Building Up and Creating Order out of Chaos

By Chad Hershberger

We all have times when we question if what we do is important and is really what we should be doing. As the world changes rapidly, it seems as if when you are feeling comfortable or feeling like you are running on all cylinders, something happens to stop that good feeling. A wrench is thrown in the works and again, you question if you are up to the challenges.

It reminds me of another learning I got from looking at Nehemiah, Chapter 2. The Bible Study leader from whom I learned a lot about this book told taught me that when you see someone spoiling God’s work, don’t go after them. Instead, focus on Christ. Remember Jesus’ early occupation? He was a carpenter. He was one who built up. When you are feeling torn down, keep Jesus before you. Don’t get preoccupied with the circumstances but change your focus. Look up! After all, when things are in ruin, the builder overcomes them!

I’ve thought about that notion recently and want to work harder at building up. I want to work harder to be affirming of co-workers and those whom I meet. I think that if I focus more on building up, I won’t get overwhelmed by those things (and people) which tend to tear me down.

Nehemiah was a builder! If God wants us to build, God will supply what we need to do it. Maybe you and I can learn to live in the good of that and make a difference not only for ourselves but others in this world.

Part of that may also be creating order out of chaos. Arriving at the designated time at Schwab Auditorium on the campus of Penn State University, I walked into a large hallway full of classmates wearing caps and gowns. It was graduation day and after four years of study, I was going to walk across the stage and get my diploma. With hundreds of graduates, we all crowded in the hallway and were given limited instructions. We had to write our name on a few index cards, and we were told, “Just follow the person in front of you.”

It was the best example of organized chaos that I ever witnessed. I left the auditorium with my diploma in hand, but it felt a little disjointed as we didn’t have much guidance as to what we were to do except, well, “follow the person in front of you.”

I was reminded of that day when I read and studied the third chapter of Nehemiah. In that chapter, we are introduced to the various gates in the city wall. As I learned what each gate was used for and what it symbolized, I was reminded that order is important. And that translates to our roles as leaders.

People thrive on organization. Little kids need it. As adults, order helps us feel less anxious. In the public speaking class that I teach, we talk about how being organized with your speech and thoughts will help you overcome some stage fright. I’m a pretty organized person. But lately, as I’ve been doing some decluttering at home and work, I find myself really feeling good when I feel things are put back together in an orderly way. Even if they weren’t too messy to begin with, knowing where things are makes you feel good!

As leaders, keeping a sense of order and stability will help you lead. Two other things that I think go hand-in-hand with that are that you need to follow-though with items you are to do.  I like to keep lists and notes to remind me to follow-up with tasks that I said I would do. Being organized and orderly can help you do that as a leader, as well.

And it strikes me, too, that leaders need to be people of their words. If you say you are going to do something, well you better do it! Your followers will respond better if they know you can count on you.

So, get things in order, follow-through, and do what you are going to say. Nehemiah did that when he was rebuilding the way. It’s a good lesson for us all to learn.