The picture above is just a pic of my girls crafting, but this picture is what my life feels like when I am not fighting the good fight to overcome disorganization and poor time-management. I have struggled with disorder and lack of self-discipline my whole life! For as long as I can remember organization and punctuality and doing proper things at the proper time where just not my forte. I was diagnosed with A.D.D. in third grade and from there on figured I had a pretty good excuse for my struggle with disorganization and poor time-management. Interestingly enough, God’s Word says nothing about this (possibly fake and made up) disability. It says plenty about prudence, discipline, hard work, and order, especially in the Proverbs. As I have grown in the Lord, I have also grown to understand that He has called me to do things decently and in order. This is still a struggle to this day! I’ve made many strides of improvement over the years. Sometimes this struggle is three steps forward and one step back, but I am slowly but surely progressing in this by the power of the Holy Spirit within me. I continually must strive to die to the deeds of my flesh and to let His Spirit reign in this department of my life.
It is in fact a sin
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger,disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Galatians 5:19-21
I’ll never forget the day in a Biblical counselling session that I was challenged on the deed of the flesh known as sensuality. This wise man explained to me that this was not about sex, which most people assume it is…. instead it is about living a life that is ruled by your senses, the way you feel. He explained, “You feel tired when you get up, so you sit around and don’t get to your tasks…. then you feel like doing something fun, so you neglect your work and do the fun thing….. then you don’t feel like doing the particular task assigned for the moment, so you decide to do a different task that suits your liking better….. and in the evenings you aren’t really feeling tired so you don’t lay down and go to sleep. You are being controlled by the way you feel. That is sensuality.” You know what all this really boils down to? Selfishness! It is me-centered living! It is not living for the Lord, for my husband, or for my children….. it is living for me. OUCH, right? When I saw this was sin, I immediately began to confess because I know that the Lord is faithful and just to forgive me, but I also felt this desperation because I felt that freedom from it was near impossible for someone like me! I really began to understand the words of Paul, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
I’ve been on this journey to overcome this sin for quite a while, and there are a few things of value that I’ve learned along the way. If you are trying to overcome this same sin struggle, then perhaps these can help you as well.
Saying “NO” to excuses & psychology
For a long time I believed I had some pretty good excuses for why I procrastinated, couldn’t get organized in certain areas of my life, and couldn’t keep the family on a schedule. These were a few of my excuses:
I have A. D. D.– For a long time I really used this diagnosis as a crutch. I even took medication for it as an adult which didn’t help at all, and I no longer take it because first of all, it is terrible for your body and secondly, I don’t think I need it…. this is a sin issue… and God fixes sin issues, not medication. (not to say that medication in certain circumstances is wrong, just sayin’ I don’t think I need it.)
I wasn’t trained for this job. -I really came into marriage and housekeeping at a severe disadvantage. I didn’t even know how to crack an egg, let alone cook it, and I had no clue how to sort and wash laundry, didn’t know how to cook anything other than grilled cheese and even that was likely to get burnt, had never cleaned a bathroom (except from my serving jobs working in restaurants… um gross!), had never successfully kept a room organized and cleaned. I didn’t have chores growing up, I’m sure my parents would’ve wanted to give me chores, but I was a pretty difficult kid from the get-go and I think expectations for me were just low. I didn’t do things well and efficiently from a young age, so having me do chores was more work (and a head-ache, I’m sure) for my mother than actually doing the work herself, and knowing that I’d just back-talk and complain the whole time, I pretty much forfeited all my life-skills learning opportunities. Also, I went to school from age 5 and on, most days I left my home and came back at 3 or 4. Things were done during the day: laundry and dinner prep and mopping of floors…. things I never really got to witness on a day to day basis to understand what really took place in the keeping of the home. At one point when I was a teen and my mother asked what I wanted to do when I grew up I said, “I want to be a housewife so I can do nothing like you.” Clearly, I had no grasp on reality! I must have thought the cleaning fairies visited or something. I had no idea how much work my mother was putting in behind the scenes! She always made it look so easy! For a long time, I just used the “I wasn’t trained for this” excuse, but I’m realizing that this is still no excuse really. It may explain a bit why I struggle, but it can not be a reason to accept this behavior from myself. There are many many blogs and books and mentors that are available to help gals like me who feel like they have no clue what they are doing in this house-keeping arena. God has given me many resources and much help.
I’m more of an artsy, creative brain, free spirited person. And that’s how God made me!– While it may be true that God has given me a creative mind and a pretty ‘go with the flow’ attitude, it does not mean that I can do the work He has laid out for me poorly. Where in God’s Word does it say, “if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat… except for artists and musicians and free spirits”? oh wait it doesn’t! Just look at King David, he was a creative and musically gifted man, but He also did His work well as a shepherd, warrior, and as King of Israel. We never heard tale in the Bible of David not being very organized in his kingly duties because he was more of a creative type. Being gifted in one area is not an excuse to slack off in another!
God desires for us to do things decently and in order
“But all things should be done decently and in order.” -1 Corinthians 14:40
“for God is not a God of confusion but of peace” -1 Corinthians 14:33a
These verses above are giving instructions for how things are to be conducted in God’s house. These are directly speaking of the proper use of spiritual gifts such as tongues and prophecies. I believe that we can gain multiple applications though: if God desires for things to be done decently and in order in His houses of worship, then that tells us home-managers how things should be conducted in our houses as well. It goes on to say that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. We as Christ followers who are longing to be like Jesus are called to not be people of confusion. Doing things decently and in order brings peace to our lives and homes.
Sure it takes work! The Bible says: “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8) We can’t buy into the lies of the world and the lies of psychology on this…. those are worldly fables! We must discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (being more like God). It is work, and that’s okay…. it’s worth it! It holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come!
Now for What I am NOT SAYING
I’m not saying that if you have dishes and laundry piled up sometimes you are sinful. I’m not saying that when you have interruptions in your schedule, or when you sporadically choose to stop the chores and instead to go jump on the trampoline with your little ones is sinful. It isn’t… that’s the life of a mom! I am not saying that, please hear me! I am saying that if this is a life-style of disorder and unstructured time, if you know at the end of most of your days that you absolutely wasted time doing the wrong things at the wrong time (even if they were “good” things), that is what I’m talking about. I do not want to put an unrealistic burden on anyone or on myself. I’m not talking about a house that looks like a Better Homes and Gardens magazine or keeping a schedule like a military Sargent. Some of you will read this and be in the same boat as I am, needing to struggle and fight against the sin of self-centerdness and sensuality, and to embrace a life of self-discipline for the sake of godliness. Others will need to examine their lives and hearts and if you see that you are working with eager hands as unto the Lord, know that the house may still be messy and there will still be interruptions. I am talking about realistic organization. I say all this because my goal here is freedom, not bondage! I want freedom from my sin of disorganization, and I want that for others who struggle in this area, but I want some of you mamas to know that His grace is sufficient for you…. and you can’t do it all! Some people need to slow down and relax a bit… Martha Martha…slow down, sit with Jesus, read books with your kids, don’t panic if there are a few crumbs on the floor. Others of us need to get to praying and working. Balance and heart examination is key.
Here are some of my documents that I use for scheduling what to do with my time! These are my life- savers!!!!
Home Routines- Abiding Woman
family schedule template – Abiding Woman (this is one for you to fill out yourself)