Clutter will congest the opportunity to fully enjoy life. As someone who naturally keeps too much stuff, I’m speaking from experience.
During a couple decades of marriage, I’ve watched my wife naturally keep things simple, leaving me with a small pile of stuff in the basement that I haven’t been able to part with. I’m thankful for her simplicity in regards to stuff and clutter. I’ve learned that when we clear it out, it opens up space in our lives! Clutter can truly congest our lives and create unneeded burdens all around.
Don’t ask me why I was keeping my key chain collection from the 80’s or hundreds of matchbooks well into my forties.
I do know why I have so many shirts. I typically receive 30 to 40 “free” t-shirts each year from camps, student ministry events, and kids conferences where I lead worship. I treasure them as an athlete might display a trophy – memories and symbols of being there. Multiply those free t-shirts by 25 years of ministry and they take over the closet.
In college, I experienced what I came to know as the couch theory. When you have an apartment and you need a couch, free couches always find you! It’s amazing what you will take when you don’t have any place to sit in your living room. But once a couch is in place, it’s nearly impossible to get a new couch, free or otherwise. You need an empty space for the possibility of a couch to be presented to you.
You have to clear space for something new in life
Over the years, I have read numerous books about clutter and stuff. Here are a few:
- The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee
- The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul by David Bruno
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
There’s nothing magical about stuff, but I do believe it has a certain power over our mind, hearts, and attitudes. More stuff equals more burden. As space opens, it can be filled with stuff besides things.
We recently threw our deck fire pit away. It had a good life with lots of fun little fires in the spring and fall. After I took photos of all my matchbooks, we burned them – that fire was especially neat.
I was amazed at what happened after we threw out the fire pit. With the extra space, we slid the table that seats four people to the middle of the deck, set up the umbrella, and enjoyed our meals outdoors during the beautiful spring days, all three meals for several days. It was delightful.
That never would have happened if we had kept stuff that we didn’t need.
Stuff in life causes spiritual clutter
Our inner lives, as much as our physicals worlds, benefit from the simplicity of trusting Jesus with our whole hearts. I know we hear it all the time, but maybe this time it will stick: we have to let go of those things in the past that weigh us down and fill up the space. Let go of hurts and grudges. Let go of issues you’ve had with people.
I’m always surprised by how simple scripture really is:
- Daily bread.
- Follow me.
- Faith like a child.
- Forgive others.
- Love God.
It’s not complicated, yet we make it so hard at times. Clear out the un-needed issues in your life by focusing on Jesus and his word. Set the past aside and open up space for God’s love and word to fill you today.
What a joy to write this post out on our nice, clear deck this early morning. It was prompted by a book I quickly read: 100 Ways To Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer.