House of order
Several times in my scripture and other study recently, I’ve been referred back to these two verses (separately) in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
I love these two verses and see them quoted quite often apart from each other. Just recently I read them again and really saw them as a connected pair of verses and realized how they sum up what some of my goals are at the moment.
It will probably be no surprise to anyone reading that a good portion of my thoughts in any given day turns to educating my children and myself and seeking learning from the best books. Or that I am completely obsessed with organizing and establishing a house of order at the moment. I’ve gotten some interesting reactions from people when, in reply to their inquiries about how my summer is going, I say that I’m working on dejunking my entire house. Several have said, “Why would you want to spend your summer doing that?”
My answer? I don’t necessarily want to, but I really feel the need to organize myself NOW, more than I have in a long time. Part of it is so if (when?) we move, it will be so much easier. Part of it is because I’m simply tired of looking at and stepping over clutter all around me. Part of it is that I want my children to see me as a better example of one who can take good care of what she’s been given stewardship over and a major part of it is that I want to seek more learning. Plus it’s scriptural. We’re commanded to organize ourselves.
I can think of quite a few things I’d rather be doing with my summer than cleaning. (Some of them will actually happen in the next few weeks, I’m not completely devoid of fun.) But in verse 118 we are commanded to seek learning diligently, even by study and also by faith. Then in verse 119, we are told to organize ourselves. In reading these two verses together I see that the organizing will facilitate our ability to seek learning.
I’ve seen what happens when I’m not organized (going off several years’ track record here.) Despite my best intentions and desires to seek learning, when we can’t find the books we need, or the paper and pencils we need, we’re just not as successful. I can’t count the number of times I’ve misplaced something we’ve needed on any given day. I get frustrated. The boys’ attention wanders while I’m searching. Our house of learning is just not as effective.
But I’ve already seen what can happen when I am organized. As I’ve rearranged our bookcases, I’ve found books I had forgotten and wanted to read. I know where my some of my unfinished projects are so maybe I’ll work on them. The boys have easily been able to pick up books they are interested in. I know exactly what we’ll be studying next year and we’re excited because we can see the books all lined up on our shelves. When I’m not distracted by what needs to be cleaned up around me, I can focus my mental energy on teaching and learning, reading and practicing. (I can never seem to play the cello if there are dirty dishes in the sink or the floor needs vacuuming. It’s weird!)
I like verse 119 as a pattern for our lives. I think we are doing a great job in establishing a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, and definitely a house of learning. But then there’s that “house of order” that trips me up every time and it’s sandwiched between “house of glory” and “house of God.” Cleanliness next to godliness? I know a house with four boys at home, every day, doing their everyday living, won’t be perfectly clean for long, but with order established things will run so much smoother. We’re striving to become like God and the more I study this out, the more I see that we have to have that order, and we have to gain knowledge to become as He is. They go hand in hand.
Lately I’ve really had my mind open to the kind of learning that can take place around here if only I can persevere and organize this house. Our distractions will be minimized and I think it will be amazing. I’m really excited as I look forward to this new year of being able to seek learning both by study and by faith.