I’m a big fan of compartmentalization. I like the idea that each subject has a neatly labeled and clearly defined box that it belongs in. While thinking on that subject, you’re in that box and once you’re done, you close the lid, where the subject safely stays put. At work you’re in the “work box” and at home you’re in the “home box”. Subject matter can’t be removed from its box and put into another and there is no leakage between boxes. Each box is sized, colored, and decorated in the appropriate manner to match the subject housed therein.
But life doesn’t work that way; everything is connected.
I once heard a speaker say that your living spaces (your house or room or apartment, your office or desk, your car, etc.) are a reflection of your mind. I found this both troubling and helpful. If you look at my desk, though I have a myriad of labeled file folders, my papers always end up in stacks, sorted in a way that is likely only decipherable by me. As much as this system would bother a more O.C.D. person, I can find everything I need as long as no one has messed with my piles.
As a child, my room was the source of many arguments because my definition of “organized” was a far cry from what my very neat mother wanted to see. I need a certain level of disorganization in my life (something I affectionately call “organized chaos”), but once I get to a certain point, I know something is wrong. I reached that point today. I got into my car after work and was appalled at its state. When I got home, I walked into my room and was taken aback at just how bad I had allowed things to get.
This has been a particularly stressful week for me for a number of reasons, but it took seeing my disheveled spaces for me to realize the extent of my internal discord.
This isn’t a post for me to rant about my crazy week or my messiness, but to direct all of us, myself included, back to the underlying truth: everything is connected. When God created the world, he didn’t do so in a vacuum, though sometimes it would be easier to think that he did. He made the plants and the animals and the humans all to work together and share the delicate ecosystem we call the earth. Our lives are intricately and beautifully connected to one another, we can’t operate in this “box” mentality, though that would surely be easier.
It’s been found that when positive leaps are made in one area of life, it’s likely for that positivity to reach to other areas. If you start going to the gym regularly, usually quitting smoking, drinking less, and eating healthier follow. In fact, when these changes are made, it has been shown that job performance and relationships can improve as well, all because of one positive step being taken. I think of it like dominoes falling: when one falls then it leads to another and another and another. To learn more about the habit loop, check out Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
I encourage you to commit to making one positive step this week. Yours might look like reading your Bible every morning or cooking your meals at home or biking to work or spending an extra 15 minutes with your kids each day. Just take one positive step, not for a month or a year or a lifetime, just for a week, that’s completely doable! And then, after that week, let’s see what other positive things begin to happen along the way. It’s amazing how knocking over one little domino can start a beautiful chain reaction.
To go deeper: Read Order Up!