I have always been someone who has a lot of dreams and goals. Sometimes, the sheer volume of everything I want to accomplish is overwhelming. There can be a temptation to aim for perfection, but I’m here to tell you that perfection isn’t the goal. Order is. A perfectionist mindset puts all the pressure on you, and it can easily cause analysis paralysis. You can become so obsessed with being perfect that you limit your capacity—you’re afraid to make moves and mess up. Order does the opposite. When you learn how to get order in your life, you create space for your goals to grow. You do your part, and God does his part.
My definition of order is simple: it is not being overly distracted. When you have order, you can be present and focused on God. On the contrary, when you are distracted, it’s hard to hear the voice of God and to know what he’s calling you to do in any given season. Luckily, we follow a God who knows how to bring order out of the chaos.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:1-4)
God took a universe that had no form or content and spun it into an abundance of beauty, life, and ordered systems. You were made in the image of that Creator. So, you can conquer the chaos in your mind, schedule, or relationships. In doing so, you can live with intention and become more focused on God. That’s why I call my core financial teaching ‘Money Mastery.’ When we become masters over our money, the pursuit of money no longer dictates how we spend our time. When we know how to get order in the major areas of our lives, our thoughts and time aren’t divided from the mission that God has put in front of us. Implementing order is a way we can “take our thoughts captive.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Why Organize Your Life?
When you organize your life and live with intention, it minimizes anxiety, according to Elizabeth Scott, PhD. She writes, “Putting in the effort of getting organized, especially if this organization extends to multiple areas of your life, can help reduce stress levels long term by requiring less last-minute scrambling in a variety of everyday situations.”
Jesus commands us to reject anxiety. (Matthew 6:34) Do you know that one of the meanings of the Greek word for anxiety is “to seek to promote one’s interests?” A lot of times we become anxious about things that really don’t matter. When we create order, we are less anxious—our mind consumed with the mundane—because we’ve done our part to create the system and we trust God to handle the rest. I’ve found that there are five key areas where we need to create order: faith, family, finances, friends, and feelings.
How to Get Order in Your Life and Live with Intention
Ordering your life is all about living with intention. In other words, you align your actions with a larger purpose (your why.) It’s important to remember that Jesus dealt with a lot of pressure, and he was busy. He had 33 years to change the course of eternity, and only about three of those years were devoted to active preaching and healing. However, Jesus wasn’t stressed. He created space to be still before God, present with his friends, and active in his ministry. When you are intentional in the five core areas of your life, the seeds you sow will grow. Intentionality makes room for love, and it paves the way for you to live out God’s calling for your life. Here are some examples of how you can align live purposefully in each area.
This area is so important because everything else flows from it. Create space for a scheduled quiet time and commit to a church community. Remind yourself of your ‘why.’ In this instance, it might be that you want to hear God’s voice more and learn to abide in His love.
Stick to a budget, set up automated payments, and have a system for investing. Your ‘why’ could be because you want to pay for a vacation with passive income, or that you want to build wealth so you can leave a legacy for your family.
Consistency is key! Schedule a weekly date night with you and your spouse and cultivate family traditions that everyone can look forward to. For me, my ‘why’ is simply because my family is the most important thing in the world to me, so my time priorities need to reflect that.
[Related: 5 Characteristics of a Happy Family]
Some examples of creating order in your feelings would be setting up space to process and get healing. This could be through journaling and setting up counseling.
When life gets busy, friends are usually the first to take a backseat. Create a system for checking in and praying for the key people in your life. Whether it’s calling a different friend once a week, catching up over coffee on Saturday mornings, or setting up a monthly game night, having a rhythm will create consistency and mitigate ‘friendship guilt.’ One of my ‘whys’ when it comes to ordering friendships is that I believe God has placed key people in my life—divine connections—for a reason. I want to honor the gift of friendship and make sure I’m stewarding the relationships God brings into my life!
[Related: How to Build Connections in 2021]
Only when we know how to order the chaos of our own life in these five key areas can we effectively lead others. Ask yourself: What is God asking me to create space for in this season? I like to call this “digging the trenches.” Here’s the thing about digging trenches–it’s hard work. It doesn’t come naturally, and it’s not what you would typically consider fun. (Give yourself grace as you begin to order your life. It can take up to 66 days to form a habit.) However, once you dig the trenches, water can flow easily and gracefully. Let me say it this way: if you work hard to build the system in the beginning, you can reap the benefits later.