Grace and Discipline

Yesterday as I was tooling–code word for wasting time–around Facebook, I ran across a quote someone used as their status. {I have not attempted to verify if the person quoted actually said or wrote the following quote.} This is what the update said:

Elisabeth Elliot writes: “A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind. Muddled thinking inevitably results in muddled living. A house that is cluttered is usually lived in by people whose minds are also cluttered, who need to simplify their lives. This begins with simplifying and clarifying their thinking. Mind and life need to be freed from the “disorder of the unnecessary.”

Immediately I looked up and saw this:

My heart clinched and sunk to my stomach. I began to fumble with excuses. Each one seemed empty and my shoulders tensed tighter and tighter. Elisabeth Elliot is someone I look up to. She is a woman who loves Jesus with all her heart. She is a prolific writer and speaker. If anyone knows truth she does.

My inner dialog started, “You are not good enough. You can’t keep your house in order. You can’t even free your mind from the ‘disorder of the unnecessary.’ How can you possibly be a good wife or mother or friend if you live like this?”

The truth is I long to get organized and stay that way. I admire people with clear counters and clean kitchens and floors that don’t look like this:

I walk into other people’s houses and wonder how they do it. I claim my twin stole my organizational gene. I am not wired to keep things in neat and orderly.

Part of this clutter struggle is disciplining myself to pick-up, put-away, and clean-up as I go along. However the other part is I enjoy playing with my kids, writing, and doing other things too. I need grace, discipline, and wisdom.

Grace that a clutter-free house is not a clutter-free life. Nor does a spotless house make a happy home.

Discipline to find a system that works for me and to pick-up and organize–I do not enjoy it.

Wisdom to know when I need grace and when I need discipline. Condemnation is not good, but laziness is not either. It is a fine balancing act and right now my house is getting the raw deal.

But I had a blast playing Treo blocks with my kids. 😉

Let’s pray God gives us grace for ourselves, discipline to do what He calls us to do, and wisdom to know which we need at any given time.

What side do you fall on…too much grace or too hard on yourself? What systems of organization have you found helpful? How do you walk the line between grace and discipline?

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4 Responses to Grace and Discipline

  1. Tejas says:

    I honestly think I give myself too much grace most of the time, and then later realize how much grace I’ve given myself and come down hard on myself. Haha, it’s weird, you know? Oh well, I’m happy I’m not in control of the universe hahaha.

    • Angela_Mackey says:

      I’m so glad I am not in control of the universe either. I am probably a lot like you. It takes grace to allow clutter to accumulate and then I get frustrated that I let it go that far. 😉 UGH! What a mess I am!

  2. There will always be dust, dirt, and chaos around those who are busy living life.  I respectfully disagree with Elisabeth Elliot.  I’m not saying she is not busy.  It’s an issue of priorities.  If I led a simple life, my house and my desk would be the only things I’d have to worry about.  Instead, I have my patients, my staff, my friends, my kids, and my wife to care for on a daily basis.  It is reasonably good to be busy, just not too busy.

    • Angela_Mackey says:

      Yes living life is dirty and yes it is good to be “reasonably busy.” However I tend to go too far and not even try to live a disciplined life with things in some order. There is the problem. Grace to live a busy, messy life, but discipline to keep from being too chaotic. Thanks sweet husband for leaving a comment! 😉 Love you!

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