Ordering your private world reflections part 2

October 19th, 2008

This is part 2 of my refelctions on “Ordering your private world” by Gordon MacDonald. You can see the first part here

After setting the scene MacDonald then shares five main ideas or sectors that he has found to give him a sense of order in his inner world. These are our motivations, how we use our time, gaining wisdom and knowledge, spiritual strength and restoration.

Sector 1 – Motivation

In this section MacDonald asks what drives us. Are we driven by external influences or are we steered by our internal world? Are we driven or called in the things we do? MacDonald says that “Called people…possess a strength from within, a quality of perseverance and power that are impervious to the blows of the world”. He notes that the Apostle Paul was a driven man before his encounter with Christ. He wanted to rise up in Judaism and extinguish Christianity at all costs, then after meeting Christ he asked, “What shall I do Lord?”

Sector 2 – Use of time

In the next section of the book MacDonald talks about using our time effectively. He notes that if we don’t manage our schedules properly our time can quickly flow towards our weaknesses, the demands of others and the things that gain us public attention. MacDonald suggests a few things that will help us to recapture our time. These include; knowing your rhythms of when you work best in the week and the year, making a thoughtful decision on how you use your time and managing your time in advance. He found that by knowing his rhythms and by blocking out key events in his schedule up to eights weeks in advance he could work more effectively.

Sector 3 – Wisdom and Knowledge

In this sector of the book MacDonald talks about committing to a life of constant learning and growth. He says that, “…I have determined that every day will be for me a day of growth in knowledge and wisdom”. MacDonald believes that our private world can not be truly organised without strong mental endurance and the intellectual growth this endurance brings. He suggests three things to avoid mental flabbiness; we grow by becoming listeners, we grow by reading and we grow through disciplined study. The result of these things will help us to order our inner worlds and so we will not be conformed to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2).

Sector 4 – Spiritual Strength

MacDonald believes that as Christians we need to “choose to enlarge the spiritual centre of our life”. He suggests some things which will help us to do this; keeping a spiritual journal, visiting with and listening to God, seeing people and events through God’s eyes, prayer and intercession, absorbing the words of Christ into our attitudes and actions. As we do these things we gain spiritual strength and we can move out into the world from a place of rest and peace and do the things God asks us to do.

Sector 5 – Restoration

In the final sector of the book MacDonald talks about “Rest beyond leisure”. He describes this as choosing to “press Sabbath peace into the rush and routine of my daily life in order to find the rest God prescribed for Himself and all of humanity”. In a world that seems to be getting faster and faster with more people becoming burned out by the day, MacDonald reminds us that we need to follow the pattern God set in place. God created the world in six days, then rested and reflected on His work. MacDonald calls this “closing the loop”.

All in all I enjoyed this book and I got a lot out of it. If you get a chance I would encourage you to read it. It is especially useful if you feel like you are always running from one treadmill to another and you are struggling to keep things balanced. It is available from Koorong Bookstore.