Monday, May 12, 2014


Hearing the doorbell sent me scurrying through the living room, trying to clear a path. My two pre-schoolers had scattered toys and left the room without cleaning up.

 Why haven't I taught the kids to put things away? Scolding myself, I opened the door to greet the unexpected visitor, an old high-school friend.

Great! She thinks I'm a mess! And she's right!

Funny, how a cluttered house impacts my self-esteem. After she left I scanned the chaos, feeling overwhelmed and angry about my inadequacies. I had chosen to leave a successful journalism career to stay home with my children. Keeping up with housework hadn’t been a problem when I worked Monday through Friday. I spent Saturday doing laundry and cleaning.

The children brought huge delight, but they also brought blessed upheaval. Housecleaning on Saturday got preempted by the urgent—caring for sick child.

No matter…I'll clean on Monday. But urgent invaded Monday—washer flooded the basement.

No matter…I'll clean tomorrow.

Tomorrow became my permanent intention, and I never seemed to get caught up. Without the accountability of a time clock and a daily plan, I had no organization or self discipline. Soon I was drowning in clutter and chaos, feeling swept along by life and grasping for a rope as I tried to balance simultaneous roles—wife, mother, mentor to young wives, writer, and conference speaker.

I craved organization and prayed for it, throwing my need at Jesus' feet. Lord, you promised, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” If you help me get organized, it would be a great and unsearchable thing (see Jeremiah 33:3 NIV).

My disorganization wasn’t a trivial matter. I’d read, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace...everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way…" (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40 NIV). Even more than I wanted a peaceful and orderly home for my family, I wanted to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and leave a legacy with eternal impact.

Organizing for the maximum life meant outrunning two thieves threatening to steal my life—Slothfulness and Procrastination. It also required purging not only possessions but also interior garbage—inferiority and low esteem.

Many years have passed since my desperate prayer launched a massive whole-life makeover. The Lord performed His usual Ephesians 3:20, exceedingly abundant above all I could ask or imagine.

Excuse me…I hear the doorbell!

(Adapted from I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life.)

About Dianne Barker:

Dianne Barker is an author, conference speaker, freelance journalist, and radio host. Her eleventh book released recently, I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She also wrote the 1986 best-seller Twice Pardoned (life of Harold Morris, first book for Focus on the Family Publishing). She has contributed articles to numerous magazines, including Marriage Partnership, The Christian Communicator, Open Windows, and More to Life. She is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers and Christian Authors Network. She hosts a weekly program “At the Library” on the Christian radio station, WHCB 91.5 FM, Bristol, Tennessee, Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. She and her husband James have two married children and one delightful grandson.

I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life throws a rope to the desperate who are drowning in disorganization. It gives practical strategies to organize space, time, and family chaos while encouraging personal renovation—purging interior garbage (negative thinking, inferiority, low esteem), and submitting fully to Christ, gateway to balance and abundant living.



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