My urge to put away things that are out of place gets me in trouble sometimes – once it led to accidental shoplifting.
I can’t stand to see things out of order. When I eat out, I line up the salt and pepper shakers, and arrange the sugar packets on the table so they’re all facing the same way. I pick up clothes that have fallen off the hanger in a clothing store. And I can’t pass a crooked picture frame without straightening it, even if it’s in someone else’s house.
One day when I noticed a misplaced tube of lip gloss next to the mp3 players in Walmart, I picked it up, thinking I’d drop it off in the cosmetics area on my way out. But somewhere in the cleaning products aisle I absentmindedly slipped the lip gloss into my pocket. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized, to my horror, that I had walked out of the store without paying for it.
The stolen item was returned the next day with much embarrassment and apology, and it made me wonder – what is this irresistible inner urge to put things in order?
In the last two years since my return from Asia, I’ve felt like my life has been out of control. I haven’t had a steady, “normal” job. And I don’t have any clear direction for the future. So I feel like everything is in disorder and chaos. Part of my unconscious reaction is to try to control my environment by arranging inanimate objects to my liking. But endlessly straightening the throw pillows on the couch or neatly lining up condiments in the refrigerator is not going to bring real peace to my heart.
A Heart at Rest – Finding Perfect Peace
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You; all whose thoughts are fixed on You.”
The Lord is the only one who can cause my heart to be at rest. Even in the midst of uncertainty, if I fix my mind on Him and His truth, I will be at peace.
So now if I come to your house and see a crooked picture frame on the wall, I may still try to straighten it. But I’m learning to find peace in the Lord, even if things around me aren’t completely in order.
Hopefully I won’t do any more accidental shoplifting at Walmart!