Truth of an Organized Life - Who you are, part 1

Monday, March 15, 2010

In order to know where you're going, you have to know who you are.

I heard those words the other day and realized that there is truth to them, especially as we deal with organized living. We have to realize and understand who we are and how God created us in order for us to have the lives we desire.

In my last 2 posts we talked about who God is and the importance of grasping that foundation. Now we need to look at who God made us to be.

You may be asking yourself, why? I know who I am -- I'm an unorganized person! While that may be true, knowing yourself, your personality, and your normal "bent" can be helpful in overcoming your unorganized tendencies.

Many times we like to use the excuse, "That's just not me; that's not my personality", when it comes to being an organized person. But as we learned in my previous posts, it's not about us! It is who God is and who He has called us to be, and with His help, we can be organized!

The first step in doing that is understanding how we're wired. Now, I'm not an expert in the field of personalities or behaviors, but I have read enough to know that most people fall under one of four major personality types. I am going to list them below with some of the more common characteristics as an overview:

The Sanguine (also known as an Otter or Expressive) - these types of people are known for having fun. They crave attention, affection, approval, and acceptance. They can talk about anything at any time and are usually optimistic with a bubbly personality and a good sense of humor. They are usually the life of the party, loud, and entertaining.
The Cholerics (also known as a Lion or Dominant) - these types of people are known for their drive and their controlling behavior. They desire loyalty, a sense of control, a feeling of appreciation, and credit for their work. They have the ability to take charge of anything and can usually accomplish more than anyone else in the same amount of time.
The Melancholy (also known as a Beaver or Analytical) - these types of people are known for their strive for perfection. They are usually good organizers, set goals and high standards for themselves and others. They can have mood swings depending on how they see themselves or the things they are trying to accomplish. Very detail-oriented with high standards of performance.
The Phlegmatics (also known as a Golden Retriever or Amiable) - these types of people are known for avoiding conflict and keeping the peace. They have a dry sense of humor and a pleasing personality. They desire a feeling of worth, understanding and emotional support. They are usually calm, cool and collected and tend not to make impulsive decisions. They are usually well-liked.

Although our personalities come in many different shades and colors, these are the 4 basic types that most people will fall under. Sometimes we may be a combination of one or more of the personalities, but you can usually identify at least one that best describes you. If you are having trouble deciding which personality best fits you, you can always search the web and take a personality test to help you discover your true self.

Knowing our basic personality is important because it will affect how we view organization. The Choleric and Melancholy personalities will not have much issue with it; however, the Sanguines and Phlegmatics will. Does that mean that driven and analytical people are the only ones that can be organized? Of course not! As I said before, God has called us all to be organized as He is, so there is hope for all of us. But we have to understand ourselves so we can work through our personalities and have the organized lives we want to have.

In my next post we will continue looking at who we are and how that relates to organized living. Until then, I hope you will try and spend some time discovering you! It really will make a difference in the way you see yourself and your life. Until then...

Truths of an Organized Life - who God is, Part 2

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

In my last post I wrote about the first truth of an organized life -- who God is. If you didn't have a chance to read that and would like to, you can check it out here. Today we're going to look at why knowing who God is matters to us in our everyday living.

I've mentioned before that I have two teenage daughters. They don't look alike and they don't act alike either. My younger daughter looks like her dad. She's light skinned with sandy blonde hair and Shirley Temple curls. She doesn't take after me in the looks department at all. In fact, when she was younger, I was often asked if I was babysitting! My older daughter, however, is a different story. Like me, she has an olive complexion, brown hair, and brown eyes. My husband always says, "She is definitely your daughter!" I guess you could say she is my spitting image.

So why the family info on a blog post about organization? Because just as my daughter resembles me, we are meant to resemble God and who He is.

As God's children, we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27). Image in this context means "in the shadow of". Webster's Dictionary defines image as: a likeness or imitation, a person strikingly like another person, and a vivid representation. This means that we were created to be imitators of God's character and a clear representation of who He is. You could also think of it like this: just as our own shadows imitate our body movements, then our actions and character should imitate God's. So if God is organized, orderly and planned, then we should be too!

