Time to go; don’t be late. Leaving the house: got my gadgets, got my glasses, wore the right clothes, used mouthwash, locked the door, got my keys, oops. Once again the well-ordered life evades me. A new set of plans begins, call for a ride and worry about the keys later.
Living a well-ordered life can be monumental in our multi-tasking, distracted world. Is it that we are trying too hard to do too much? Or is this how life is, so we have to get with it or be left behind. Unfortunately, what is left behind might be something more valuable than my keys, like my well-being and peace of mind, my family or even my faith.
What I’m discovering, when driven to distraction, I need to stop and check in with my soul. Is it “well with my soul,” or has distraction filled my inner life too?
A well-order life is a beautiful thing and it doesn’t depend on a fully put together exterior. The pursuit of a well-ordered life is a choice to be uncluttered even when all around is chaos and confusion. “Set you affections on things above,” the Bible says. (Col. 3:2) The difficulty I face is not just a scattered mind but disordered desires. I love how the apostle Paul was able to sift it all down to “this one thing I do.” It is the one thing above all things that kept his life on course. That one thing was to be like Jesus. (Phil 3:13)
Pure water contains one thing, H2O. Okay, technically water is two elements, but you get the point. Moving from inner chaos to inner simplicity can only be accomplished by grace and more grace. By grace and some healthy soul-searching, we can gain inner victory over our disordered affections, but we have to get to the root of the problem. We must do more than separate ourselves from temptation, we need to uproot the wanting of lusts and passions that will only corrupt and confine us. “The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them, will make little progress,” says Thomas a Kempis.
“The greatest obstacle, indeed the only obstacle, is that we are not free from passions and lust, that we do not try to follow the perfect way of the saints.” Thomas a Kempis
The result of a well-ordered inner life is the ability to live fully in the moment, to be present to God and others, to be free compulsions and maybe get out the door without forgetting anything important. This inner beauty is cultivated by allowing God’s presence to dwell within us daily.
Order my steps by your word! Do not let any sin dominate me! Psa. 119:133