I admit it! My life is such a cluttered mess. At least I often feel that way.
Earlier this week, I opened my desk drawer, and it gave me a sinking feeling. It was overflowing with stuff. There were two types of stuff in this drawer:
- Stuff with which I did not want to deal.
- Stuff with which I did not know what to do.
Over the years, the drawer had accumulated more and more stuff. It became an overflowing mess. I never took any stuff out of the drawer. I just continued to stuff more and more into it. My mantra was out of sight, out of mind. The only problem was that every time I opened the drawer, it reminded me about this stuff with which I had not dealt. It created a sense of overwhelm.
Finally, I had enough. I grabbed a large black garbage bag and proceeded to remove all the items from the drawer. Most of the stuff went into the garbage bag. I archived and filed away some of the stuff. But most of it was tossed out.
There was so much stuff I was holding on to that I no longer needed. It brought such a sense of relief to have finally let go of it all. I was free! Here is a picture of the aftermath:
I also realized that it was not just my desk drawer that was cluttered. It was my task manager and calendar too! I am a bit of a tech junkie, so my phone and computer had become cluttered with apps. I realized there were so many areas of my life that had become cluttered.
Clutter creeps into our lives in different ways. We have digital clutter, social clutter, calendar clutter, spiritual clutter, and more. The opportunities abound. We have more opportunities today than anyone else at any time in history. We add good stuff to our lives. But as the stuff accumulates, we have difficulty figuring where it all fits in. We try to find a place to stuff it all. But we soon discover we have more stuff than places to stuff it.
So how about you? What stuff do you need to purge? But don’t do it all at once. How easy it would be to overwhelm ourselves with the task of decluttering. My encouragement is to take one thing at a time. Maybe you have a desk drawer to clean out, or you have a task manager that needs attention. Perhaps it is looking at your calendar, or it is looking at your budget to consider the unnecessary expenses you have needlessly made necessary. Go slowly! Let go of one thing at a time.
In a few months, we will begin a new year. At the beginning of the new year, we often set goals of things we want to do and accomplish. We create “start doing” lists. But maybe we should consider “stop doing” lists. Eliminate the stuff that distracts so you can focus on what is most important.
The mantra of our culture is “more.” But the calling of Christ is “less.” There is always something new to add to our lives that promises to be game-changing. But more often than not, all that is shiny just adds more clutter. I have learned that what we let go of is often more important than that of which we take hold.
Jesus would tell us to let go of our lives so that we can take hold of the cross. He invites you to let go of fear so that we can take hold of faith. Then he urges us to let go of the love of money so that we can take hold of love for our neighbors. The list goes on.
This weekend our church celebrates Reformation Sunday. In the same way, we add clutter to or lives; it is easy to add clutter to the gospel. The simple truth of the gospel is that God loves us and accepts because of what Jesus has done for us. It is not about what we do. It is all about what he has done. I might be a cluttered mess. But he is the one who cuts through my clutter and cleans up my mess.
Finally, here is a song I am listening to this week. It is a reminder that the gospel is all that matters.