Does all this talk about parent-child devotionals, prayer time, schedules, organization seem incredibly overwhelming? Do you feel like you just can’t compete with the other moms in your Facebook feed? Does your lack of organization make you feel like there is little hope for you raising and instructing your kids in the Lord? Does this mean that your children’s eternal lives are doomed because you can’t seem to get your act together? I have good news. Not at all. I want to show you how you can teach children the Bible despite a disorganized mind.
I Have a Disorganized Mind
This is not another post on how you can be better organized. Nope. Not at all. Why? Because I am like you. When I moved into one of the best school districts in the country, I learned something about myself. I have a disorganized mind.
I felt lightyears behind the other cookie-making, PTO serving, holiday decorating, and the occasional, my-child-is-going-to-go-to-Harvard parents. I may have been an A+ student in the past, but I was a C- parent by Pinterest standards.
I constantly missed deadlines. I forgot my kid at the bus stop not once, but twice. Thank God for my neighbor who kindly walked her home both times. I tried different methods to keep my kids school papers organized, with little success, because to maintain that level organization for an extended period of time proved to be too much for me. Many times I feel like I am parenting by the seat of my pants. I used to feel really guilty about it. But I stopped. I embraced that I am who I am just as you are who you are.
Misconceptions of People With a Disorganized Mind
One of the biggest misconceptions of disorganized people is that they are lazy. There are people out there whose laziness has led to disorganization, messiness, and filth. The Bible has a few harsh words for people that are lazy, but a disorganized mind is a whole different matter. They are not one and the same.
My husband (former Marine) loves to remind me in jest how disorganized I am. He can’t for the life of him understand why I constantly lose my keys, my drawers are a mess (really, what is the purpose of folding underwear anyway?), and my desk many times looks like Staples exploded on top of it. However, there is one word he would never use to describe me, “lazy.”
The other misconception is that people with disorganized minds can’t be orderly. It is the reason that people that don’t know me well think I am a highly organized person. I have ran and organized mother-daughter bible studies, taught Sunday school classes, put together events, etc. Disorganized minds can be orderly in the things that they are focused on–it is just everything else that false by the wayside. My brother is a more extreme case than me, but he is a highly successful executive. People don’t pay you the big bucks if they don’t think you are worth it.
So to the mamas out there that feel the judgement from the parenting mafia, it is okay. God made you that way for a reason so embrace the benefits of having a disorganized mind. It will come in handy in the methods you will use to teach your child the Bible.
The Benefits of a Disorganized Mind
Our culture and society praises organization so much, that anyone that is not, is looked down upon. There are certainly mental disorders associated with disorganization—hoarding for example. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone that doesn’t follow society’s rules of what is orderly has a mental disorder. And it certainly does not mean that they are lazy or incompetent.
On the contrary, having a disorganized mind just means that you have a different function in the body of Christ. You serve a different purpose. For example, science tells us that people with disorganized minds are more intelligent, more creative, and are global thinkers. They are visionaries. Don’t believe me? Let me give you a few examples. Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Mark Twain fall in that category. The pictures of their desks says it all.
Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Organization Can Become an Idol and It Can Stifle the Holy Spirit
Organization has its benefits. I cannot and will not deny that. But in all honesty, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. When organization becomes the end of itself, it has lost its purpose. It has become an idol.
I say this not so much for the benefit of the organized parent, but for the benefit of the disorganized one. Just because another parent is more organized does not make them a better parent, and vice versa. There are disadvantages and advantages to both—and both can be great parents that teach children the Bible with great success.
For example, an organized parent can spend so much time organizing, that they are missing opportunities to be present in the lives of their children. Moments were Biblical truth and principles can be taught are sacrificed for greater order. But there is an even greater danger than that. It can stifle the Holy Spirit.
In a chapter regarding orderly worship, 1 Corinthians 14:40 says,
But all things should be done decently and in order. (ESV)
I believe this verse has been misused to create such an orderly culture within the body of Christ in the West, that there is now no room for the Holy Spirit to change things around. I give credit to a pastor for casting aside his prepared sermon to preach about alcohol because he felt God telling Him to do so. My father came to Christ because of that sermon. I am sure that pastor didn’t always change his sermons at the last minute, but when the Holy Spirit spoke, he had the flexibility to do so.
