Thursday, October 31, 2013

Neatness: Does It Really Matter?

I finally got done putting together the "media kit" to help market my book. So now I get to write whatever I want again. Being a random person, and not a very neat one (unfortunately), I thought I'd take this subject on.

Recently I read an article about a rehabilitation center in Vermont that works with women addicted to heroin. (Believe it or not, heroin is a big problem out there.) Among other things, the rehab center expects the women to follow a schedule and keep their clothes hung up and their belongings neatly put away. Another institution I visited recently requires those living there to shower every morning and clean their rooms daily. Rules like these make up the basic framework of any rehab program.

My question is, why? Why the emphasis on cleanliness and order? Is it really that important? Can't a person live a successful life despite a messy bedroom or an arbitrary bedtime?

Maybe not. Maybe Mom and Dad were right after all. Think about it -- if you can't follow a schedule, how hard will it be to get yourself to work on time? And how well can you treat your spouse and family when you're exhausted or crabby from lack of sleep? Or when you're rushing out the door five minutes late?

If you can't exercise the brain power to pick up your living room (I know, it can take a lot) or the self-control to mop the floor, how do you know you'll be able to train your children, run a business, or control your credit card spending?

All of this reminds me of the words of Jesus in Luke16:10: "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much."

If you're living a successful life despite having never learned to keep a schedule, take showers, and pick up after yourself, congratulations. Personally, I can't do it.

When the disorder in my life reaches critical proportions, I sense my control over myself and my life is slipping. I have to do something, because I know what will come next -- depression, followed by increasing disorder and a host of ugly temptations. What do I do? I start by resisting all distractions and making my bed. Including smoothing out all the wrinkles. It only takes two or three minutes, and by the time I'm done, I'm feeling better. Then I comb my hair, pick up my bedroom, and go on doing seemingly unimportant, pesky little chores until my life is under control again. It's a simple approach, it doesn't take a lot of time, and it always works for me.

I think Dad was right after all. Order and cleanliness IS important, whether you're a recovering addict in a rehab program, or just an ordinary person learning to balance priorities. Take a few minutes every day to maintain a foundation of order in your house and your life, upon which you can build successful relationships and everything else you need in life. It will be time well spent!