Look! A clean desk and a well organized study!

But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.

1 Corinthians 14:40

Thursday afternoon, Rebekah flew to Orlando for a long weekend. She is there to see Naomi’s beautiful family, to attend our niece Lindsay’s bridal shower, and to talk with the happy couple about their upcoming March wedding.

Consequently, I have had the opportunity to be a little more focused when it comes to a couple of projects I had wanted to sink my teeth into. You know, like playing my electric guitar as loud as I can!

What I really needed was to give my study its “once in a blue moon” clean up. Somehow, even though I always swear it will never happen again, over time my desk tends to disappears under a pile of ideas and bills and papers and bank statements and work in progress etc., and then – gradually – the floor begins to fall victim to the same progressive creep.

This time the issue has been amplified by the cumulative overflow of my parents’ affairs, compounded by paperwork details (still in progress) related to my dad’s death November 14.

Typically, the fix involves moving debris out into the upstairs hallway, filling several large garbage bags with junk, vacuuming and dusting and polishing, and then moving everything back into its correct place, or file, or “final destination.”

When it’s all over – usually at least a day and a half after I start, I feel so good about what I have achieved I am compelled to sit at my desk and write something creative.

– short tour of my study (a work in progress)

This time I even (much to Rebekah’s disappointment) found my harmonica! It’s been several years and I hardly remember how to find a single note!

But, back to what I said in the previous paragraph. As someone who identifies as “a Creative” I find it interesting that getting everything straight, tidy, organized – “with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion” – always tends to correlate with renewed creative freedom.

So “messy” doesn’t mean “creative”?

I know this “goes against type” vis-a-vis popular mythology. The creative person in stories is often untidy, messy, and overrun with artistic detritus. But my experience tends more toward the opposite. For me, disorder typically stymies artistic expression. If my workspace is too much out of control then I feel anything but relaxed.

It turns out discipline is correlated with artistic and creative freedom.

The idea resonates with a conversation I had Thursday evening, when I met with some of the men of Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church. One of the guys is a video artist, and our conversation drifted toward the role discipline has to play in finding the freedom to create.

Freedom in Christ:

This is really at the heart of being “free” in Christ as followers of The Way. An intentional discipleship follows Jesus in a deliberate, focused, practiced fashion. It is only then, once we have cleared the space to work, so to speak, that the rhythms, the cadences, the practiced reflexes of a life of faith grounded in self discipline find the opportunity to be spontaneous and inventive.

When my desk is clear I find myself less distracted by extraneous details, and there is less clutter between me and my muse.

I need to clear my spiritual “workspace too”. So I can perceive clearly enough to follow The Master. – DEREK


  1. Derek,

    Thank you for this inspirational post! I have realized that when I am more organized I get more done at work and at home. I feel more productive. Thank you for sharing the Bible verse that points us to organization and orderliness! Sometimes I forget how timeless the Bible is.

    Thank you for your inspiration,
    Aaron V. Lopez

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Aaron. As always, your gift of encouragement shines through. Your words always do me good.
      Yes, the Bible is timeless. Rebekah and I have been reading devotional texts from literally hundreds (and some over a thousand) years ago. We commented on how so much falls flat, or is irrelevant, or just reads poorly. “Not the Bible,” she observed. “Always on target, relatable, and up-to-date.”


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