, chaos is what happens when God is absent. Without the hand of God, or your hand as His child, all things will revert to their original state: nothingness. The process isn't pretty. The first few stages are mere messiness and disorder. Left alone, these degenerate into chaos. Chaos ultimately ends in obliteration and annihilation.

A wife and mom is in a constant fight with the descent into chaos.

It's the oldest story out there. Creation was orderly and functioned well until we introduced the chaos of sin. After that all Hell broke loose, literally. To make a near eternal story short, if you are battling the Home Depot web page or a counter top that continually fills up with junk mail, half finished scribblings, hair ties, dog collars, dirty coffee mugs, broken crayons, unsharpened pencils, random lists and rubber bands, you can blame Adam and Eve for it.

Thanks guys!

Though, from the looks of my counter top (and no, I will not be showing you a picture of my desk), I'd be the last person to ask about organization, I do have an insight or two into the process. I know how to get organization schemes wrong, I know how to fail, and since that's about it, let me help you avoid some of the pitfalls as you enter into January's Resolution Season.

#1 Let God In
Since God created order and you need Him for that, begin any home improvement project with prayer. Don't try to go at the house on your own steam. Don't even try to go at it with some expert's scheme. None of that is going to work as well as simply starting from the premise that you can't tackle this problem alone. Face it, the Universe is spinning out of control, your counter tops and dusty baseboards are merely evidence of a problem greater than mankind. Entropy is a law you are trying to break! Which leads me to my next point.

#2 You Are Doomed
Not my actual counter...
You are going to fail. You may quit reading now or you may build into your system this humbling realization. Like we continually fall into sin and laziness in our spiritual life and need to be continually repentant and prayerful to battle that tendency, you will continually fall into it in your physical life, too. Whatever your new plans are, a new diet or a vow to keep the gas tank above a quarter tank, you are going to do very well on your new system for a few weeks and then you will slip up. No matter how diligent you think you are, one day in the dim gloom of a drizzly February day, you will look up in surprise to see that counter looking worse than it did when you started. It will hit you that you have failed and you will be tempted to look upon all the effort you put into it to change yourself and your life was a great big honking waste of time! My thinking usually sounds a bit like this, "Almighty Me has put for a bit of effort and now the job should run itself without anything more from Me. It isn't fair!" If that sounds in any way familiar or if that random Internet pic of a messy counter top is yours, swallow your pride, pray, repent, and get back to the job. That's just how that works.

#3 Be Smart and Be Lazy
Be lazy enough to understand that a little effort every day avoids the tremendous effort once a week/month/year. Putting off a job multiplies magnificently (horrifically?) the effort it takes to do the same job. You may think you are being lazy by ignoring a problem spot, but the really lazy person designs her life around the least effort humanly possible. If 10 minutes of cleanup twice a week is all that it takes to keep the counter top clear, but 5 seconds of putting away a piece of mail in the moment is all it takes, be lazy enough to pick the latter. That's just smart.

So, enjoy your New Year. Keep your Resolutions, but do so armed with the understanding that breaking an old habit of disorderliness with a new habit of orderliness is going to take time and a bit of human frailty. Always keep in mind that first thought, that God is a God of order. If you find your February beginning to bloom with the flowers of your old familiar chaos, remember that like cold is the absence of heat, chaos is the absence of God. Laxity in your physical world may be a sign of laxity in the spiritual, so begin weeding it out with prayer and repentance. That could never hurt.

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