In the beginning of His creation, God separated the light from the dark.
I do the same thing every week. Not that I create light and dark, mind you. But I do separate the lights from the darks into separate bins in my laundry room. (I find washing like colors together to be a tremendous improvement over the way I did laundry at first.)
My scale of separating is dramatically different than God’s, of course, but how I do laundry (and any other life-maintenance task) is actually a way I reflect His image? In God’s world, light and dark stay where they belong. As do land and water which He also created and separated. This is why we call a flood a disaster because the water gets into areas where it doesn’t belong.
Disaster might be the best word to describe my stuff getting into areas where it doesn’t belong. Instead of my clothes folded or hanging clothes in designated locations, cleaned laundry has been known to inhabit a pile on my bed—sometimes until I wear it. After wearing it, clothes have at times moved to a pile on the floor. This isn’t always my way, but given that I was designed by God to have dominion over the earth—it seems I shouldn’t struggle so much to have dominion over my laundry piles.
What conclusions might I come to based on my struggle?
Option 1: Give Up the Fight
For a long time I had a fixed mindset about organization. Since some people seem to be born organized, I must not have inherited that gene. When I believed this mindset, I had a plethora of excuses ranging from my travel schedule to my lack of perfectly fitting clothes (which kept me trying on multiple options many mornings). Surely, I thought, I should be given a pass on having dominion.
If I follow that mindset to it’s logical conclusion, I’m really the pot that tells the Potter He has made a cosmic mistake in how He formed me. How can I be expected to do what He designed me for (i.e. have dominion over the earth) if He didn’t give me the capability?
Option 2: Become Compulsive and Perfectionistic
Likely you’ve met the type person who thinks God only approves of him/her if the house is clean, laundry is caught up, and clothes are all ironed and all match (on every child). I’ve not done an exhaustive search, but I believe God’s Word has more to say about anxiety being a problem than about laundry piles. I’m not saying all people who are clean and organized have anxiety issues, but certainly many do.
If you’ve spent time around someone who is compulsive and perfectionistic, it may reinforce your desire for Option 1 (give up the fight)—because you don’t ever want to look like someone stuck in Option 2.
GOOD NEWS: There’s an Option 3!
Option 3: Grow in Wisdom
Christ followers have hope because…
1. We are designed by God for dominion.
When Adam chose to disobey God mankind lost the ability to perfectly reflect God’s nature. The results of that fall make the task of filling and cultivating the earth more challenging. But God’s purpose for humans still remains. If I, as God’s child, am to rule over the earth (reference) and angels (reference)—perhaps I need to accept responsibility to rule over my snooze button and laundry piles.
None of us are born knowing how to do anything on a time schedule. Nor do we know how to order our belongings and keep up with them. These are skills we have to learn. Skills we are designed to be able to learn.
2. God wants us to grow in wisdom.
As I behold Christ, I am changed to become more like Him. Looking at Christ as a child I find that He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52). Christ—the very One who separated light from dark in creation—had to learn the skills all of us need to live well on this earth.
Growing in wisdom is a journey. I won’t be wise like Christ until I am with Him, but I can grow in my ability to order time and life opportunities. I can learn wise ways to structure my space. I can practice skills that take me step by step closer to someone who models Christ in His loving leadership over all things.
I’ve got a long way to go on this journey, but I’m not giving up. Nor am I becoming compulsive and perfectionistic. I can’t grow in wisdom alone. I need Christ. And I need a community of others who also want to grow in dominion skills.
Where are you on your journey towards being a wise ruler over yourself and your stuff? What would be helpful to you as you consider where you are and how you want to grow?