When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to organize my bedroom. I know! And even then, and even though I’m not Japanese, one of the main questions I asked myself was, “Does this bring me joy?” But since that time, I’ve grown up a bit in my understanding of who I am and how the kingdom of God works in my everyday life. This has required me to learn that the world is not centered around me. So, while I value that question, I’ve learned to ask some other equally important questions related to my belongings. Yes. I often still ask myself, “Does this bring me joy?” In fact, I have notes scribbled down from a decade ago on decluttering with that exact question at the top. My mama often tells me, “There is nothing new under the sun.” That’s the truth. When she tells me this, she’s telling me, “It’s all been done before. It’s all been said before.” Not in a woeful way. In a wonderful way. In a way that reminds me not to get proud about revelation I might have. Or in a way that reminds me that once again, history repeats itself.
“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new,” Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NLT).
That’s why many will say that the best messages are nothing new at the core. Because timeless truth is what we’re all after. They just package it in a way that makes old truths refreshing ones.
I’m sure women have been asking themselves that question, consciously or unconsciously, for the last couple or few millenniums. “Do I really want to keep this item? Does it bring me joy?” However, I now include several other questions I ask myself as well. Because I truly believe that “God’s thoughts are far above my thoughts and that His ways are far above mine” and I have learned to “lean not on my own understanding” and to lean into the lead of Holy Spirit instead. Because if I just think about my stuff as only my stuff and not it’s (and my) greater purpose in the world, then I’m not really practicing a life of faith.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD,” Isaiah 55:8 (NIV).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong,” Proverbs 3:5-7 (GNT).
I have seen the Netflix series recently. And yes, there’s much to love! And yes, it’s inspiring! When I was in high school, there was a similar show on TV that I absolutely loved called Clean Sweep. (Because, like I said, I love decluttering and organizing. It was my playtime as a child. I know! Think what you will.) I think Clean Sweep was one of those TLC show? They would go through someone’s entire home and bring three large tarps. One for keep, one for give away, and one for trash. A whole team would sweep through and help the homeowner deal and sort. Gigantic mounds of belongings heaped up on each tarp. Tears were shed.
I was always fascinated by the emotional component. Maybe part of that comes from the extremes of how people I love relate to their belongings. I love many people who are truly enslaved to their belongings. This can look drastically different. Some of these people are enslaved to their belongings by keeping every magazine and piling up rubbish and anything else waist high in their homes and just keep a walking path open through the house. Some of these people are enslaved to their belongings by keeping their house so neat as a pin and extremely tidy. Some of these people are caught somewhere in between the two extremes. It may look average or normal but their relationship to their stuff is still unhealthy. Some of these people are enslaved to their stuff because they feel they need to keep every single gift because they feel like these items symbolize relationships in their lives. Some of these people are enslaved to their stuff because they throw out every single gift because they feel a tie to the items and the relationships in their lives.
You see? Our culture quickly condemns a hoarder and puts a minimalist on a pedestal. But my dear, this is something that swings culturally over time. There are times of excess and times of weaning. One generation is all about keeping up with the Joneses and the next generation gets rid of everything in the name of “peace” and bell bottoms. And then it all resets and starts over again. “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn.” That old 1960s song is actually based on Scripture. It always reminds me of my mama. This is something she really gets. How things recycle through history and how there’s a time for everything.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV).
I wrote a series on decluttering last year that you may be interested in now that decluttering is in vogue. (He he.) And that’s a good thing.
BUT THIS TIME, let’s be the generation that does this from a healthy Biblical framework. From a heart-attitude of surrender.
Are you with me?
If so, I can help! A Declutter Cheat Sheet COMING SOON to help you navigate your stuff from a healthy, Biblical framework. Sign up here for more details and you’ll be the first to know! Or just jump right in and sign up below:
I have some upcoming blog posts you won’t want to miss! First, we’ll go through our Closet and Prayer Closet. I’ll reveal some of the natural rhythms of Surrender, Constraint and Multiplication. Then we’ll get real practical on thinning out our closets. Later on, I’ll teach you how to help your children declutter, how to help grandparents who like to over-give, how to declutter in the midst of chronic illness, and how to discern seasons of your life when you should NOT declutter. To stay tuned, join my mailing list and grab that Declutter Cheat Sheet + Worksheet and you’ll be set to receive the upcoming Declutter Series.
Also COMING SOON… a giveaway. One of my favorite reads when I need some inspiration… “Make Room For What You Love” by Melissa Michaels. Til then… lots of love to you!