When I was at home visiting the States earlier this month, I rediscovered my love for organizing. My mom was in the middle of a move, so I had to go through all my stuff and separate the keepers from the trash. The stuff I did keep, I organized. Random stuff I had kept for decades, I threw out. And it felt great.
So great, that when I returned to Korea and woke up early due to jet lag, I reorganized my room here, too––the drawers, the surfaces, my entire bookshelf. It involved throwing away a good number of random items and relocating others. And again, it felt amazing.
Space to Think
I’m often lazy. I toss things wherever is most convenient, not necessarily storing them in a logical or helpful place. Over time, I can forget where things are, that I even own them. Other things I literally trip over as I try to go about my daily tasks.
The same can go for my thought life. I don’t always take time to organize my thoughts in a way that makes sense. I tuck this thought away here, this feeling there––wherever they will slip away from view most quickly, not necessarily where they belong. The result? A bit of mental chaos.
New Year Clarity
In my last post of 2017, I shared a feeling of anticipation that I had about 2018. And I have to say, that excitement has only grown. Partly because it’s simply time. God is opening doors, giving me a green light for new things, infusing me with more specific vision for my future. But also, because I have been and am continuing to put things in order.
When things are organized, put away in the places they should, the pathways are cleared. I manage to find ways to move around my room no matter how cluttered the floor is, but now that it is relatively clear, I can go wherever I want with so much more ease. Mentally, I feel similar at the moment. A lot of mental chaos has been sorted out, and now I can move forward much more nimbly.
Some specific things I’ve put in order:
1. Learning to put down burdens that aren’t mine to carry.
2. Understanding what I want separate from what is “practical,” “logical,” or expected of me.
3. Choosing JOY no matter what emotional/spiritual atmosphere I find myself in.
Allow me to elaborate..
Going After the Good
There are always problems going on around us––in our immediate families or communities, at our workplaces, amongst our friends, and in the world at large for certain––and I am a problem solver. Or perhaps you could say I’m a “fixer.” I like to find solutions to problems and fix broken people.
I don’t think that’s a bad impulse. (It’s helpful in creative pursuits, in teaching, in relationships, and in life in general. Often the other option is quitting. Wanting to fix is a more productive option than quitting.) But I’m realizing that burn-out isn’t the only problem with such an approach to life. The even bigger problem is: I don’t want my life to be dictated by the bad.
If I see it as my job to fix, my choices are all reactions to problems, to darkness, to the bad. And I just simply believe there is a better motive for living.
I’ll call it, the good.
The Truer Truths
I have never been one to shy away from hard truths. In fact, I’m usually quite the opposite. I dig down into the hurt and process the pain. I cry, sob, talk it out, and encourage others to do the same. I still think all of that is important. Pain is a crucial part of the process. If we can’t face the heaviness inside, we can’t truly be free.
But right now I’m taking hold of a different vital truth, one that balances the pain process in a critical way: JOY triumphs.
Beauty wins. Love is victorious. Goodness and glory prevail.
All pain, darkness, and confusion are temporary. They’re going to fade. They will die. In heaven, I will no longer be a fixer, because there will be nothing to fix––nothing serious anyway. So that can’t be my true identity. At the least, that can’t be the fulness of who I am.
I’m learning to see myself differently, to see my truer identities. I’m learning to see what God sees in me.
Worshipper. Creator of beautiful things. Delighter in goodness. Singer, dancer, celebrator, girl of laughter, beauty, and music. Storyteller, encourager, affirmer, learner, nerd. Loved, cherished, pursued, desired. In awe, in love.
That’s who I am. And who I’ll always be. And knowing that, having that clear in my mind, changes everything. It puts everything in its proper place.