I decided to rearrange the furniture in my living room. I thought maybe if I rearranged the room it would feel cleaner, newer, refreshed. I dragged the piano to three out of four corners of the room. I tried plugging the lamp into one outlet and then another. Should the sewing machine be on the same table as the computer or can the computer sit somewhere else? I shuffled and re-shuffled for more hours than I care to admit.
Then there was this chair I had my eye on at the store. I went back to buy it after three weeks of thinking it over, knowing it would be the perfect conclusion to satisfy the room. Four hours later, store after store not having the chair or a comparable find, I nearly gave up. My Dad graciously hauled me around with his truck until I found what I had set out for. I felt defeated and disappointed. It was 15 minutes until closing and by default, we would have to give it up. I asked him to stop by the store nearest our house on a slim chance the original chair was at the store’s other location. It was. Four hours of searching, only to find what I set out for was at the first place recommended to me.
I brought the chair home. It looked perfect. What didn’t was everything else I shuffled around for an entire afternoon. The piano was put back in its original spot. The sewing table set back alone on the wide table to allow for needed workspace. I started to feel a little sheepish at all the wasted time. The realization that what was already in place was its best already. The original design was not lacking.
Until I looked over at the big green sideboard that houses kids’ games inside and a plethora of junk on top of it. I realized it was finally given a purpose with the computer. The new chair now taking the computer’s old desk spot, it was without a place to stand. The green sideboard, free of clutter, was the ideal spot.
Sometimes life feels like this, at least it does for me anyways. There is something nagging at me inside that is uncomfortable. It seems to affect everything close to it – family, job, body, mind, and spirit – until I have to just shuffle everything to figure out what is the culprit of discomfort. The green sideboard in the room, although serving a purpose by housing games inside, wasn’t being used to the best potential. It lacked harmony. It was inundated with the wrong things and it was affecting the overall feel of the room.
But I didn’t realize this until I shuffled everything. Took a good look. Cleared surfaces, walked away from it for a while, and then came back with a clear understanding.
Life is a lot like this, isn’t it? We have the foundation set and so many great things in place. For me, I feel like I understand how to live life well: do your best, admit when you mess up, live for God, have fun, love others, learn, live, laugh… Like the green sideboard, I am sturdily built, I have character, I have imperfections, but I am useful. But sometimes, even when all the junk is cleared, I am still longing for direction. There is nothing “wrong”, but it isn’t fully “right”.
Proverbs 19:20-21, 23 tells us, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
My purpose in life, simply put, is to serve God. The ways in which this happens is fluid and always changing so I may grow. Even as I do many things right, like a piece of solid furniture ever reliable, I can still become ineffective, weighed down, or without harmony because I lack the ability to see what has come upon me, often without my doing. Yet Proverbs is encouraging us, that seeking advice, accepting the discipline to remove clutter, be moved (even like a heavy piece of furniture), only to feel like we’ve been placed back in the exact same spot, can lead to a greater purpose. A purpose that brings contentment and harmony we otherwise might have missed without the shuffling.