Understanding the Heart of Order

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Genesis chapter 1 begins with a beautiful picture of the creation of the world. We see our God as a God of order. He fashioned this world in six days, with structure, order and purposeful preparation. He did not create the lights for day and night (day 4) without first separating light and darkness (day 1). Fish and birds were carefully put into place (day 5) only after the sea and sky were designed (day 2). And land animals were only created (day 6) after a fertile earth was established (day 3).

There was order with each passing day. And there was no rush either. He could have easily fashioned everything in the blink of an eye. And yet He spread out his plan into tangible, daily steps. He thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Every aspect was good in His eyes. And there was intentional restful intervals. We see evening and morning passing before the next day of work begins. We see a separation of the seventh day of creation as an designated day of rest.

As we are created in His very image, I believe God has designed us to be creatures of order. God worked in an ordered, simple way, and we are commissioned to follow in this example. If we keep this vision in the foremost of our thinking, that God fashioned you to be orderly in your homemaking and lifestyle, than this goal will be a rock to stand upon. If the pursuit of order is based solely because of our own desires or comparing ourselves with others, they will have no lasting foundation and our desires, goals, and aim will quickly flutter away. We need to do it for the Lord and there it will be blessed.

Is clutter and disorder in our lives a good representation of Jesus Christ? Chaos in our lives may just be a sign or clue that our relationship with Christ is probably askew. If there is disorder, stress, and clutter, we may just want to step back and evaluate our hearts. Am I submitting to your design for order, God? Or is ME on the throne in my home and I cannot let go. Make sure Jesus is the Lord of your home, submit to His design, and He will guide you each step of the way.

Order requires planning. Do you have a specific time designated to plan? Meal planning, housecleaning planning, etc. God gave each tree, plant, vegetable, animal, and mankind a specific purpose. In a similar fashion, everything in our home and life should have a specific intentional purpose. If it doesn’t have a fruitful purpose, that it needs to be removed from our lives. Remember planning is a time saver. It prevents chaos. You might consider adopting the idea of taking a weekly planning retreat, which has provided me with this focused time to plan and prepare for the upcoming week.

Dear sisters, as we begin a new year, let us acknowledge our need for the Savior to enable us to be women of order, women whose heart’s desires flow from the beautiful design we have been fashioned to represent to this day and age. Thankfully His grace is amazing and will never fail us. There is no condemnation but grace and mercy to help pick us up every time we stumble and fall.

“Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

Take Action:

1. Evaluate your heart: Is my heart in submission to the Lord Jesus? Is my relationship with the Lord first in my life? Am I cultivating specific times to spend with Him at His feet?
2. Schedule in intentional periods of rest this year. Are there margins in your life?
Ideas: schedule in your vacations now, schedule weekly planning retreats, develop specific steps for preserving Sunday as your day of rest.
3. What one thing do I need to let go of this year that is hindering my relationship with the Lord and order in my life?
This may be facebook or some other form of technology, a draining relationship, an regular outside event you attend, a specific toy or gadget in your home.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (1 Cor. 14:33)

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

35 Responses to Understanding the Heart of Order

  1. Nena July 22, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I want to thank you for such an amazing blog! I recently happened upon it, and your words always hit me at just the right moment. I am playing catch-up a bit, but you have helped me to remember why it is I am so much more content with an orderly home. I believe the home can be a heaven on earth, and I am so glad for people like you who help me to remember and reach for this!

  2. Katie January 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Hi. I am a Covenant seminary wife/student and I love your blog (and have recommended it to many). I have a few questions. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this topic (planning). What are your priorities? How do you keep your “to-do”lists simple? Can you give us an idea of your daily routine? Do you have certain errand days, finances day, ect.?
    Also, do you coupon at all? I am not an extremists, but I do several hours a week worth (which saves us about $200 + a month). It takes a good bit of time and thought, and I just wondered if it fit into “simplicity” for you at all?
    Thanks for all your thoughts!
    Katie

  3. Hope January 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi. Thanks for the encouragement. I was wondering if u have any tips on how to deal in a godly way with a very disorderly husband. He is very helpful in many ways and has a servant heart but I find it hard when he creates so much mess. We’ve spoken about it often and I’ve tried to quietly and repeatedly put away the things he leaves out/undone. But I can’t seem to get past the idea what he’s doing is unloving and it causes me feelings of resentment and anger. I suspect I need to change the way I think. Do u have any thoughts that may help?

