Inbox on Fire?

     Ever feel like a blind fireman on a high speed treadmill, putting out flames because they were “there” but working with no strategy or forethought? Ever think “If I ever do put out this fire, there’ll only be two more to take its place!”
Career path…
        Growing responsibility…
              Non-stop emails…
                   Honey-do list…

      Four months into a nice promotion I had a tangled ball of loose ends in a sky-high inbox and onscreen, over 1,100 unread emails!

      That’s when I came across David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done.”  I read it until 2AM and immediately implemented everything I could.  1,100 emails went to 0 in 72 hours and I was committed to stay on top of the pile.  I now had power and perspective.  It lasted… or so I thought.

Smelling the Same, Old Smolder?
      Shortly after our marriage, Cristine made it really clear that I’d brought too much stuff into our small apartment when we merged lives.  Inbox was on fire again. Silly me thought she was just referring to stuff that could be seen.  There was plenty of that, but I also had too many commitments and unfinished business on my calendar and in my head. There was smoke on the brain and it was making life stink.

     Our young family was gasping for air and the mirror clearly pointed to one of the prime sources of suffocation.
  While I had learned some great practices and helpful principles, but applications were limited to a few compartments of my life. The cause of the fire couldn’t have been my desk… but with so much smoke, how could we track down the source? We needed clarity.

David Allen says this:

     “Most peoples’ to-do lists are just incomplete collections of unclear things.  Most peoples’ organization is just rearranging piles of still unclear stuff.” 

    So what can be done to bring clarity and abolish clutter?

      Let’s flip the pages of an even better book and see what God has to say. You see, clutter isn’t just about things… it usually starts with our thoughts. As I read the word, God showed me my thinking had been very, very sloppy and sloppy thoughts come from a sloppy heart. Taming the clutter meant subduing the disobedient parts of my heart… a heart divided against the Lord.

Ultimate Fire Emergency Plan:

     God provides clarity like this:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5 He also teaches us that serving rival gods leads us to a place of confusion, contamination… clutter. “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Sounds like conflict, right? But, a heart divided between building two kingdoms is the primary fuel for the fire. And, a mind “controlled by the Spirit [which brings] life and peace (Rom. 8:6)” is the elite fire team designed to tame the rebellious heart’s spreading flames.
      Conflict and clutter can show up in a lot of different places… our schedule, our priorities, our check book, junk drawer, our trunks, our closet, our plans, our hearts, our minds.

      Clutter isn’t just a fire starter, though -it’s also a mirror.  It provides clues and important evidence.  The challenge for us who seek to follow Christ is in accepting that the mirror is accurate without downplaying our idolatry and service to the rival god of “[our] stuff”.  Walking away from that mirror without forgetting what you’ve seen will require a plan, an act of God, and a band of brothers to watch your back.

       If you ever feel like you are working harder yet falling farther behind;  if your email inbox is over 100;  if you feel like you own some nice stuff, but your stuff also owns you;  if you smell the fresh air of freedom, but the smoke is still in your lungs; then join us at a table this Friday morning at ONE TH1NG (The Cabernet Steakhouse, Windward Pkwy & 400 from 7AM to 7:55AM) where we’ll look into the only Word that brings eternal life and can set us free from sloppy thinking, a divided heart and the luring lie of multi-tasking.

Come hungry for the truth and fasten your seat belt.


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