Solomon offers a powerful approach for us to use as we think about change. How we think determines who we become and how we act.
“For as [one] thinks in his heart, so is he.”
The power of this idea is captured in the following popular maxim:Sow a thought, reap an act; Sow an act, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap destiny.
When I see my clients backsliding onto old patterns of disorganization, which is very common in the beginning, I gently remind them that change will come when new thoughts and attitudes change. The desired behavior will follow. It is my hope that I can challenge them to think in constructive ways that lead to order. After the plan, new structures are placed into their life, and then, they must repeat untill newly formed skills become habits.
Confessions from a tired housewife: “I woke one morning last week with gauze over my head. I sensed a real shift in my vision and thinking. You might say I had mental fog. I’m sure there have been days that you too have waddled through, not knowing if you’re tired, getting sick, or just emotionally spent. For whatever reason, the gauze stayed with me for several days. Unable to focus or function in my daily routines, the TV became a close friend, only next to the computer.
Flipping the channels was my exercise de jour ‘Oh Look- Home Shopping Channel! WOW- Never saw that before – Wow- I could really use that- Yawn – I really need that! ‘‘Hello, Yes, I’d like to order- Why? Well, I just know that it’s going to make my life easier and I can’t wait for it to get here – ship it fast!’Three hours later I awake on the couch, still feeling tired and hungry, but no motivation to move. I must feed the cat; the kids can make PB&J sandwiches for dinner. Oh, I haven’t checked my e-mails today. I wonder if Susan has responded to my letter. Yawn- Why can’t I seem to focus? Two hours later and $300.00 spent on books, pots, and linens, I turn off the computer.Feelings of guilt begin to mount.Tempers begin to shorten. As I turn from the desk, I notice that every square inch of ground is littered with something… clothes, books, laundry, papers, food wrappers, and cans – you get the picture.I’ll deal with this tomorrow.’What a pity,’ you are sure to be thinking. ‘This poor soul is in real need of help.’ Help is right! But the shame and fear of not living up to others’ standards keep me from seeking the help I desperately need. So the cycle continues.”
How much time and energy do we spend trying to attain something, whether emotionally or physically, which we believe we need in order to be happier, more fulfilled, or make life easier?
Common examples of where our consuming society gets caught up in the “chase” include:
- Believing we need someone’s approval.
- Believing the next “planner” will organize our lives (instead of organizing it ourselves.)
- Believing that some better-than-botox cream will make us beautiful.
- Believing that our child needs a specific brand item or toy to be happy.
- Believing that we are responsible for someone else’s happiness.
- Believing that we are responsible for “fixing” problems beyond our control.
If I change what I Believe, I will change my Thinking. If I change my Thinking, I will change my Feelings. If I change my Feelings, I will change my Actions. If I change my Actions, I will change my Life.
“I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints— but let them not return to folly.”
-Psalm 85:8 (NIV)
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”
-Job 22:21 (NIV)
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints.”
-1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)
God desires and gives peace to His people. When we BELIEVE what He says and begin to trust that He desires to pour His blessings on us, His people, then our thoughts and actions will follow. I have heard my clients equate the organizing process to war. I agree. We are at war with our old thoughts and actions. We are at war with what we believed will make us happy and fulfilled. We are at war with our materialistic world. It takes courage and patience to win this war, but the good news is that we can win it! It may take someone trained in professional organizing to equip us with the right weapons to win, and it may take those who are willing to pray for us during the struggle.
When victory is secure, we like warring nations, might compose a “Peace Treaty.
“I suggest the following as a guideline from a very insightful woman. Peace Treaty” I will decorate and make peace with all the battle scars that you come with. I will not complain about the past and how you came into my possession. I will rejoice that you have gone up in value and that you are a good investment. I will make a joyful noise within your walls because you have nurtured many good memories within the years I have lived here. You have witnessed restoration within the family, healing and health for_______. You have felt hands climb your stairs; you have heard cries for food and delightful laughter.
I have had the joy of many family meals, starting new traditions within your walls. You have seen me deal with sorrow, disappointments, tears, joy, and laughter and when it all subsided there was a spirit of intense gratitude and peace. The joy of the Lord dwells within these hallowed walls and within my heart. Today, I declare that I will begin to nest and settle within your partitions. I will give of myself to whoever walks within your doors…whether to give a listening ear or feed a hungry body or soul. I will love and nurture, weep and laugh, and imprint the love of Jesus on each person who crosses the threshold of your entrance. I will give special attention to angels who visit un-aware. I will sing of His praises to the rising of the sun and the going down of the same. I will pray and read to strengthen myself and know who I am in Christ Jesus. I will rely on His Holy Spirit to direct and order my footsteps. I will give thanks for the gifts He has given: family, friends, and the furry creations that rumble throughout this house in play. I will share and give of the abundance that He has brought into my life.I ask that He will give me the willingness to release what needs to be released with wisdom and great pleasure. I will grow old with satisfaction; yet remain young in heart and spirit. I will move aside as I possess your bulwark and bring change. Much of your decayed history will be cast aside as we endeavor to restore you to a former time of newness. Your hearth has given warmth and pleasure as we have started and finished our day in your inviting glow. My discontent has given way to contentment. My disgruntled spirit has surrendered to willingness and blessing. My inner child has grown curious as to where the future days will lead us. And you have become the central point of it all.”
-Eileen Koff, CPO