    • Carrie January 15, 2011 at 4:19 am #

      Hope-
      I struggle with the EXACT same thing. My husband is loving and servant hearted as well, but is natrually messy and leaves stuff out or makes littles messes very quickly without even realizing it. He tries so hard but is just not gifted in being orderly. I’ve learned over the last couple years to not whine or complain about it but to either simply let it go (which is difficult to do oftentimes!) and force myself to not dwell on the mess. I have to not allow my mind and feelings to take it personally, like he doesn’t care that it bothers me, because I know that he does care and tries but struggles. I try to remember to pray for him but most importantly pray for my own patience, kindness, gentleness, and to be humble and serve him by picking up after him without a word of grumbling. This is a daily (many times a day!) struggle for me… but God is using it to grow me in many ways.

      Even so, I would also love some help and maybe some encouragement about this as well!

  4. emily green January 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    lindsay,
    i wanted to let you know that i posted about (and linked to) your amazing posts on balancing nutrition … excited to share.

  5. Anna January 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I loved this part of your post: “If we keep this vision in the foremost of our thinking, that God fashioned you to be orderly in your homemaking and lifestyle, than this goal will be a rock to stand upon. If the pursuit of order is based solely because of our own desires or comparing ourselves with others, they will have no lasting foundation and our desires, goals, and aim will quickly flutter away.”

  6. Daniella January 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I thought I would add my thoughts to the mix too… Lindsay I can tell where your heart is, and I respect this post in the encouragement to make our homes as peaceful and calm as possible so that we are ABLE to serve, nurture, and provide hospitality. However I also would like to caution that we, as women serving the Lord, sometimes so easily lose sight of Who it is that gives us order in our lives, and what greater purpose we are serving.
    It is essential that we turn to the Lord in our homemaking, but God has such a unique purpose for each beautiful, strong, life-giving woman that He has created, and I fear that women will read this post and feel that a perfect, orderly home is something that they MUST live up to, and that if they are not in a season where their home is in order then they are failing: I know this is not your intended message, but we women so often compare ourselves to others to our very own detriment, do we not? Remember, we can turn to the Lord with our heart’s desires to make our home orderly and peaceful (this is my own heart’s desire for an orderly home, routine, and eating natural foods when we can), but when we STRIVE and put that goal at the front of our priorities, however good the intention is, it may get in the way of us seeing other things that God may wish for each individual woman to focus on. We are each so beautifully and uniquely made that it can be harmful to present the message that “chaos in our lives may just be a sign or clue that our relationship with Christ is probably askew.” We are meant to create order, yes, but being as human as we are, we can only try so hard to create order. It is Jesus who is the Order in our lives, who makes our own messes clean, who redeems even the dirtiest closet (metaphorically speaking, of course).
    As a sister in Christ to all of the women reading this, I know that we are all pursuing the Lord, and I am grateful to have this blog to read for all of the encouragement and ideas and thoughts that Lindsay provides. I mean only to add my thoughts to the ongoing, thoughtful discussion of how we are to pursue God in our homes and our lives. Blessings.

    • Kamille January 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks Daniella–I agree with your thoughts and sentiments and the way in which you worded your thoughts.

      Lindsey–I see where your heart is as well, to empower mothers, wives to the potential in which God would have them. I think I’m concerned with the imagery you use to compare motherhood. It would seem as if order is the perfect image. When looking at creation and God calling everything into being, he was definitely purposeful and had order to his creation; however, there was also a creative painter, composer, storyteller inside of him. I guess what I’m saying is not all mothers are gifted in creating that order (not too strong on the J of Myers-Briggs & I know that’s part of your post here)… they are a bit more spontaneous (the P’s of M-B). In reading your post, the mothers who are designed with the gift of order, the ones who enjoy budgeting, making weekly meal plans, doing taxes, creating flowcharts & such will be able to relate. They see God as the God of order and resonates well with them. However, there are the moms who are designed with the opposite. They may not create the most clutter free home, but it’s more hospitable in accepting anyone who enters their door (not to say a woman of order is not & could not be this). I am fortunate to have a bit organization & order under my belt, but it’s not as strong as maybe yourself. And I feel the definition of order in your post appears too tightly connected with a sense of perfection, even though you ended with walking in grace & mercy. Just my thoughts.

  7. Lori January 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you…part of my New Year’s resolution was to limit computer time, especially email and facebook. I get so much more accomplished now and have more time for my little one! :)

  8. Amanda January 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    So wonderful! I’m printing this out as inspiration! Thank you Lindsay!

