Luke 12:15 “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked for us.”
1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”
2 Corinthians 5:9 “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This week I have tried to focus on uncluttering my heart and mind during my quiet time with God, so I can truly be open to His words and guidance. Obviously, God was placing it on my heart because Thursday my devotion was titled “Clutter in your life”, and it spoke about the physical and spiritual clutter we have in our lives that take away our focus from the important things in life: God, family, and friends. Sometimes we complicate our lives by taking on things or holding on to objects or feelings that God has told us to release, to let go, and even to throw away. We add stress, confusion, and clutter into our hearts, minds, and lives by holding on to all the unnecessary things we need to release and let go. No looking back! I will be the first to admit that it is hard to let go – it is difficult to let go of hurt feelings, memories, and ‘things’ that we have held on to for so long. Typically, I do a pretty good job of letting go of things, I can throw away, donate, and give away anything I have not used or worn over a period of time; yet I am not good at letting go of the feelings and emotions that hinder my relationship with God. I need to let go of anything that clutters my mind and heart and prevents me from having a clear, focused relationship with Him.
Several years ago, when my husband and I made the decision to clean out his childhood home, renovate, and make the move to downsize; the cleaning out was the hardest part for him. This home had been neglected for about 12 years, except the family using it for storage of things. Every room was filled with stuff, from ceiling to floor, little walking room. The cleaning out had to come first, and it took several months and several tense moments when I would come across something I thought would be best if we threw it away, but my husband saw it as something that held some special memory. So many objects held memories for him, and it made it a difficult task. Yet, we persevered and two months later the house was cleared of the things we thought we could throw away or give away, and it left us with the space needed to start the renovations.
They say opposites attract and this is one area we are opposites. He is a SAVER – it is evident in his office, the garage and carport, and even his side of the bathroom. He just likes to save things because it holds a memory, or he might need it one day. To some degree, I am a saver also but usually just for those special objects that belonged to a loved one. Clutter in my house drives me crazy and he will tell you I am always after him because of his clutter! I mention it, he laughs, I laugh, and we move on!
During my quiet time, this past week and even this morning, the scriptures and quotes spoke to my heart about the clutter in my physical and spiritual life. After reading a quote by Peter Walsh I began to compare the clutter I have let into my heart and mind, to the physical clutter Steve and I have in our homes.
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it is in your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.” Peter Walsh
His quote made me look at our lives and my life, and think back to when we decluttered this house, we now call home. Once the clutter was gone, we saw the beauty once again that was meant to shine for others to see. Life, light, and love flowed into all the spaces we cleared out when we got rid of the things that had taken up all the space in the house. The difference was amazing! The beauty we were supposed to see all those years finally came back and she welcomed us back into her beauty and warmth.
That is what I want to do with my heart and mind, and not just when I am in my quiet time with God. I want to declutter my life from the emotions and feelings that keep me from being open to God and His plans for me. I want to see what beauty will flow into my life, my heart, and my mind when I declutter. Just like the work Steve and I need to do to declutter our homes from the physical things will take time and hard work, I know that decluttering my heart and mind will take time and perseverance. It starts with me asking God to show me ways to simplify my life and then following his plan will take complete faith in Him.
There are days that the task ahead of us to declutter our old home is truly overwhelming, and I wish there was a ‘Bewitched’ moment when I could just blink my eyes and it would all be gone, cleared away, cleaned again as new, so others could see the beauty it once held, the promise it held for our new blended family, and we can look forward to moving on in life. Just like there are days when the clutter of my mind and my heart is so overwhelming that I pray that God could just wave His mighty arm and it would all go away. Instead, I pray that He has the patience and love to guide me through the decluttering, because I know I must do it myself. I can lean on Him and His guidance, but I am the one who must let go, who needs to release the built-up emotions and feelings, and move on. It is up to me to declutter and prepare my heart and mind to be ready for His eternal presence in my life.
It is funny I have been wrestling with this blog and these thoughts for several days now. It is not easy to write about and share your weaknesses, when you are someone who wants to be strong for everyone else, someone who likes to maintain a quiet confidence, and show constant courage for what life holds, yet God laid these things on my heart to be shared. Then the God wink moment comes!
Steve and I decided to take a quick trip to the beach, just to refresh and refocus our lives on each other. This morning I walked down to the beach, and as I watched the sunshine over the waves, I was in awe once again at those moments God gives us to let us know He is there, and He needs me to be still and let Him into my heart and mind and wait. Be still! In the stillness, God reminded me of all the times over the 32 years of our marriage that we have exchanged weekends with my younger sister so as adults we could have moments to spend time with each other, to refocus on our relationship, and to ‘declutter’. Isn’t God incredible? All these years, we have been decluttering all the other things from our lives whenever the chance presented itself, so we could refocus on each other and our relationship. During those moments, those weekends we refocused on God too. Without God, we would not be a couple, a blended family. We are His plan! Even retired and older, things still clutter our lives and take away from the time we have, just the two of us, and God. These moments are vital to a strong relationship with each other, just as important as the quiet, still moments are vital to my relationship with God!
We are strong in our love and faith for each other. We are strong in our love and faith in God. We have made it through many roadblocks and trials, and we will make it through the ones to come. Our goal now is to declutter our old home, but even more so it is to make sure we keep our relationship with God decluttered and our love for each other decluttered.
Ecclesiastes 3:6, “A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.”
“Out of calmness, comes clarity.” Trevor Carss