Adding Beauty to Order
By Glynnis Whitwer

“On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.” 1 Kings 6:29-30 (NIV)

My second job out of college was for a developer of retirement and assisted living communities. The CEO of the company was a woman named Prill, with a passion for developing beautiful living communities for seniors. While she abided by all the right code restrictions and architectural guidelines, she pushed the envelope to make them lovely. Prill always imagined her mother walking the hallways or sitting in the dining room. Where would she rest and what would she gaze upon as she got her mail? These types of questions guided her philosophy of blending function and grace.

One of her pet peeves was cluttered-looking administrative offices. While people at other companies might tape notes to walls or windows, we had to put them in picture frames. We drank our sodas out of glasses and never ate at our desk. Clutter was abhorred and order was the rule of the day.

I learned a lot from Prill. When she was in town, she’d walk with the management staff around the community and share her philosophy of caring for the aging and creating a beautiful home for them. One such walk sticks out in my mind. It was the day my approach to organization changed forever.

As we walked around the administrative offices, Prill shared tips on how to keep our workspaces attractive and clutter-free. As she chatted she warned us to stay away from “the-cereal-box-on-top-of-the-refrigerator syndrome.” I sucked in my breath, wondering if someone told her about my house. The top of the refrigerator was exactly where my cereal boxes were, and had been for years.

I mused about her comment for days; alternately defending my approach (they don’t all fit in my small cupboards) and considering other options (I could put them in storage containers that do fit in my cupboards). Needless to say, the cereal boxes came down. I scrubbed the layers of dirt and grime off the top of the refrigerator and positioned a plant in an attractive pot there instead.

Now let me assure you, it’s fine if you have cereal boxes atop your fridge. What I learned from Prill is that when we put a little extra effort into organization, our surroundings look peaceful and nice. While I don’t pour my sodas into goblets anymore, I have incorporated Prill’s concern for making practicality as pretty as possible in my home and office. Because I spend so many hours each week at my workspace, keeping it attractive and organized is a priority for me.

Keeping things in beautiful order is a practice we also find in the Bible. In the book of First Kings, we find records of the temple Solomon built to the Lord. Not only are we given precise information about the details, but we get a hint of its beauty, complete with floors of gold, engraved cherubim, and the tops of pillars in the shape of lilies.

While our offices aren’t temples, they can be a place where God is worshiped and honored in our hearts and in our lives. Perhaps you’d like to bring a little beauty and order to your workspace. It may just take a few changes to create a place of organized inspiration. After all, God is a god of order and beauty.

If you would like to pursue this idea, I invite you to visit my blog where I just did a series on bringing order and beauty to our workspaces. I’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you might have.

Dear Lord, You are the creator of all things lovely. You are also the giver of peace and the designer of order. Help me bring that peace and order to my place of work. I long to bring honor and glory to You everywhere I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Glynnis’ Blog for practical tips on bringing order and beauty to your workspaces

work@home, by Glynnis Whitwer

Cleaning up the Clutter, by Emilie Barnes

Application Steps:
Look at your workspace with new eyes. What hits you first as being the most cluttered element? Make a plan to tackle that project first.

How does a clean and organized desk/office make you feel?

How does an organized work area affect your productivity?

What are your top challenges in organizing your office?

Power Verses:

Psalm 84:1, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!” (NIV)

Romans 1: 20, “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (NIV)

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)


I worked in that same field for years--loved it! We also did the goblets and whatnot.

Great inspiration today. Thank you!

Blogger Anita said...

These devotionals all seem to hit on topics that are so relevent to where I am on any given day... But this one was exceptionally inspiring! I think in the hustle and bustle of every day it's easy to forget this! Thank you so much!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always have excuses with three young children, but "Adding Beauty to Order" is an inspiration for me to start having flowers on top of my fridge, rather than the boxes of cereal. :) I may be going back to school this September and this will help me to become more organized.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm like anonymous above with making excuses of having children in the house. And I'm always thinking I'll get all of this organized and it will stay that way when all of my children are in school all day long. Even that's an excuse, and I don't like it that my house is so disorganized and I used to never be this way!! It's frustrating, and I'm so happy for your message. Very inspiring and uplifting!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it's almost like you've just peeked into my life, and told me what I needed to hear. In fact, just last night I was telling my roomate she needs to pray for me for a system of organization. You see, I'm a university student, and my workspace and room are synonymous, and as soon as I clean up a little bit, there the books go, all over my desk and my bed. Then come the untidy sheets in the morning as I rush off to classes. Then come the clothes in the afternoon as I pull them off. I will definitley be visiting your blog for some tips, because I really don't know what else to do. Thank you for this timely devotion my dear. The Lord bless you!!!

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