The messy desk! About a month ago I was working on the sermon for the coming Sunday and stopped for a moment to catch my breath. As I looked at my surroundings I was disconcerted by how much “stuff” was piled up around me. I found myself thinking - for perhaps the millionth time - that I needed to do something about my messy desk. You see I grew up with a mother who was rigorous in her demand that everything always be in its appropriate place (which basically meant “out of sight”). As an adult I have struggled for decades with the dilemma created by the fact that it’s just not in me to have the pristine neatness that Mom required. And the moment I've just described was one more example of that struggle. Left to my own devices, stuff piles up around me. Mind you I've always known where things are in the piles - the only time I can’t find something I need is immediately after I straighten everything up in a basically futile effort to meet my mother’s standards. But although it is most natural to me to be surrounded by what could be described as chaos, I still feel inadequate in the moment.
This time though I took that extra minute to consider what I was thinking and realized two important things:
1) That I was being productive in spite of the mess
2) That it clearly was part of who I am
So I reconsidered the judgment that has plagued me for years and decided that I’m just going to own that part of me and continue to be productive in the midst of it all! Many of you know that for almost two decades before I became a minister I taught psychology and I am often all too aware of my own failures of wisdom. In this instance what I recognized was that part of being a mature, functional adult is accepting the things that are true about ourselves and that AREN'T getting in our way. Corollary to that is setting aside the judgments of others when they aren’t in our own best interests. Easy to say in a classroom setting - much harder to live in our lives! Amazingly enough, when I decided to just be who I am, I found that the chaos around me receded somewhat! As I’m writing this column, my desk is still moderately messy - and I feel just fine about it.
I didn't make a list of New Year’s resolutions this year, but if I had, it would certainly have included learning to love my messy desk! I know you may not resonate at all with the messiness of your stuff, but there is probably something else you have trouble accepting in your life. My 2015 wish for you all is that you learn to love yourself. You are wonderful just as you are! And I believe we can only bring about change for the better and growth when we know that about ourselves and each other.
In the meantime, may you