I love this picture, probably because it shows God lovingly holding His creation in His hands, ordered, protected and set in place to serve His purpose.
This is the time of every new year when thoughts turn to resolutions or goals - promises and hopes for the new year.
I love to start each new year with a house that is clean and organized, laundry that is washed, dried, ironed or folded and put away. Christmas decorations must be put up before the new year otherwise I feel like I'm behind before I start. To that end I have spent the last several days sorting, rearranging, organizing, throwing away... My pantry has been organized and the cabinet under my sink wiped down and cleaned. The recycling has been taken away and I've delivered my box of items to Goodwill. It's been like a little mini-manic phase and I've loved it!
As I've cleaned and rearranged, my thoughts have been on what God has for me in 2013. I seemed to be particularly insightful while trying to put 800 spilled toothpicks back in their tiny little box. They had spilled out into a basket and it seemed wasteful to throw them away so I settled in to get them back where they belong and tidy up the basket.
At first it was easy to pick them up - they were everywhere and all I had to do was grab handfuls and put them in the box. I then had to be sure that they were all lined up perfectly so they would fit back in the box. It was mindless work but it felt good every time the rows evened out and more and more fit back in the box. Some people - maybe most people - wouldn't take the time to do that, and under some circumstances neither would I. But today it was calming and satisfying to make that mess orderly again.
I thanked God for the gift of satisfaction in bringing order to chaos. Don't you love it when you finally get that closet cleaned out, or your car! What about the stack of mail on your desk waiting for attention? How great does that feel to finally get to the bottom and deal with that last piece? My husband gets that feeling when he's cleaned up the garage - or even his man cave. It doesn't happen often, but when it does... oh boy!
I wish my life was like that. I have worked hard to accomplish the tasks on my list and my home shows it.
That's just the outside, though. I wish it was that easy to make ME all spit and polished like that. Having an orderly home makes me feel good. It makes me feel like a good girl. It doesn't MAKE ME GOOD.
Wouldn't it be great if we could let go of the things of this world like we let go of the recycling? If ordering our thoughts and feelings was as easy as reorganizing the pantry?
Wouldn't you love to throw away anything that is not a fruit of the Spirit like you can throw away salad dressing with an expiration date of January 2009?
God is a God of order, and being made in His image we crave that order as well. It doesn't always show, but we all feel and work better when our space in ordered. That's especially true for our inner space. That inner space requires the touch of God's hand. While I don't believe that I ever do anything apart from God and without Him, I don't have to have prayer before I clean out the closet or the refrigerator. God has given me an organized soul and I simply use that particular gift when needed.
When it comes to my inner self, though, I know I can't deal with that on my own. I have attitudes, fears, and sometimes dreams and wishes that either do not honor Him, or just don't fit into His plan for me. It's not as easy to send them to the recycle bin or rearrange them in a more orderly fashion. Sometimes I just want to keep them where they are. Unlike the spilled toothpicks that can't argue or resist, I put up quite a fight sometimes to keep things that aren't good for me.
I have many goals for this year, but the primary one is to become more like my Creator - the God of order and purpose. I'm going to allow him to pry my greedy little fingers off of me and take out the recycling and the garbage, rearrange and reorganize, clean and polish until my reflection is more like him.
I don't want to be the whitewashed cup that sparkles and shines on the outside, but is filthy and gross on the inside.
Happy New Year to you all. Whatever your plans for welcoming the new year, I hope you will remember with me that just as we take great pleasure in ordering our homes, God takes great pleasure in ordering our lives. No one does it better.
Let your first act of 2013 be a prayer of dedication to God. There is no better way to start.
Following the plan,