Friday, May 30, 2014

Domestic Economics

Staci Eastin, The Organized Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Conquering Chaos. Cruciform Press, 2011. 103pp. Paperback. $7.99.

Reviewed by Dr. Ryan M. McGraw

How we use our time reveals to us the state of our hearts. Conversely, the condition of our hearts determines whether we use time well or waste it foolishly. The Organized Heart addresses four areas of idolatry (perfectionism, busyness, possessions, and leisure) that frequently lead women into disorganization and chaos in their lives.

This book is useful to help women ask the deeper questions of what they do with their time and why. Other than a few hints in the last chapter, it does not aim to develop time management skills or scheduling. One minor fault with the book is that the author makes too many assumptions that most readers already know how to manage their time (91, for example). However, many books on household management make the opposite mistake of pressing women with model schedules that are virtually impossible to implement. We must plan our time well in order to use our time well to God’s glory. We will fail in this area by over-planning as much as by under-planning. The great strength of Eastin’s book is that she provides us with the tools needed to think through our planning in a godly and biblical manner.

Each of the four areas treated in this book search our hearts deeply. Perfectionism is not the same thing as excellence, but it cripples people from enjoying their homes and families. Being overly busy may result from the fear of man and trying to keep up with the expectations of others rather than from walking in the fear of God. Acquiring, owning, and refusing to relinquish possessions may result in a lack of trust in God’s provisions (55). Our desire for leisure time becomes idolatry when we do not plan our breaks and end up neglecting our children, finances, and other duties in order to take time for ourselves. Eastin’s counsel is wise, practical, and searching for all readers.

Chapter 6 counterbalances her treatment of how heart-idolatry affects our use of time by addressing those who are discouraged through genuinely difficult circumstances in their lives.

This book does not say all that must be said about time-management, but it provides an often neglected piece of the bigger picture. Unless we begin with the idolatry of our hearts, then we will not successfully manage our lives in a God-honoring way. This is an important resource, especially for wives and homemakers.