You see, I live neat, but work messy. What that means is that most of my house is pretty tidy, but my study . . . my desk, the folding table next to it, the top of the printer, and, yes, sometimes even the floor are pretty chaotic. I’ve always been like that. Every desk I have ever occupied has had random piles, scattered papers, and loads of loose files strewn about. But I knew where everything was––or at least where everything was supposed to be.
But there comes a point where the notes and scraps of paper and rough drafts start to build up. Even the “tidy” house begins to gather dust and accumulate discarded magazines and unread mail.
My life follows the way of all life, the way of the world, the way of the universe . . . at least so says the second law of thermodynamics: “There is a natural tendency of any isolated system to degenerate into a more disordered state.” Or, to put it even more simply, everything moves from order to disorder.
Hence the five lists: reading schedule (two book clubs, you know), writing schedule, household chores that need to be done, household projects I need to do, house projects I need someone else to do.
Once I made the lists, I felt a sense of order return. Now all I had to do was follow the lists.
I have noticed that, if left unattended, my spiritual life follows this same fate. Though I don’t want to be Pharasitic, (Is that a word?) and just go through the motions, I know that if I don’t impose––and follow––some sort of order, disorder will creep in, and if allowed to continue, a sense of unrest will soon follow. I am not alone. In fact, the Bible (primarily the Old Testament) is filled with accounts of those who experienced the spiritual order to disorder shift and needed to repent and regroup. It also shared the accounts of those who maintained a spiritual routine in their lives (such as Daniel) and so were able to withstand multiple spiritual attacks.
Fortunately, we don’t need as many “lists” to reclaim spiritual order as we sometimes do to create earthly order. Psalm 119:2 says, “Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.”
Which means? Talk to God (through prayer) and let Him talk to us (through the Bible), and then do what He says. Doing those three things regularly will help keep our spiritual lives in order.