There are days I look around my house and see the clutter building right before my eyes. What starts as a harmless stack can quickly spill over into other areas of the home if I don’t pay attention.
If I’m honest, the same can be said for my life.
I like and appreciate organization and for the most part I do pretty well. But I have a soft side that sometimes allows extra stuff to creep in even when I know it’s not good for me.
Reminds me of Martha when Jesus came for a visit.
I can identify with Martha when it comes to getting caught up in the planning and busyness of an event. When I’m in Martha mode I can sometimes get distracted by the details and miss the opportunities that are right before me. I hate when that happens. All that busyness and for what?
Thankfully I’ve learned to reign in my Martha tendencies because perfection doesn’t exist and overkill doesn’t matter. I just want to enjoy the moment and the fellowship, and not be wrapped up in ridiculous amounts of planning and doing.
Maybe its never happened to you, but I am a walking billboard for overextending.
We can pretend this doesn’t happen, but it does. There’s something to be said for having a Mary heart in a Martha world. Oh how I long to be more like Mary. Sound familiar?
[As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”]
Everyday I work to better manage the extra things that are taking up residence in my heart and mind. All the overcommitments and long to-do lists inevitably get in the way of my quiet time, my resolve to focus on Christ and my family, and the things I want to be intentional about.
So how do I prevent the clutter from piling up and taking over my spiritual life and my home? How can I stop being a pack rat of sorts?
By cutting the cord and letting go for good and by saying no and mean it.
3 Ways to Effectively Simplify Your Life
1. Recognize what causes you to keep things you no longer need.
It’s important to recognize the underlying root cause. Collecting paper, craft supplies, and magazines is no different than collecting pain, challenges, and hurt feelings. One set is tangible, one is not. But they all take up space and weigh us down. None of it good for us and ultimately keep us from being our best.
Trust me–I know. I am far from perfect and I struggle daily with keeping everything in its place.
We take on more than we need and make the mistake of meeting the world’s standards instead of God’s standards.
Instead I’m choosing to trust God and listen to His directions through Scripture. Just as I need to let go of hurt feelings and stinging words, I must also get rid of the stacks of paper and household clutter. It’s a necessity that I find freedom from the baggage.
God’s word tells us, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:15-17 MSG
2. Release the fear associated with letting go of the clutter.
It’s so important to surrender our fears to God. Easier said than done. For example, I’m afraid of what I might throw away or give away because I believe I’ll need it later. I know there are people who feel the same way. But I’ve had to let go of the fear and trust God to help me see that less is more.
Letting go is difficult and it hurts. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing a part of myself. But I know God wants me to be free from the trappings of the extra stuff and the extra responsibilities I’m collecting. Letting go offers a huge sense of relief because we trust that God has something better for us.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
3. Start the sorting and separation process now.
This step can be overwhelming, but it’s necessary. God loves us regardless of our stuff, but He also longs for us to be free from the baggage we surround ourselves with.
My problem with clutter is sorting through things ONE time and one time only, and making a definitive decision about what and where it needs to go.
It’s the same with over scheduling, missing my quiet time, and postponing a project because I’ve committed to too much.
My head knows exactly what needs to go, but it’s the heart that hangs on for dear life. So I think of my daughter, (who is a minimalist), when she says: if you don’t need it, get rid of it. If it’s too much, don’t do it.”
I love the valuable tips my girl child gives me so I can live freely .
Paring down is difficult, but once I saw the results I learned I no longer needed to feel regret or remorse for getting rid of the extra clutter. NOT. EVER.
I am thankful through prayer and studying God’s Word that I can fully trust Him to help me focus on the areas I need help with. I no longer want to accumulate when I can simplify. It’s a process and it’s worth it.
God’s word says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV
So as you move forward, allow God to help you divide and conquer the extras when your life feels like it’s going in a hundred directions. There is no need to obsess over a full schedule or company coming or throwing away clutter ever again.
Ask Him to help you lay aside the commitments and tasks that are no longer best for you and simplify your soul.
What’s stopping you from letting go for good?
I am praying for you as you take control and simplify your life.