My RaiseUpFaith Story: Finding Joy In Tidying

I love tidying. It's what I do best. So why have I been surprised by the tidy up God has been doing in me?

Jo Hobbis
5 minute read
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Anyone who knows me will know how much I love a good tidy up. Even during my university days in the ‘90s, when we all wanted to be The Spice Girls, my house nickname was ‘Tidy Spice’ due to my irrepressible habit of clearing up our shared living space and delivering all the detritus to my housemates’ rooms.

No surprise, then, that one of the great joys of my job at Raise Up Faith is to offer a similar tidying service to the platform. I love to go through each curriculum, each series, each lesson, each activity with a fine-toothed comb to assure everything has the same mark of quality, that each brand is consistent and that our users have everything they want and more than they need, just as they expect.

So why have I been surprised by the tidy up God has been doing in me over the last two years?

It began with an untethering. I joined Raise Up Faith as a junior content editor in November 2021, recommended by my two long term friends who already worked there. What a joy it was to come alongside people who had known me since my 20s and work together to create something innovative and exceptional in a space they knew I felt passionate about. No need for the awkwardness of getting to know people, understanding their skills or working out how they were wired. Our shared history and love for one another meant we could hit the ground running. And we worked so well together. I loved it.

But then the friend with whom I worked most closely, and learned so much from, decided it was time to pursue new adventures elsewhere and, at the end of February 2022, I found myself at the helm of a content ship I wasn’t sure if I could sail.

Thankfully, the Lord didn’t expect me to steer it alone. I am not one to run towards responsibility, I would definitely rather leave leadership to someone better qualified, but in the untethering, He revealed something I didn’t yet know about myself. I could do it. And, what’s more, people wanted me to do it. Even enjoyed me doing it.

In the months that followed, the Lord grew my confidence and I discovered a skillset I hadn’t been fully aware of before.

But I knew I couldn’t do it all. God knew that too, and in July 2022 we welcomed Natalie to the team. Hurrah! Here was someone who could fill in all the gaps of all the things I knew were not my strengths and, to my delight, I found that she saw the same in me. I love how God does that! Pulling together people who complement each other to create something for His glory. Awesome.

Our team expanded, welcoming Christie and Christine as well. There was team building time: prayer and worship, campfires and surfing (yes, really). We learned about each other, and we discerned together the direction the Lord wanted to take us in.

It was good! But, in me, God still had more tidying up to do.

In 2023 He started opening the cupboards. Obvious ones at first. The ones I knew were messy, that I’d had a go at sorting before but never really got round to finishing and just shut the door again. This time He pulled the whole lot out and laid it out on the floor to show me. He allowed me to grab hold of the things I didn’t want or need and stuff them in a bag for disposal.

He made space. Space for new relationships, space for more of Him. I discovered I could hear His voice more clearly than I’d ever known in 30 years of following Jesus. And as I leaned into that, I found He would choose to speak through me for the benefit of other people, and especially for my work team.

What a privilege! But still He wasn’t done tidying.

He opened a drawer of hopes and dreams that I’d been collecting for a very long time and He asked me, “Can I have that?”

And because He’d already told me how much He loved me, that He’d made me for a purpose, and because I’d seen what He’d done with the cupboard, I said “Yes. OK, Lord, you can have that. It’s hard to give away, but you can have anything, it all belongs to you anyway.”

More space. Space to pour in joy. Space to answer my prayers in surprising ways. Space to deepen the friendships He’d started to grow. Space to use gifts that had been hidden in the clutter and put me in places where others would see me flourish because of Jesus.

Surely there was no more tidying to do?

He pulled out the boxes from under the bed. The ones I had completely forgotten about. The dusty ones I thought really didn’t matter because no one else could see them and what difference did they make anyway? And as we went through them, slowly, together, I found that sorting the boxes under the bed is tremendously freeing. Shuffling the letters and postcards into neat little piles, flicking through the photographs, acknowledging the experiences, then putting them back in the box. There wasn’t much to discard, but just knowing it was tidier, more organised, and back where it belonged helped me feel ready to move on.

The closure allowed the Lord to speak.

And He did tell me new things. Things for myself, things for my team. He took me back to well-loved pieces of scripture and revealed new things in them, line by line, gradually and gently until I fully absorbed it and understood what He was saying to me, and why.

There is always more tidying to do. Even with all the best intentions, I know that the tidiest cupboards and drawers get messed up again. Stuff gets stashed in there ‘just in case’, clutter builds up and even the things you once thought you wanted to keep lose their charm and become worn and tired.

But I know I have a Saviour who is willing to come back time and time again, to keep digging, to keep burrowing to the depths of the attic, uncovering the treasures that have been buried under the empty boxes for too long. And He is welcome because he works slowly, methodically, at a pace I can handle. He never takes without asking, or discards without discussing, and He gives me back so much more than I could ever ask or imagine. What a joy.

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