Putting Things In Order

The Nitty-Gritty

During a recent trip home, I rediscovered my love for organizing things. Strange what can make a person feel alive. My mom was moving houses, so I had to go through all my old stuff, organize the keepers and trash the rest. It was so energizing!

So much so, that when I returned to Korea and woke up early due to jet lag, I reorganized my room here, too––all my drawers, surfaces, and my entire bookshelf. Can’t remember the last time I did that. It felt AMAZING.

Space to Think

Just as I can be lazy with my possessions, tossing them into whatever corner is most convenient, over time, losing things, tripping over things, and forgetting what it is I own, my brain can get similarly jumbled.

When I don’t take time to process and sort through my thoughts, I end up with some low-level mental chaos. It trip me up, and the most important priorities can get lost.

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 be, the pathways are cleared. Physically and mentally. Once things are organized, you can move forward much more nimbly.

Some specific things I’ve put in order:

1. Learning to put down burdens that aren’t mine.
2. Distinguishing what I want from what is expected of me by others.
3. Choosing JOY no matter what the atmosphere around me.

Allow me to elaborate…

Going After the Good

There are always problems going on around us––in our 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 certainly a more productive option than quitting.)

But I’m realizing that burnout 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.

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 am 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.



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

4 thoughts on “Putting Things In Order

  1. Wohoo! Go 2018! I am excited for you! Everytime I interact with you, you remind me of my sister, Madeline, in so many ways. This oragnization is one of them. I remember when we were kids we would both, without a doubt, have way too much stuff on our dressers, but hers was organized clutter and mine was just um… clutter. This definitely leads into other parts of life. For me I am learning that I need to just have less things because I will not keep up with organizing lots of items. I learned this in the beggining of the year with my spiritual walk as well. I had a good chunck of time where I just needed to ditch other things and be alone, just God and myself, and organize. It wasn’t as straight forward as organizing my sock drawer (which is actually still on the to-do list and I will probably never get done ^^) but putting first things first for the first time in a long time set so much else in its place, including JOY!

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