While going to seminary I worked for a filter company. We sold all kinds of air filters. I was with them for a little over three years. During that time I managed the warehouse, helped install cleanrooms, and did basic service calls. I would always try to change my role as the seasons changed. There was nothing better than working in the warehouse during the winter months. Once spring arrived it was nice to get out and travel all over the greater Boston area installing filters.
At that time we had the accounts of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There were seasons I would go and work on one of those campuses. We spent the day going from building to building, office to office changing all the air filters in each HVAC unit. There was one office on the campus of MIT that always left me speechless. The room was large, probably 20′ x 20′. When you opened the door there was one small pathway to the professor’s desk. The rest of the floor was filled with piles of papers and books. Stacks of papers so tall you had to wonder how in the world they did not just topple over. Piles of books that stood close to five feet tall. Stack upon stack, pile upon pile.
We changed filters twice a year. Each time we were on campus the staff were notified so they could remove anything that was in front of the units we needed to access. Every time we looked into that office we simply put a check in the “unable to access” box and moved on to the next room.
When the piles grow
I think about that professor’s office every now and then. I open my office door and am not happy with the chaos that I see. Life has been busy and the piles have slowly grown. Stacks of books have started to form in different places. I can only function in such an environment for so long. Eventually, the chaos begins to negatively impact the way I think and how I work. When that happens I force myself to name a day as the “de-clutter” day. The only priority for that day is to get to the place where I can see the top of my desk and every paper finds a home, even if it is the circular file.
Today was that day. Sunday afternoon I stood behind my desk and prepared to go home following worship. My heart was filled with dread. I did not want to come back to this office on Monday. The chaos made me uncomfortable. I knew it was going to be hard to be productive amidst the piles. All other agendas slipped away and Monday was now a “de-clutter” day.
By mid-afternoon, I had made good progress. I had emptied my shredder twice. The garbage can was overflowing and I could see the top of my desk. Who in the world had thought that some of this stuff was valuable? Moving a few more files I uncovered the copy of “Jesus Calling” that I keep on my desk.
In the Midst of My Mess
I slowed down for a moment and opened to today’s reading…
“Trust Me in the midst of a messy day. Your inner calm – your peace in My Presence – need not be shaken by what is going on around you. Though you live in a temporal world, your innermost being is rooted and grounded in eternity. When you start to feel stressed, detach yourself from the disturbances around you. Instead of desperately striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My Peace.
Seek My Face, and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective.
Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid.
The Peace I give is sufficient for you.” Jesus Calling – August 26
The chaos and disorder of my office cannot touch the peace of Jesus who lives within me. Relax, take a deep breath – the disorder you see does not define you – “your innermost being is rooted and grounded” in the One who spoke and called all things to life. Peace is not found within an ordered office, or ordered life – peace is found in the One who works to redeem, transform, restore, heal, the wounds of disorder into something that speaks of life, hope, healing, and grace.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good
May the rest of today be filled with wonder and amazement as you are yet again surprised by the gift & grace of God.