  9. Tonya January 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    This is truly a wonderful post for the new year. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. Tammie@SimpleHealthyTasty January 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Lindsay,

    You have inspired me more then once about this topic. In fact I recently published a menu plan eBook with a year of menu plans done for you. I’m giving away a few copies tonight on my blog. I was bound and determined to make a plan that worked for me. When I saw how time consuming and tedious it was I thought maybe others could benefit from my work too. Now that I have family meals planned I’m now working on better planning my days. I came here for some more inspiration and this post was at the top! I just had to say THANKS SO MUCH for all you do and being such an inspiration to me!!

    With much love and appreciation, Tammie

  11. Just His Best January 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Do you know how many years I used the excuse of being disorganized by saying, “That’s just the way God made me.”? God is a God of order and there is beauty in order. While I yearn to not struggle with this daily, I know that the Lord has used this so I lean on Him and I am sloooowly, so slooooowly being refined!

  12. Heather L January 13, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Thanks for this post! I always struggle with wanting to have a perfect home for my husband, and so sometimes he has to tell me this, that, or the other thing can wait. =) It is definitely a balancing act to decide what really does need to be done, and what truly isn’t important this moment. Thanks for reminding us to plan and make these conscious decisions.

  13. Renee January 13, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Thanks for the great insight and questions. Made me think! I disagree with one thing…
    But why not rest on the true Sabbath Day, the 7th day. Saturday. God hallowed it….

  14. Renee January 13, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    I agree with Ashley. I also disagree with this post. There are times in life when your home is going to be cluttered. I’ve been struggling with this topic for a long time and I feel that the amazing women of Christ around me have taught me that a spotless home is not a priority. Rather, people are. Yet, I do believe with your theme of having your house a hospitable place for others and for them to be exposed to the love of Christ. Lately, some friends and family around me have had some serious medical issues and some have had emergencies. Although I hate that these situations exist, I love the chance to serve. Many times this means dropping everything and going to their aide. This also means leaving the house behind. It’s just not a priority. And because my house is usually cluttered and messy to some degree I don’t believe this reflects on my relationship with Christ in a poor manner. Rather, I’m sacrificing my desire for neatness for the sake of others. I apologize that this is so long winded and I continue to enjoy your insight and wisdom. Maybe I took this post the wrong way and I don’t mean to come off as rude and offended. It’s just my different point of view. :)

    • Lindsay January 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      My heart’s aim with that portion of this post was to encourage us all to make sure our relationship with the Lord is our first priority, even before serving others. The story of Martha and Mary comes to mind. Martha was getting caught up in all the preparations and service, while Mary chose the better, that of sitting at the feet of Jesus. When Jesus is first, all other aspects of our lives will fall into place.

  15. Debra Estes January 13, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    I find that the one thing that robs my time and creats chaos in my day is the internet. It’s so easy to get “sucked in” and ignore the things around you. I was wondering what you do about your computer time? Do you have a specific time of day you allow yourself on with a set time limit? I have found that after I am done on the computer doing what I want to do that I need to just turn it off for the rest of the day. That way it’s a conscious decision if I turn it back on. Since the computer/internet is a big part of what you do I was hoping you could share your boundaries in this area. Thanks!

    • Lindsay January 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      I actually have a post scheduled for tomorrow on this very topic. I am hoping to get some good ideas from you all as well! Turning it off completely is an excellent idea!

  16. bobcat January 13, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Thanks for this.

    I always wondered, since being a little girl, why it took God 7 days to make the earth, creatures on it, etc. I never really questioned God’s logic or Way of doing things, but by the same token, I always thought, “surely God didn’t need to take that much time to do this.” Like you said, He could have done it all in the blink of an eye.

    Maybe part of the lesson, also, is to be deliberate with what we do. Aside from just order, there was a plan (which you alluded to with the sequence of how things were done in those 7 days). Certain things have to come before certain other things. We shouldn’t just expect it all to get done at once.

    I just discovered your blog, and have really been enjoying it. Congrats on your pregnancy!

  17. Christina Brown January 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    That was great! I have promised God to get my house in order this year starting now and I’m working on it. However it is a bit overwelming and I feel like just throwing everything out and starting all over again. lol but that would not be using the things God gave me wisely. I understand God started with nothing and focused on one thing a day pretty much, but where do I start? From room to room, to toys, and clothes, to planning my days, to finances and other things, it is a bit overwelming to me. Any advice?

