A Meaningful Mess

“Hey babe, where are those reports you ran for me?”

“On your desk.”

Very few three-word combinations strike as much unrest in me as these three. Maybe “You’re dead meat.” Or “I hate you” unnamed-5followed by a sneer and growl. Possibly “You owe me” depending on what the presumed payment needed to be.

“On your desk” implies a certain amount of capacity to find whatever is on my desk.

My desk is the holding space for all the things important enough to save. Things I need to reread. File in a non-existent filing cabinet. (“Just make folders and put them on your computer!” said one of my own who knows that the ability to do that is lacking as much as my capacity to find things on my desk.)

I’m a space filler. I do the same thing to John’s office–which is where my desk resides–because there are only so many surfaces that can hold things in our house. Putting something back? I leave it out because I know I’ll be able to find it.


I can’t really use my desk–the clutter makes working there impossible. Sitting is challenging unless I clear off the chair.

I’m not a messy person. I spend a lot of my time picking up and cleaning up. I’m not a hoarder. I periodically sort through things to give away or pitch.

There’s something about those smaller things–meaningful letters from friends that came snail mail, notes I’ve taken on talks or sermons that really struck a chord in my heart, ideas I’ve had for things I want to write or just think about–that are harder to sort through because their value is personal. They’re ideas and thoughts and encouragements from people I care about.

Lots of smalls make some pretty bigs.

unnamed-1Then there are those things that we only use occasionally. Baby items that are only necessary when a little one is on the premises. Things that are in transit from our home to someone else’s and need a temporary place to stay.

There are good enough reasons for all of that stuff being where it is. It’s still clutter. Filling up my desk, chair and room with things that aren’t helping me in the moment. They’re constant reminders of what I’m not finished with. They often keep me from doing things I need to do because I can’t find what’s necessary or have to move stuff to get to what’s important.

Inefficient and ineffective.

I tend to clutter my life with things as well. Good things. People things. Job things. Responsibility things.

Not all those things are necessary for me to accomplish. I too often use my busyness as an excuse not to make time for Jesus. It’s a whole lot easier doing for Him than being with Him. Doing comes naturally. My get-up-and-go moves into overdrive and I produce a lot on autopilot.

What He wants from me is me. Not what I do for Him. Not good works driven by guilt or fear.

Just me. Heart and soul.

I think I can find those if I’ve got some time to look.

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