I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. As a realist - and one that has a few years under her belt - I'm honest about my weaknesses. One of which is consistency. Since New Year's resolutions take consistency to be effective, I avoid failure by not making them.
I choose rather, to aim for long-term change, attempted in very small steps over a period of time. That way I don't wallow in disappointment over my ineffectiveness at self-improvement and just quit (which I've been known to do with exercise and diet, to name a few).
There were a few years when I decided to try reading the Bible through in a year. Every March, as I slogged through Numbers, I would give up ... frustrated with myself yet again. Then one year I had a head-slapping moment. I asked myself, who says I have to finish this in one year? I'm such a rule-follower that it never occurred to me I could just kept reading. So I just kept going at my own speed. Someone needs to put together a plan for reading through the Bible in three years - that's much more do-able.
But this year, God keeps bringing the idea of New Year's Resolution to mind. Surprisingly it's not an outward change. It's not to run a marathon by the end of the year. It's not to lose 20 pounds by summer. It's not to read a classic novel. Maybe that's been my problem before. Every time I've tried to make a resolution, it's involved an outward result as the goal.
I think this year God is asking me to get to the root of many of my problems: a lack of self control, or self-discipline.
The more I think about it, this is the reason why many of my goals are never met. I choose to watch the morning news rather than read my Bible; I choose to vent in frustration rather than discipline my words; I choose to take a second helping rather than serving myself less food to begin with. It all comes down to a lack of self-control.
I did a Bible search for references to self control and here are a few:
Proverbs 25:28, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
1 Thessalonians 5:6, "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled."
Galatians 5:22-24, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
I believe God is calling me to address this area of my character this year, so that I can meet many other goals for my life.
One area that I want to change and will require self-control to maintain, is my home organization. While I'm basically an organized person, I had a major life-change two years ago which has impacted my ability to get and stay organized. Two years ago, God added two daughters to our family. My precious girls, Cathrine and Ruth, had an extremely deprived background in every area you can imagine, and require much more of my attention each day than we had anticipated. While this is a joy, it had a domino effect in every other area of my life - basically challenging me beyond my past experience.
As God has revealed my need for greater self-control, He is also showing me how getting organized will bring a great sense of peace and efficiency to our home and life.
So I'm starting on my home office. This month I'll be posting tips I've learned and already implement, and others I'll be learning and applying to my office. My first tip is a foundational truth about making changes. It comes from a book on child-raising - of all things. Dr. William Richardson, the author of "Loving Discipline" teaches on the three laws of learning. One of them is that learning takes two steps: 1) Stopping bad behavior, then 2) starting good behavior. The first step to organizing is to identify bad behaviors that got us disorganized in the first place.
Here are a few of my organizing bad habits:
1) Creating too many stacks of paper around my house. It's tidy, but disorganized. Why? Because I don't know where to put things "in the meantime" ... you know ... until I can get to them.
2) Starting too many different to-do lists. The problem - I have no system of capturing everything I need to do. I have so many projects going on at once that I don't know how to keep tasks organized somewhere so I don't forget about them.
3) Too many magazines saved in places around my house. I can't bear to part with them, and have no system for what to do after I've read them.
I know I have to deal with these bad habits before I can start good ones. Identifying the problems actually motivates me to tackle the problem. Throughout the month, I'll address my solutions to these three problems.
That's it for today. Please check in throughout the month for more office organizing tips. Whether your work space is a corner office downtown, a guest bedroom upstairs or your kitchen table, we can all benefit from a touch more organization.
In His Love,