I recently read Elizabeth Goudge’s The City of Bells. One line jumped out at me – “the peace of an ordered life.” I’ve been mulling this over for the past week, thinking about order and disorder, and how order might relate to productivity, creativity and spontaneity. And so, here are a few of my conclusions – nothing earth-shattering. I need to remind myself of these things every so often.
God is a God of order. The natural world he created is orderly and utterly amazing. Order does not have to be boring. Consider zebras with their crazy stripes – or two people putting their lips together to show affection, or turnips. I sometimes wonder what God was thinking when he created such stupendous marvels. Yet all of his creation is orderly.
Order is a choice I make. Of all of God’s creation, only mankind is able to choose order or disorder. And experience the consequences of either. Disorder entered as sin – a rebellion against God’s design.
There are many facets of order I could explore, but when I think of order and disorder in relation to my writing, I realize that an ordered life enables me to write more, think more, produce more. Those weeks when I take the time to sit with the Lord and make a list of what I want to accomplish, are far more productive than if I wait for inspiration to strike.
Although I may not accomplish everything on my list, or instead do other things, the discipline of setting weekly goals provides a structure for my week. And a structure for surprise and spontaneity.
My ordered life needs to extend beyond writing to my physical world. I have to think about meals, housework, family, and other commitments. When those things are in order, functioning well, my mind is free to wander along more creative paths. And I find the freedom for an unexpected visit with a friend, or a trip to the beach, or a craft project.
Those writers whom I admire are writers with discipline. They order their days, they make choices, they are deliberate. And in that order, creativity and productivity flourish.
Summer is here. There will be vacations, work in the garden, strolls with my husband and tea with my daughters. In the midst of summer relaxation, I want to live an ordered life. A well-lived life, or, a well-written life, does not come by chance.