I’m not into the whole concept of feng shui, but I do know this – I like my house and work area a certain way. I’ve actually come back from spiritual retreats with one key application,
“Your office looks like someone vomited in there. Clean it up.”
Though it takes some doing for me, I get more done in a clean environment. I’m not a neat freak by any stretch, but I see a real difference when the top of my desk looks like the actual top of a desk rather than some sort of garbage dump or library circulation desk.
We really are impacted by our environment, maybe more than we think.
So, when it comes to our growth in Jesus and our slow work of allowing the Holy Spirit to claim more and more real estate in our heart for Jesus, perhaps there are certain environments we need to set up in our lives to open up opportunities for growth. I want to put four out there, though I know there are more. Plus, these obviously don’t have to be real places – they can be symbols of stuff we intentionally put in our life.
Space #1 – the coffee table.
I don’t know about you, but the table in my living room is full of stuff that I’ll pick up while I’m resting and relaxing. Runner’s World magazines, books that I’m working through, the remote control for the TV and stereo, those are coffee table items.
Part of growing in Jesus is to know not only how to rest and recharge, but also what feeds us during that time. Our “coffee table” needs to be a place where we find resources and insights that remind us of God’s beauty (i.e. music, art), God’s story (Scripture and for me a well-written novel that reaffirms the Bible’s wild narrative), and God’s control of the world (a place to rest our feet). The coffee table is where we are made ready for the rest of the world and the challenges God has for us.
Space #2 – the classroom.
The classroom is a place that scares the tar out of most people – probably guys the most. The classroom is a place of obligation – listen, pay attention, do what I say, sit in one place blah blah blah. Let me try and redeem it – the classroom in my mind is the place where our minds get challenged. It’s different for everyone, but I believe that we all need at least one or two thoughts a week that wreck us. We need one thought that requires us to put our thoughts aside and see the world differently – I think this is key when the God we seek has thoughts that “aren’t our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).
Everyone needs a place in their life where their mind gets stretched by the Bible, a picture, an image, a movie, a poem – anything that drives us to God with questions seeking wisdom. If we don't have that space, we lose out on the promise of what can happen when we love God with our "minds" (Matt. 22:37)
Stay tuned for Part 2!