In Ephesians 5:1 Paul wrote, "Be imitators of God, therefore...". Just prior to that, Paul had exhorted his readers to forgive others, just as in Christ God forgave us. Now he was telling them that having a forgiving spirit was one way of imitating God. This passage is just one of many in which we we are encouraged to be like God. As Christians we are called to love as Christ loved (Eph. 5:2), to be merciful (Luke 6:36) and to be holy just as God Himself is (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:14-16). And although it isn't stated outright, we are to be orderly as God is! Even Paul told the Corinthians that, "Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." (1 Cor. 14:40). Why? Because God is!

I don't know about you, but knowing that I was created to be organized and orderly is encouraging! It means that even if in the natural I am not an organized person, then with God, His help, and His example, I can be!

Now I know that walking in God's image is not always easy. And I mean I really know! I fail as much as I succeed. But unfortunately, to the world in which we live, image is everything. And when we allow our lives to be ruled by chaos and disorder, we are being poor image bearers of God to a lost world.

You and I are God's ambassadors, His representatives to the world. How we act and what we say are a reflection of who God is and directly impacts our ability to reach those who don't know Christ personally. Paul understood this when he wrote, "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." (Eph. 5:15-17). And Peter said, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God..." (1 Peter 2:12). Living good and wise lives, including lives of order, can glorify God and win others to belief.

I think we need to ask ourselves, what is my life saying? Are chaos and disorder keeping my light from shining? What changes do I need to make to be an image bearer that glorifies God as a God of order?

It is not enough to say that we know God's character is one of order. We have to follow that knowledge with actions. We have to choose to be the way that He is because image, His image, matters. And I pray that when others look at our lives and our desire to be like Him, then they will see the resemblance and say, "She is definitely His daughter!"

*Next post we'll look at who we are as it relates to organization.

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Truths of an Organized Life...who God is

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Do you remember those commercials with Michael Jordan, the great basketball star, where the point of the ad was to "Be Like Mike"? I can't remember if he was promoting his shoes, underwear, or a sports drink, but the little jingle that accompanied the product endorsement is one that has stuck with me. It goes something like this:

Like Mike, gotta be like Mike

I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike

Like Mike!

Who didn't want to be like Michael Jordan? He was athletic, talented, and wealthy!

When it comes to organized living we need to be singing that same song, just with a different name.

Now, I'm not implying that it should be with mine! Granted, I love everything about organization: my favorite store is The Container Store, my favorite TV show is Mission Organization (is that still on in the States?), and I subscribe to Real Simple magazine, which is dedicated to simple, organized lifestyles. Crazy, I know, but that is who I am. I was born with a personality that thrives on organization, that craves it, that needs it! But having an organized life is not about being like me or who I am.

Funny thing is, it's not about you either.

It's about who God is.

At first this threw me for a loop. The Bible is an endless collection of all God's great attributes, but I couldn't remember reading any passage of Scripture that described Him as "organized". Loving, kind, giving - yes; orderly - not so much. Then one day I came across this verse:

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." - 1 Corinthians 14:33

From that one passage, I deducted that if God is not a God of disorder, then He must be a God of order. Once my heart took hold of this truth, I was able to see God in Scripture as a God who is organized, planned, and orderly. I wish I had the time and space to show you the many passages that justify what I'm saying, but I don't. So let's just look at one book of the Bible, Genesis, that exemplifies God's organized character:

In Genesis 1, He planned out all creation in an orderly manner. There were no plants or living animals before there was land or water - creation followed a logical sequence!
In Genesis 3, He revealed His plan for Jesus, plans that He had made since the beginning of time and that wouldn't come to pass for many years later.
In Genesis 6, He gave Noah specific, detailed, and organized plans to build the ark.
In Genesis 12, He revealed His plans for Abraham to become the father of a great nation.
In Genesis 37-50, He organized circumstances in Joseph's life so that good would come out of it and would be a turning point for future generations.

Not to mention, there are Scriptures that speak of God's plan for us and for the end times too!

I hope that this truth about God's character is making sense to you, because it is foundational to the organized life you and I want to have. Being organized is not about how, but about who. Who God is. And I pray that this insight into His character will cause you to sing:

Like God, gotta be like God

I wanna be, I wanna be like God

Like God!

In my next post, we'll build upon the foundation of God's orderly character and look at how knowing who God is affects our lives. Until then, keep singing and sing loud!