How to make a new desk work.

I have a new desk. A writing table, actually, to focus on the writing I need to get done. I still have the old desk, where I can do everything else.

But what if it doesn’t work? What if having a new desk doesn’t change anything, doesn’t help me finish what I’ve started?

What if I changed that question: How can I make it work? 

I know some of the answers. Only do writing at the new desk. Don’t check email. Don’t check social. Don’t do anything other than the work. Build a habit of going there. Clear everything off it. 

I’ve read enough habit books (I have a new one to read). But I think I need to reflect on what’s important in addition to building new habits.  

Here’s what’s fun about the new desk. 

It puts in front of me a ledge which has accumulated some frames. My ordination certificate. Our first Christmas photo with six of us (seven counting Chevy). A cross I’ve had for decades. A framed drawing that says, “in the silence of ‘not-doing’ we begin to know what we feel.” A photo from Hope and Dan’s wedding with the six of us laughing as we walk in the park. My dad’s ordination certificate. A shadow box of my first marathon’s memorabilia. 

It’s a remarkable collection of reminders of the things that matter to me, of the commitments I have made and the processes I’m committed to. 

And it puts me in front of the window, where you are. 

I, like you, have a tremendous collection of stories of the times things haven’t worked. They fill our thinking, they weigh us down. 

Maybe, by turning 90 degrees, by looking a different direction, by seeing the things that we set to the side because we wanted to keep them but didn’t have space to we can see that we have a tremendous collection of stories of the times things have worked, of the things that matter to us. 

How can I make my new desk work? By remembering the stories of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness, of your faithfulness and forgiveness, and of my own faithfulness and forgiveness. 


Thanks to Andrew and Allie for letting me scavenge the desk from their old house.