Tuesday, August 17, 2010

White Space (part one)

I often say, “I am not an organized person.” And I’m not. Clutter and chaos has been my constant enemy and I often feel powerless to change that. I once went to a networking class at my church where we explored many types of spiritual gifting. Near the end of the class we took a test that was supposed to help us learn what our spiritual gifts were. The guy that taught the class said that no one would get a zero in any gift and no one would be one hundred percent in something. But you would be stronger in some giftings than others. I attained the impossible! I got a zero in administration (that is organizational skills). I was not at all surprised. We also gave a smaller test to some close friends to see if our picture of ourselves matched another’s perspective of us. All my friends gave me a zero too. So that should tell me something, shouldn’t it? I wonder.

I once had a cat-scan of my brain and found that the right side of my brain is significantly larger than the left side. The right side of a brain is the more random, creative side and the left side the more logical, sequential side. There, I had it! My excuse for being so messy! It wasn’t because I didn’t try. It’s because of a physical handicap. I am disorganized because my brain is lopsided. I have to admit I certainly feel handicapped at times. But where did that handicap come from? Was I born with it?

I explained my lopsided brain to a friend in the psychology field once and she said, “Yep, that is the picture of a traumatized brain.” Is it? Was my disorganization caused by trauma? I decided to “google search”. Scary… it’s really scary. I’m a mother. It freaks me out to know how much of an effect I have on my own children. Can I alter the way my child’s brain develops? Apparently… yes. New scientific evidence suggests that our brain develops differently depending on many factors including the level of trauma or lack there of that we grow up with.

So, does that mean that my lack of organization, the chaos I create in my world comes from wounding? I’m not sure how I feel about that. There is a comfort in the idea that I am not broken, just wounded. But that carries with it a responsibility to seek healing, to grow and improve. That feels impossible to me. I don’t have any clue where to start. The good news is, it’s never too late to exercise and develop our brains differently. I can learn to be in order and my children are not trapped because of the mistakes that I made. It’s excruciatingly hard, but it’s possible. It is possible and yet not without help.

In a fallen world, trauma is an everyday occurrence. A miscarriage is a trauma, so is a car accident, illness or a death. I have known trauma no doubt. Hasn’t most everyone at some time or another? That’s incredibly sad. For me trauma feels like my brain is sitting on a potter’s wheel that’s spinning wildly. There is a point at which the force of the spinning sends it careening off the wheel and into a pile of mush on the floor! I have a breaking point. You can tell when I am close to it because the clutter in my world becomes unmanageable. In those times I cling to Colossians 1:17 “He (Christ) is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” That’s my hope… In Him all things hold together… in Christ my brain holds together. In Christ my timid attempt at bringing order can hold together. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “ (Philippians 4:13)

Coming to order is my current journey. I feel totally overwhelmed and yet I know this is the next thing God is asking of me. Each morning I want to wake up and ask Jesus what to do this day. I want to make a list and stick to it. Not a list that comes from my own chaotic brain but a list that comes from Jesus… my own personal physical trainer. He doesn’t give me an “agenda” I don’t HAVE to do anything on it. He knows what is in me and has no expectations for performance. But if I do what is on His list I know that I will gain “order muscles”.

On my list today, I have a bunch of odds and ends to do, go to the bank, fold laundry, finish the breakfast dishes, breathe. Gak! get the chickens out of the coop now! BRB….

The biggest thing on my list from the LORD is to consider “white space” not so much do something about it yet… just consider. “White space” is what my wise-beyond-her-years daughter calls it. Look at a page in a magazine. It’s not totally full of test, there is white space in between all the writing and sometimes inside it as well. It’s the white space that makes the pages look orderly and readable. My daughter is adding white space to her kitchen cabinets and they look so much more in order. I always wondered why mine, even when they are orderly, don’t look like they are. It’s because they are STUFFED full. Hmmm, where do I start? It’s such a HUGE task. I FEEL TOTALLY OVERWHELMED!!! “Breathe Ruth Ann, Just Breathe”

Well, I’m back to my list. Jesus put just a few easy to accomplish things on my list. Go to the bank, fold the laundry, finish the breakfast dishes, let the chickens out (done that) feed the fish (that too!)… Wow, there is white space in my day! I stuff my days as well as my cabinets. My world is so full, how can it be anything but chaotic? I wonder if all this do, do, do is a trauma all in itself? I’m not supposed to fix the clutter in my kitchen today, just consider white space. Ok LORD. I am considering it.

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