Purpose of Place

Purpose of Place

by Annie Wesche | November 1, 2010

“...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31

Iʼve lived in Colorado for five years now and have had a different home for each of those years. But with every place Iʼve lived, I have learned in increasing measure just how important it is for me to be purposeful about my living space. My home, rented room, apartment, or dorm room was always the place of refuge that I could come home to and either settle in with peace, order, and inspiration, or drop my things to the floor and look around at the chaos that awaited me.

Now that I am settled in my dorm room here at Ellerslie, Iʼve once again learned to purpose my organization for the life God has called me to here. From the day I moved in, I dedicated this sacred space to the Lord and prayed that it would always be a sanctuary for worship and intimacy with Him and a place of rest. And God has given me all that Iʼve asked of Him. Iʼm delighted to invite you in for a visit and hope that in the process you may find some pockets of inspiration to use in your own life and living space!

Prepare

Whether you have your own house or only a tiny bedroom to call your own, the state of your living space will directly influence whether you thrive or merely survive from day to day.

I take 10 minutes to tidy up my room before bed. Mornings come early here at Ellerslie, and thereʼs no better feeling than waking up to a clean and “ready” room. If everything is in its place, then it warmly invites me to leave my cozy bed and take on the day. But if there are a hundred messes and distractions when I open my eyes, I find it so much more difficult to say “no” to an extra hour of sleep (which inevitably sends my day into the dreaded “catch up mode”).

I set out my clothes the night before. I find thereʼs nothing more frustrating than losing time in my morning trying to decide what to wear. The pants for that top are dirty. I could wear this dress but it needs to be ironed. Where on earth did those shoes go? Setting out my clothes the night before will keep any of these frustrations and time-wasters out of my morning, keeping time in its proper place and giving more time for stillness with Jesus – the truest preparation for a day.

I prepare my place of worship and study. Mornings are one of the sweetest, stillest parts of the day, and meant to be spent for my King Jesus. But if my desk is cluttered and stacked a mile high with papers, notes, and such, itʼs like seeking to have a quiet and intimate talk with my groom only to find myself in a train station of noise, countless distractions, and people tugging at my sleeve. So, along with tidying my room at night, I clear away the dayʼs papers and piles, and set my Bible, journal, and study books out, ready to be cracked open at dawn. (I also keep my email program closed down and on silent so that Iʼm not tempted to check it in the middle of my quiet time.)

Inspire

Walls can present a beautiful opportunity to inspire, encourage, and edify our walks with Christ. Rather than focus only on whatʼs beautiful, I try to weave these elements into my wall art. Here are some of the ways I do this:

Frame Truth . A couple years back I made collages combining some of my favorite quotes with some of my favorite photos. The result was a set-apart gallery that not only makes me smile, but serves as a daily reminder of my calling as a woman of God. These three happen to highlight “Sacred Honor,” “Set-Apart,” and “Sacred Claim.”

Photo Gallery. The frames on my wall hold photos of those near and dear, serving as reminders to pray for them. I have my parents and brother, close kindred friends, the children in my life, and one of a missionary friend, Danita, holding a small Haitian baby girl. Theyʼre hung all around a tack board where I can hang scripture verses, inspiring quotes, or the traced hands of lilʼ Harper Grace Ludy.

Other Ideas. You could also hang up a world map, posting reminders about the persecuted church or missionaries you may know or support. I know a set-apart girl who created a prayer gallery posting small photos of all the people she wants to faithfully remember in prayer.

Thrive

In order to thrive in my busy schedule of personal spiritual growth, teaching at Ellerslie, design work, our online magazine, video production, website management, taking care of kiddos, and investing in relationships, I must have order. Iʼve known all too well what can cause stress and stir up frustration, so to walk in obedience, Iʼve cultivated disciplines that help guard against opportunities to be frustrated or stressed. Here are some things I have learned and put into practice:

Catch it All . Sometimes I just canʼt keep up with everything, so rather than allow piles all over my room, I have a “catch all” basket – neatly contained and hidden in the shelves of my desk. Then every weekend I can go through it and file, respond, sort, or toss. Without this basket, my desk quickly becomes one big pile of distraction; but with it, I can keep moving ahead with things of importance without losing focus or feeling crowded by clutter.

Ready to Thank. I love stationery and treasure a well-written, time-invested letter, but Iʼve learned that if I donʼt have things handy, I quickly forget about the art of thank you notes and encouraging letters. Both gratitude and encouragement are marks of the believer. So, to remind myself of this discipline and act of love, I have a couple boxes of stationery sweetly displayed right on my desk. When I think of someone I need to thank or encourage, I can grab a note and write it that very moment.

Separate Spaces . Living on campus here at Ellerslie, itʼs very easy to “take my work home with me.” If I allow the habit to form of working at the desk in my room, then when I go to have a quiet time in the same place, my thoughts can easily drift off to the pressing work that lies ahead that day. So, I strive to keep my work in the office and use my desk only for personal study, personal correspondence, and quiet times.

There are so many ways that you can use your space to bless others (for great tips on hospitality, see Leslieʼs article in this issue!) and honor the Lord. Ask Him where your weak points of discipline are. Are you always rushed in the morning? Are you unorganized for your personal quiet time or do have no place set aside just to be with Him? Are you easily distracted by people or papers strewn about? Do you have trouble finding things? Take the necessary steps to serve with honor, discipline, and an undivided heart. With a little effort and planning, and a season putting it into practice, you can develop habits that will simply become a natural outflow of your life. The purpose of your place puts priority on clearing out distractions, staving off frustration, and redeeming your time. Itʼs not just so others can “ooh” and “ahh” over a snappy room and your divine organizational skills, but so they may see a life ordered, disciplined, and freed up to spend itself for what truly matters.*

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