Thursday, March 1, 2007

Disorderly Conduct

There's an adage that goes something like this: If you want to know what's really important to you, if you want to see clearly what your real priorities are, then take a look inside your checkbook and your calendar. I think that's sage advice- how you spend your time and your money are good indicators of how you are living your life and what you give emphasis and attention to. However, in my case, that would not necessarily be a good indicator of my immediate situation. My husband and I are pretty clear and determined about where our money goes and we do a decent job of organizing our time, covering the bases. So, if you took a look at my checkbook or my calendar you might think that I've really got it going in a good direction. But you would be misled.

If you really want to get a good read on how well I'm managing my life, you'd get better accuracy by taking a look inside my car. That's the leading indicator of how disordered my life really is.

For example, yesterday in preparation for driving a group of kids on a field trip, I stood in the parking lot at my son's school with two plastic bags in my hands. I filled one of the bags with "stuff to keep that is in my minivan and shouldn't be" and the other bag I filled with...garbage. It was gross. Food wrappers, receipts, scratch paper, clumps of dog hair. Yukk! I mean, the inside of my van was so dirty that I was too embarrassed for a group of 6th grade boys to ride in it the way it was! Puh-lease!

It probably took about ten or fifteen minutes to do even just the quick version of the clean-up job, but it felt so much better to climb into the driver's seat once I had. I know that when my van gets to that point, that it's a clear indicator that I am running on overdrive - trying to do too much. When I don't have time to stop for just a couple of minutes to throw away the garbage, then I know that I'm headed in the wrong direction. When I'm paying attention to my life - how I organize and prioritize my resources- then I notice that I'm also taking the time to gather up the garbage at the end of the day's journey and toss it in the trash can. I even have a trash can set up between my driver's door and the door from the garage to the house just for that purpose. It's such an easy thing to do when it's done on a regular, daily basis. But when I just keep running and let the garbage pile up, then it takes a really concerted effort and I end up pretty grossed out by what I find lurking in the recesses and corners.

It's much the same with our souls. If we don't have a system set up to deal with the garbage we accummulate - if we aren't intentional about setting a reasonable pace for our lives so that we can take a little time each day to clear out the garbage, then we end up with a much bigger, grosser job on our hands later.

What's the leading indicator for disorderly conduct in your life? Do you have a system for dealing with the disorder?

There's another adage that applies here well - Confession is good for the soul. More on this tomorrow.

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