I spend so much time decluttering, and then a month later, I have the same problem on my hands. You too?? But after months of asking God, I think I finally have a word of wisdom that will stop this crazy cycle. The stopping always starts in the mind.
I realized this can’t be about self-imposed rules. I can’t make up my own laws to keep clutter out of my house. Nothing in the life of a Believer can be about giving ourselves more rules to follow. Jesus came to set the captives free. He came to fulfill the law. The few people He got really mad at were leaders who dumped heavy religious rules on the people. Jesus is not about behavior modification. He’s about living by love and freedom.
So! The truth about getting free is always just that… figuring out what truth is. Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” This applies to the way you see yourself, how you treat the child-version of yourself, your junk and false beliefs. It’s true of physical clutter too. If you have a definition of clutter that is not true, then you won’t be able to identify it. And if you can’t identify it, then no wonder you can’t get it out of your house. Same is true for your identity in Christ. If you see yourself differently than God sees you, you can’t get rid of that false self-image until somebody (or the Holy Spirit) points out the blind spots of spiritual clutter.
As I’ve prayed for help in this matter, the Lord has heard me and helped me. He hears our prayers, big or small. And He helped me define clutter.
Clutter is any pretty thing that crowds out what is presently purposeful or precious.
I added “presently” after a month of working with this definition because I realized I could trick myself. Is this high chair purposeful? Of course, it is! Is it presently purposeful for our family with children ages 8 and 4? No, it is not!
You may not agree with clutter being pretty. But hear me out. Making room for God happens in layers…
Trash is trash.
So, don’t call it clutter. When I tackle a closet or a drawer, the first things to go are the obvious… empty cardboard boxes, packaging, broken things I will never fix and aren’t able to give away, etc. Trash is not clutter. It is trash. If we add trash to our definition of clutter, then we aren’t calling things what they really are. We need true definitions.
Baggage is baggage.
Baggage is the second layer of stuff I notice that I deal with after trash. I get rid of things that remind me of bad memories or seasons of my life, unhealthy relationships, or just stuff in general that I don’t like for whatever reason. So let all the baggage go.
Open doors need closing (and destroyed!).
Once we have rid our trash and baggage, something I’m routinely on the lookout is for anything in my home that does not honor God. I call these “open doors.” Anything occult or dark in our home operates like an open door and gives darkness the “right” to be there. That’s why God was so clear with the Israelites about not taking false gods and possessions from certain enemies. Ask God. He will show you. (And I’m always here for questions, so let me know if this stirs up any!)
Ok! We got rid of trash, baggage, and any open doors. Now what we have left is either clutter, purposeful, or precious to us.
Clutter is any pretty thing that is not presently purposeful or precious.
It’s all the stuff we keep just because it’s pretty. So I ask myself, is the pretty crowding out the things that are truly precious to me? Is the pretty crowding out what is practical and purposeful in this season of my life?
If it doesn’t fit in with your time schedule and your current callings, then it’s clutter. It’s crowding out your space and mental energy for the things you are called to do today.
When my art room had to transform into my writing room, I had to remove the half-painted canvas and easel. That dream/project became clutter because it was crowding out what God is calling me to do today. And it was also causing conflict and stress in my heart when I saw it because I always began to think about how I never finished it, how I wish I could spend time painting, how blah blah blah… these are emotional distractions and energy suckers. Keeping me from the calling I have TODAY. Not yesterday and not next year.
My mantle is full of pretty things but it’s too many. The pretty things are crowding out the precious ones that I really want to have shine on my mantle.
I also shop better with this definition of clutter. I think to myself, “Ooooh. That is soooo pretty!” But it’s not what we need now, it is not precious to me, and I already have something serving that purpose…. so, I can just admire the prettiness of this item, be content, and let it be.
Ok! You picking up what I’m putting down?
I’m telling you! I have that definition now memorized because I wrote it on a notecard, and I read it when I’m tackling a space to declutter. or right before I go walk through TJ Maxx. That’s why I made this printable to help you. One for your car before shopping and one to keep handy before your tackle some decluttering:
I want to know if this definition changes things for you! So don’t forget to come back and tell me!It sure helped me get rid of another layer of stuff that I didn’t see as clutter before! So give it a go, and let me know if it helps you or if you see something I’m missing!
As we make room for God by getting rid of our spiritual, physical, and calendar clutter, it’s easier to search for Him. Here’s a reward for making room:
“Searching: Discovering God’s Hidden Treasures” by Brooke Caldwell.
Brooke is my friend with amazing blonde curly hair, a contagious laugh, and a great big heart. Best of all, she hears God’s voice. I love to hear what God is whispering to those who listen! I met Brook Caldwell at SheSpeaks 2017. She has generously offered Quirky Kingdom readers a copy of her new 30-day devotional, “Searching”! It’s accessible, easy to read, and full of hidden gems! I can’t wait to get this into your hands!
“Brooke, let me ask you. What inspired you to write ‘Searching’?”
She replies, “In searching for God, I found who I was in Him. I found the truest version of myself. I also found out that God wasn’t who I thought He was… He was so much better.”
Wow! As far as I’m concerned, that sounds like the heart of this walk of faith. I love it! My prayer for you is that you daily see yourself more the way God sees you. That means getting rid of the clutter and false beliefs about yourself. That means searching and finding who we truly are in Christ.
Simply subscribe to the Quirky Kingdom so I can keep in touch with you and please share this post on social media or with a friend. Just leave me a comment so that I know you did and you’ll be in the runnings!
I’ll choose a winner Monday, September 24th at 10am… So you have until then to enter the giveaway! : ) Thank you much!
****Giveaway is now closed but that doesn’t mean you can’t share this good stuff. ; ) Congratulations to Tonya! Enjoy!
More on Brooke?
Brooke is a passionate follower of Christ and has learned to embrace Him in every season of her life, even the painful and heartbreaking ones. In her search for God, she not only found Him but also found her true identity. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and at her website, http://www.brookecaldwell-searching.com/.