GTD for the Glory of God

By now you’ve probably heard of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. In essence, the book promises to help you organize every facet of your life, from your retirement to your sock drawer.

The book has a strange effect on many people, myself included. Reading it sends me into a breathless euphoria, and visions of “Next Actions” and “Projects” skitter through my brain. I make lists as if I’m preparing for Armageddon. Each item checked off the list represents a small victory in the battle of life. Yes, some of those victories are small, such as “Get Haircut”, but they’re victories nonetheless.

What is it about Getting Things Done that sends me, and millions of other people into a list-making frenzy? To be honest, I think it has everything to do with Genesis 1:1-2

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

God is creative and organizational. He formed the universe from nothing and He put it into order. What keeps the planets running the same course year after year? What prevents the sun from accidentally napalming the earth? Why does ice form at thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit? The God of order who sustains all things.

This God of order has stamped his image upon all of us. The impulse for organization that drives us to make lists and put away the dishes is a divine impulse. When we pursue order we reflect the image of God. We please God.

This truth has such practical implications! When you organize your house, you’re reflecting the image of God. When you dump data into a spreadsheet and then organize it in an understandable way, you’re reflecting the image of God. When you create furniture out of raw materials, you’re being an image-bearer.

And so I’ll keep fighting to bring order into the chaos of my life. For the glory of God. Because I bear his image.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some lists to make.

Do you use an organizational system?

Comments

  1. Wendy says

    yes!! I have definitely found that many things runned smoother when I stay organized. The biggest thing overall that helps that is having a schedule. I am a pretty busy person and it helps for me to remember when I am supposed to do what. (I know that many people don’t like it but I have found Microsoft Outlofok calendar helpful for this). I generally tend to have a good memory when it comes to my schedule but it helps to have reminders just in case. The other side of the scheduling though is being able to hold it loosely and be flexible. I have to realize that things change, plans change, God may have something else in mind for my day. So while it is good to keep my time organized, I have to remember that it is not my time- my time is God’s and He may have other purposes for me.

  2. says

    I affectionately refer to Microsoft Outlook as my memory. Most of my job (assignments, requests, etc.) come via. e-mail. I attempt to immediately drag them into Microsoft Calendar, and assign a day and time to complete the task. This accomplishes two things, it gets the e-mail out of my inbox (church secretaries get a lot of e-mail!) and it makes me decide when I’m going to do this task. The reminder feature of MS Outlook is an amazing thing. It has become my a life saver.
    I love the connection you made between organization and being an image-bearer of our Creator. I like to be organized and get things done. But, having the motivation to be organized because it is glorifying and reflecting my Creator, motivates me even more. I’m not doing it just to do it, I have a God-centered focus. Having this as the focus helps me to be flexible when I can’t be organized or God puts a little “detour” into my day.

  3. says

    As odd as it may seem, being organized allows me to be flexible.

    These Things:
    1. Knowing what needs to be accomplished and how long that will take.
    2. Doing the tasks right off instead of always waiting.
    3. Managing my calendar effectively.

    Help me with these things:
    1. Having free time.
    2. Knowing when and how long those blocks of free time are.
    3. Reduce stress and concern.
    4. Allow me freedom to be flexible for the things that God sends me way.

    Those things may be an afternoon of fellowship around disc golf with students, coffee with a local pastor, time with my family, time in the Word, uninterrupted time in prayer.

  4. Galephico says

    I’m currently reading Getting Things Done in French …
    Soooo timely !
    Thanks for your post.
    Would it mean that God is sovereign after all ? :D
    I don’t know, maybe Scripture is really true, the Word of God !

  5. John A. Taylor says

    GTD for the GOG all the way!

    Generally, when I find my organizational life tracking a bit sideways, I also find that my spiritual life isn’t where it should be.

    As believers, we too often compartmentalize our lives into secular and sacred–forgetting that the whole gamut of Christian living is sacred. Even the mundane task of organization.

    God dwells in the details of our living.

  6. Stephen Altrogge says

    Wendy – That’s a great perspective to have, regarding holding your schedule loosely. It’s so easy to hold our plans with an iron fist and forget that they’re god’s plans.

    YellerDaisies – Isn’t Microsoft a blessing? As much as people hate it, I’m so grateful for it.

    Sara – Unfortunately it’s not our David Allen, although I wish it was.

    Stephen – That makes total sense. I think that being organized really does help us to be more organized.

    Galephico – In French? Nice! It turns out that God is sovereign.

    John – It’s so true that we often split our lives into sacred and secular, when in reality all of life is to be lived in light of God.

  7. says

    I love it. WE are big GTD fans; although we have yet to put the entire process into practice. (It’s on our list, though). :)
    And, funny that you mention ‘getting a haircut’ as one of the small things b/c right now it’s become one of the things on our list that we cant’ seem to get done (for LA). He’s looking rather bushy lately. :)
    Thanks for the great connections btw. our image bearing and organizing our lives. We certainly value that here in our home, but have to constantly be on the look out for allowing it to move from image bearing into idol worship. :) God has seen fit to help us keep that balance primarily by giving us 3 small kiddos in the span of 3 years. AT this season in our lives, you would likely never guess that LA and I are inclined to worship order as our home doesn’t reflect that all too often. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>