One of the largest benefits of having a mind that is okay with a bit of disorder and spontaneity–is that you will not be so raddled when the Holy Spirit changes your course. Use that to your advantage!!When organization becomes the end of itself, it has lost its purpose. It has become an idol. Click To Tweet
Methods to Teach Children the Bible with a Disorganized Mind
Teach as You Go and Be Spontaneous
Proverbs 22:6 tells us,
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (ESV)
However, there is only one verse that I know that discusses methodology. And guess what? That verse was made for people like you and me, the disorganized, absent-minded parent. That verse is Deuteronomy 11:19,
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV)
The point of the verse is to teach your child as your day progresses. As many times as I have started daily devotionals, they have quickly fallen by the way side. The best lessons that I have been able to give my children are during conversations while I am cooking or cleaning. Or random questions they ask me throughout the day about God or the world.
One thing about people with disorganized minds is that they have a greater propensity to be spontaneous. Use that spontaneity, to your advantage. Use those random times to pull up a Bible atlas or go over a verse of the Bible with your children.
There have been times when I have been praying with someone on the phone and my children walk in. I let them cuddle beside me and listen in. Sometimes, I have even let them participate. (See, The Art of Raising Prayer Warriors). Every moment is an opportunity to teach–no structure needed.
These are the methods that have been most successful for me in teaching my children, not a structured devotional every day.
Experiment with Different Resources
We are blessed to live in a time and era were resources are abundant. Use them, experiment with different resources that will help your children. I am not advocating throwing resources at our kids and then walking away from the responsibility of teaching them. However, these resources can spark curiosity, interest, and questions that you can then use to answer and teach them throughout your day.
One of the most useful resources that helped my oldest daughter gain an interest in the Bible was a book series by Jenny L Cote, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz. For whatever reason, that series captured her imagination. It is through the series that she gained a much greater understanding of the prophets, a subject that is difficult for children to understand in general. Jenny capture my child’s imagination in a way I could not.
I recently got my eight-year-old, My Creative Bible for Girls, an ESV translation. It is sparkly purple, just like her personality. I knew she would like it, but I was surprised how much it has intensified her interest in reading God’s word. She carries that thing everywhere and asks me to read it to her at random times (and cries if I forget to). So I do. At other times, she just enjoys coloring in it. And that is okay too.
You can start with my two suggestions above or experiment with your own. Some will work, and some won’t. And that is okay.
Use Your Creativity
People with disorganized minds tend to be more creative. Use that. I have used crafts, artwork, and other methods to relay God’s message to my children. I couldn’t find an armor of God illustration that was fit for my girls, so I drew my own. The drawing sits in their playroom as a constant reminder for them. It speaks to them as girls with warrior hearts. (I have a free printable you can use as well of that illustration in my blog, Because Girls are Warriors Too).
Trust in God and Follow the Holy Spirit
None of us can guarantee or children’s eternal salvation, no matter how “great” of a parent we are. That is why we have to fall back on the arms on the only One that can.
Give them to God every day and involve Him in your every day walk. Ask Him constantly, what can I do today to teach my children? How can I use this moment to relay your great love? Let the Holy Spirit be the one that inspires your every move. You are wired to move and act and react to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You are not encumbered by so much structure that you quiet the Voice that directs your path.
Should You Give Up Your Efforts at Becoming More Organized?
As I mentioned before, there are benefits to organization. Alexa has been my saving grace, giving me reminders throughout my day so that I don’t get lost in a writing piece and forget an important call or appointment. She helps keep me organized. I don’t want to discourage anyone from continuing to use methods that help keep them from forgetting to pick their kids up at the bus stop! So if something is working for you, continue to use it!
However, if that organization and structure is stifling your natural creativity, spontaneity, or stifling the Holy Spirit, then take a step-back and reconsider. That creativity and spontaneity may be the gift that God gave you within the Body of Christ to serve His purposes. Nurture it and use it, even if means sacrificing a clean work space.
Secondly, consider the needs of your spouse if you are married. With time, my husband has come to accept that I am the way that I am. But there are a few areas where I have to try very hard for the sake of his own sanity. So I do (fail miserably many times), but I try.
The purpose behind this blog is not to say that one way is better than the other. It isn’t. However, it is to encourage those women with disorganized minds who feel trapped and stuck because they cannot conform–to step outside of that conformity and accept the gifts that God has given them. And then use those gifts to teach their children the Bible (and accomplish other great things God has put before them).
Be encouraged and know that you are loved!