    • Lindsay January 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      I would sit down with your husband and pray about it together. What area needs the most attention? Make a list of five different areas and just work on one thing at a time. Don’t try to tackle every area at once, as that certainly would be overwhelming. The Lord will bless you!

  18. Ashley January 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I completely disagree that having chaos in one’s life means that one’s relationship with Christ is askew. Different seasons in life can bring chaos and confusion, and that is when we learn to trust in God and put faith in him. I can plan my entire life out, but not everything will always meet a plan. God ultimately has the plan, and if that involves a time of chaos in my life, then I will willingly follow and trust that throughout the struggle will come a greater understanding of his character and provision in my life.

    • Jenny January 13, 2011 at 6:52 am #

      I agree. Chaos may indicate a heart issue, but does not necessarily. We should certainly reflect on our circumstances, but we can’t assume that it does or doesn’t with respect to ourselves or, more importantly, with respect to anyone else.

      • Anna January 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

        I do agree with this too. Sometimes clutter or chaos will be out of our control (but not always, or even often, I think). Trying to keep everything perfectly orderly can be a stumbling block to perfectionism and control for me.

    • Lindsay January 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      My heart was that it could be a sign of one’s relationship with the Lord being askew, not necessarily always. There are certainly different seasons of life. My main goal was to communicate that above all else we need to make sure our relationship with the Lord is our first priority.

  19. Leslie January 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    This is random, but just wanted you to know I tagged PH in my blog post today. I love your blog and your online ministry. My blog is of a totally different nature, and since I love yours, I thought perhaps I’d advertise it a little. Hope that’s OK.

  20. Mommy January 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    That was good lindsay. I like how you interpreted the creation of the world. When I read it before, I think I read it as a fact. The Old Testament was written to us as an example how to live. My husband always prays before he reads his Bible (now so do I) so that God can open our eyes and heart to see our spiritual condition and to accept his word. Another thought that came to my mind about the management of housekeeping is that so much of it has to do with self-discipline. My mother was the kind of woman who had lots of children, managed a farm, worked, provided a hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the house was always spotless. Honestly, I think the only thing that made her do it all was the fact that it had to be done and no one else was going to do it for her. I know I am not like her but she is someone I look up to. For her housekeeping was like common sense.

  21. Narelle January 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I love this and totally agree… I’ve even blogged about it briefly myself!

    The best thing hubby and I have done to this end is for him to take the children out each Saturday – we’re only just getting it to the ‘workable habit’ stage, so each week it works better than the week before… but I must say I LOVE my weekly planning hours – anywhere from 2 to 4.5… they are such a blessing to ALL of us!

  22. AmyD January 12, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    I love that we are created in God’s image and thus creatures of order too, but I can elevate having order over the needs of my spouse and children. Then I am worshiping order rather than the creator of order. I certainly do not have this figured out, so any thoughts on the balance of order/freedom would be great. :) For the most part, I am sure it is a matter of submitting to the Lord and letting Him guide me through the myriad of situations He brings to each of us each day….why is it that I still want it to fit neatly into some system?

  23. Hollie January 12, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Thank you for this reminder. It is so easy to get caught up in unfruitful things that drain our day leaveing us stressed out, and we miss out on the joy we could have had that day. I know this is an area I need to work on. One thing I need to do is fight the urge to get on the computer in the morning, because what was ment to be a quick check of emails, ends up draining at least an hour out of my day. I need to let the computer be a welcomed reward for getting everything done that I need to in the morning, and check it while my children have some free play time. As others have said, this is a timely message, Thank you!

  24. erin January 12, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    thanks for this! it’s convicting and profound:) i appreciate your posts very much.

  25. GinaG January 12, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    This was a very timely message for me as well! Part of my prayer and consideration over the past several days has been about how to bring more order to the “controlled chaos” that I have now. This was very encouraging – thank you!

  26. Renee Stam January 12, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I love this post! many thing to ponder about after reading it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Stefanie Mallory January 12, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    This message was very timely. I was just discussing with my husband of how I want to be purposeful each day. I have certain priorities that need to get done. Just five things but 5 big things to maintain the order of the house. These 5 things are: 1. Reading my bible 2. working out 3. making a healthy dinner 4. keeping the house clean 5. Additional cleaning: laundry, vacuum, bathrooms, etc. These all on most days should be a priority. Soon I will be adding Teaching Ashlee to that list.