Thursday, November 10, 2011

Restoring Order, Finding Peace


"For He . . . is not a God of confusion and disorder
 but of peace and order."


My dining room is overrun with boxes.

I find myself flashing back to the height of my work as an office supervisor with Census 2010. I can hear again the dull roar of whirring printers, dozens of voices, a crazy array of telephone ring tones and people scrambling to find which phone to answer. In that mad rush to count our county's million or so residents (1,049,025 to be exact) on a single day in the decennial year 2010, we had every inch of our office, the entire 4th floor of the office building, literally stacked floor-to-ceiling with boxes.  It was the only way we could organize our efforts to facilitate and manage all the binders, supplies and papers going out and coming back in, forms to be evaluated, sorted, data-entered, quality-checked, returned for corrections, shipped to headquarters, you name it, we had a box for it. Everything had to be precise and accurate, carefully controlled and accomplished in an around-the-clock HURRY!  It was overwhelming!

Here in my cozy dining room with the sound of my favorite Itunes playlist to replace the sound of phones and printers, I am all by myself (where are my Census friends when I need them?) in the middle of my own little overwhelming operation, trying to beat confusion into submission and to bring order where chaos has encroached. It is way past time to tackle our household filing that I have been putting off for too long. A little less paper involved than the Census perhaps, but not much! Ugh! 

The filing is just one of several projects that are suffering under their own weight because I have, little-by-little, allowed small tasks to accumulate over too much time. I don't mean to let things stack up. I have the best of intentions complete with perfectionistic attention to detail, but call it the "tyranny of the urgent," sacrificing the important for the immediate, or just plain old ugly procrastination, whatever you call it, I have let it happen. 

The tipping point comes when I am finally reckoning with the stress I feel at not being able to find important things, at not having fingertip access to what I need at any given moment. Time to get into action!

Like we did in the Census, I break the overwhelming project down into bite-sized, focused, one-box-at-a-time steps I can fit into manageable blocks of time. Instead of waiting until I can, in my mind, do the whole thing (which is NEVER), I pick my moments and look for where I can deal with the contents of just one box.  I'm two boxes down in the last two days, which is two boxes more than I have done in the several months since I sorted everything into the boxes in the first place. I feel better already!! Why didn't I start this sooner?

We have a Heavenly Father, our infinitely imaginative Creator-God, who demonstrates His love of order in everything He does. Even in the wildest corners of untouched wilderness there is an undeniable order to things because even wilderness is governed by God. His thoughts are both completely organized AND completely free. His imagination is utterly unfettered AND precisely ordered. Oh! I want to be like that!! Even with the limitations of finitude, I want to mirror the balance of God's perfectly. disciplined. freedom.

There is a godly wisdom that enables us to choose to walk the path that brings us our best benefit, both spiritually and naturally in this life. When we choose to allow God to order our thoughts and to help us live orderly lives, He blesses and rewards us with His peace and joy, free from the stress of self-inflicted chaos. If you have a project hanging over your head that is stressing you out, I pray that you will see a box-by-box way forward and that your Heavenly Father would give you His perfect peace as you allow Him to help you restore order.
Please tell me I'm not alone!!  Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by a big project?
________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"


#881-895
881. Sitting down to watch Monday Night Football with the whole family
882. The moment your head hits the pillow
883. Golden tabby cat rolling luxuriously in the sun
884. Blushing leaves
885. Drummer Boy's excitement restored, one day after feeling so discouraged--NEVER GIVE UP!
886. Wednesday night Greek food with all four of us for a change!
887. Farewell letter from our first World Vision "daughter" (whose community no longer needs WV help to thrive) and first correspondence from our new little girl in India!  Missing Suganya already and can't wait to get to know Gudiya!
888. Photoshop CS5--an early Christmas present from Hero Husband!
889. Hero Husband who is such an encouraging, supportive, inspiring cheerleader and provider!
890. A daughter who loves to cook!  
891. Raindrop lullabies
892. Emptying boxes!
893. Yummy dinner at El Charro and She So Sweet's excitement to share her workplace with us and how they all love her there!
894. Favorite worship songs all in a row
895. Spectacular touchdown passes


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