Spring—at least on the calendar—is just a few days away. I don’t think we will actually see spring arrive this week in this area, however. It is supposed to be in the thirties, down into the teens at night. I, for one, am ready to actually feel and see spring make her appearance! It is always a thrill to be able to leave the doors and windows open for the first time of the year and feel the sunshine and soft breezes come wafting through.
Along with spring comes the motivation to do some spring cleaning. Goodness knows, the house could use it! I’ve been meaning to clean the bathroom for days now, but just doing that one small regular chore has been pushed back day after day with better, more urgent (at least in my mind) things to do. Despite all my good intentions, how this procrastinator will ever actually get to a real spring cleaning remains in the balance. Hmm, clean closets…work on a new book? Wash windows…read a book? Discipline, Cynthia! Discipline!
I have started some spring cleaning—of a sort—this week, actually. The kind a good couch potato/computer nerd doesn’t mind working on. I’ve been going through my computer files, trying to collect in one place and organize all my books and book covers (forty-two of them, to be exact), as well as other writing projects I have done over the years. That is more difficult than it sounds. I have been careful to back everything up, but spread over fifteen years and three computers, those things have been shuffled around and, in some cases, lost in the dozens of CDs and thumb drives in which I have saved them. Looking back, I wish I had more carefully labeled everything, rather than just scrawling in black Sharpie, “My Documents” or “Saved from Desktop Computer” across a CD. Duh. No wonder it all needs to be organized! Nothing is lost for good, thank goodness, but at least now it will be more accessible.
I’m never too thrilled about scrubbing floors or cleaning bathrooms, but I do like to organize. I’m a habitual list-maker, to start. There are some list-makers who carefully jot down every detail they can think of, but never get down to actually accomplishing everything on their lists. That is not me. It gives me great pleasure to cross off, one by one, the things on my lists. They may not be finished as quickly as I would like, but eventually they do get finished.
There is a feeling of pride and satisfaction, as well, in re-organizing something that has fallen into disarray. My sister likes to clean out drawers when she is feeling stressed. She may not be in control over whatever is going on in her life just then, but she is in control over that drawer! For me, I just like to see things neat and tidy and where they should be. The other week I went through all our CDs and DVDs and sorted them in specific order into the CD cases in which they belonged—Christmas CDs in one; Robbie’s in another; music, sorted by genre, and then movies in another; software, data CDs, etc. in yet another. Hey—the rest of the house may fall down around our ears, but at least our CDs and DVDs are in order! My bookshelves and kitchen drawers and cupboards stay organized, as well, because I like to see them neat and with everything in its place.
Have you ever considered that God is a God of organization? When you study His creation, you can see that His original creation was done systematically and in order. The first chapter of Genesis tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day… (Genesis 1:1-31) The Lord was very specific when He gave Noah His instructions for building and loading the ark. (Genesis 6-8) He gave Moses His very specific directions, down to the smallest detail, for making the tabernacle and everything that should go in it, right down to the garments the priests would wear and the offerings He desired of them. (Exodus 25-31)
The Lord commends others in the Bible for their organization. Look at the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” She is a wonderful—although difficult—example to follow. The only thing that gives me hope that I can follow in her footsteps is that I believe she accomplishes all these things over the seasons of her life and not all at once, and yet we know even then, she must have had a great head for keeping things organized.
God instructs us to be organized. Jesus gave an example in Luke 14 28-30. He was actually talking about counting the cost of following Him, but He said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” He tells pastors to “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) and He goes on to tell us when it comes to our worship together, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace… all things should be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:33, 40)
What hinders us from being organized? A lack of discipline, procrastination, laziness… One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25) Whether it comes to being organized in our homes or in our lives, we ought to exercise the strength of mind, and will, and character to do what we know we ought to do. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”(James 4:17)
Hmm, I guess that comes to spring cleaning this house, too…