Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series we are running on all things organization. Some of us are better at this skill than others, so we have enlisted some women who have some wisdom to offer us regarding organization in our varying seasons of life.
by Rondi Lauterbach
Housekeeping ain’t no joke. ~Louisa May Alcott
This quote sat on a postcard, under the black and white photo of a New England farmhouse. It also was on my refrigerator for years.
I needed its daily reminder. I learned to keep house the hard way.
I still remember when my lack of organization with the refrigerator hit me square in the face.
“Whoa! What is that green and black speckled thing growing at the back of my refrigerator?! Who put it there?! Why doesn’t someone get rid of it?!”
It turned out that the rancid thing had once been a portion of leftover lasagna. I was the one who had put it there, months ago. And yes, I must be the one to toss it, preferably in a biohazard bag.
I was clueless because I had never actually observed someone cleaning out the refrigerator. But since it was always clean, I assumed that it cleaned itself. This myth was quickly replaced by Truth #1.
Truth #1 The mess won’t clean itself.
Many cleaning/organizing problems were quickly solved by applying Truth #1. Years later I had a second moment of truth. Children had arrived, bringing new messes into my home, along with new demands on my time. How was I to raise my brood and simultaneously keep my nest from becoming a pigsty?
Other moms tried to help. “The house can wait, but the kids need you now.” There’s some truth in that. But the house can’t wait forever or my refrigerator will again become an incubator for new wonder drugs. It didn’t seem helpful to pit those two tasks against each other.
That’s when a friend took me to Genesis 1:28. When God created us, he gave us two jobs, not one:
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
All of those “and’s” can be summarized into two main tasks: nurturing life and creating/restoring order. We nurture life not just by birthing and raising a family, but by communicating with co-workers, counseling a friend, serving a customer, tutoring at a local school. We create or restore order every time we make something new, fix something broken, clean something dirty, organize something messy.
I made a list of the top ten tasks that were filling my time. (Try it. Your list will reflect your calling — single, married, with kids, no kids, at home, at work.) Then I put an “L” for every task that nurtured life and an “O” by every one that established or restored order. Every task fit.
Truth #2 Nurturing life and restoring order are the twin tasks that line my work up with God’s command.
Suddenly my most ordinary chores became moments of purpose. God has given me this work. They became moments of partnership. I’m joining my Creator in jobs that require my own creativity. They became moments of obedience and fulfillment. I am fulfilling the Creator’s original commands and that satisfies me.
It’s true that original sin has made my work harder and more frustrating. But it’s also true that the Redeemer came not just to save my soul, but to sanctify my work.
Author Nancy Pearcey in her 2004 book Total Truth puts it this way:
Redemption is not just about being saved from sin,
it is also about being saved to something —
to resume the task for which we were originally created.
So let’s get organized! It’s a holy work.
Rondi entered the Ivy League full of personal ambition and left under a new Master. Her passion is to help women see Jesus in the Word and be nourished by him. She has been a pastor’s wife for over thirty years, a mother of three, and now a very happy grandmother. She and her husband Mark live in San Diego.
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