Order from Chaos

May 30, 2023  - By Abbey Wedgeworth


This article is part of our Made to Create article series. Read the other articles in the series here:


Made to Create: Order from Chaos

When my third son was eight weeks old, we moved. Surrounded by a sea of boxes, my postpartum brain seemingly lost its ability to think linearly. I found myself standing in my pantry, unaware of what I had come to retrieve. I constantly lost things because they didn’t have a place. Bills went unpaid because the mail was scattered all over the house. I forgot practically everything because there was no system for remembering. I had limited mental energy, and the way I was living my life required me to work twice as hard.

Necessity is the mother of invention—that’s what they say, anyway—and creating order was obviously a necessity. In my worst moments of overwhelm, postpartum depression made me want to just disappear. It also contributed to a short temper with my kids, exhaustion from decision fatigue, and an inability to do the simplest chores because the basics felt so overwhelming I didn’t even know where to start. I felt shame over the way I was. I was paralyzed by thoughts like, I'm just a messy, unorganized, undisciplined, and incompetent person. Isn’t that such a sneaky ploy of the enemy? He renders us ineffective by making action things seem like identity things. He takes the places we need to grow, which can certainly be redeemed, and annihilates our hope with fatalistic thinking.

First Things First: Getting Your Identity in Order

But the gospel is the remedy for shame. I might not be naturally organized, but I am created by God and uniquely suited and equipped by my gifts and his Spirit to do the things that he’s called me to do. Jesus died to cover all that is actually shameful and was raised so that I would never have to live without hope.

I may not be a naturally orderly person, but God most definitely made me a creative. I am a songwriter, a musician, an artist, an author, a flower arranger, a gardener. So, living out of this redeemed identity, I set out to create tools and tricks and resources to help me subdue the chaos of my life with the gifts God had given me.

Everything felt different when I shifted my thinking from believing I was a hopeless problem to bringing the skills that I did possess to solve the problem.

The Method for Eliminating the Madness

I approached the chaos much in the same way that I would write an article. First, I brain dump. What are all the things I’m longing to communicate? How would this flow best? What are the actual pieces I need to fit together? Then, I start to arrange all the pieces. Just like in an essay, you begin with the essentials, the anchoring pieces. I realized that there was a lot I needed to let go of. 

I approached creating order in my personal life like songwriting. How can I make this concept fit within the structure I already have (so many beats per measure, a certain melody, so many lines for a verse, a chorus, a bridge)? I needed a rhythm to my daily life. The most important rhythm is regularly taking in the Word of God. Now, that can look like listening to it on audio while you wash your face every night or playing it while you go on a walk or ride the stationary bike. No matter how it looks, the most important order-making that needs to take place is viewing yourself accurately in relationship to God and viewing your priorities according to what he says is important, right, and true. The truth helps you remember what your priorities actually should be. 

Strategizing to Create Order

I treated the disorder of my life like a garden bed. Sometimes the nutrients of the soil can’t sustain all that you want to plant. And things just die if they don’t have space. Where does this fit? What do I need to let go of for the sake of ensuring the most important thing gets across? What do I need to plant to attract pollinators or lure pests away so that this plant can grow?

As I considered this, I started moving the pieces of my life around like potted seedlings, reassessing and rearranging so that everything would have room to breathe and thrive. I tethered tasks and activities I wanted to implement to order that already existed in a purposeful way, much like how I planted marigolds around my tomato plants because they draw the bugs away. One practical way I drew the bugs away from my life was by pairing an orderly activity with a pre-existing one during the correct space in my week. I realized that every Wednesday and Sunday I felt stress about the car being messy as we loaded up for co-op and church. So, we started visiting our car wash and using the vacuums every Tuesday and Friday right after other activities that are cemented on those days. I made the pairing to draw the bugs away.

Displaying and Maintaining Order

One of my problems was diligence, so I put these systems where I could see them. I printed and laminated a daily habit tracker divided by morning, midday, and evening. This visual aid hangs on my fridge so that I can reference it all day. I made picture charts for my kids with clip art showing the activities they can do to help our family. I asked my husband for help with specific and practical tasks. By tapping into my camp counselor experience and making games out of work, I invited my family to help take care of our home.

Creativity in order-making has been an incredible gift to me because it has changed the way that our home and lives feel. It enabled me to welcome people into our spaces because there’s room to sit and space to play. My brain runs better because it doesn’t feel constantly overheated. Creating order helped me accurately perceive my own humanity instead of feeling ashamed of it. I’m embracing my limits for the glory of my limitless God. In my moments of overwhelm, rather than being ashamed, I can pray and ask the Holy Spirit for help and wisdom. He is always available to me.

Creating Order as a Child of God

Recently I caught myself telling someone that I’m not really an organized person. But then I had to stop myself. Because tapping into my creativity has given birth to all sorts of systems that make our home and our lives more orderly. There is less and less chaos. I regularly revisit, rearrange, and reprint my habit tracker. And I don’t feel shame when a little chaos still happens. This identity change is God’s work in me.

My creative God created me in his image. He created the good work he has for me to walk in. He gave me the creativity and the power to accomplish what he has called me to do. And he is creating in me a heart that is more and more convinced of my gospel identity as his child.

I just paused to pray for you, dear reader of this article. I pray that God would renew your hope and joy in subduing the chaos of your home. May he make you incredibly aware of and comfortable with your limits and help you learn to live within them for the sake of his glory. I pray that you and the people in your home would find the line between work and play increasingly blurry as you experience joy in community building shared responsibility. Inhabit your worth, live out of your primary identity as a child of God, and walk confidently and creatively into the good works God has prepared for you today.


Meet the Author

Abbey Wedgeworth is a wife, mom, writer, and Bible teacher. She is the author of the Training Young Hearts children’s book series (2023) and Held: 31 Biblical Reflections on God’s Comfort and Care in the Sorrow of Miscarriage (2020). Abbey is passionate about discipleship and biblical literacy and loves to see how the gospel transforms the way that people think and live. She lives on the South Carolina coast with her husband and three spirited young sons. You can find more of her writing and work at abbeywedgeworth.com or on Instagram @abbeywedgeworth.

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