An over-complicated life can kill our joy. We need mom life simplified.
Clutter–it can steal, kill, and destroy!
- It kills us because we work so hard for it, and we often sacrifice relationships and health to get more of it.
- It steals our time, our peace, and our sleep.
- It destroys because it buries the very best things under piles of the mediocre and banal.
This is true when we talk about our physical surroundings and our time.
It takes insane time and effort to keep our homes clean because we are constantly sloshing through the mundane to try and find the exquisite.
It seems like we live in a constantly exhausted, distracted, dissatisfied state because we don’t know how to discriminate between what is richly rewarding and what is only a time-filler.
I enjoy watching decluttering videos, especially those where the home environment has become overwhelmingly impossible to clean. There seem to be some recurring patterns in operation in these situations:
- Inability or neglect of regular purging of broken and obsolete possessions, relationships, and commitments. Sometimes this has to do with being too busy, other times it is because we are not taught that this needs to be done along with things like rotating our tires and switching out the furnace filter.
- Excessive buying. If one’s house is filled with piles of things, it’s hard to find a pair of socks or a pair of scissors, so the tendency is to go out and buy new, and while at the store other things are acquired which are then added to the piles, often remaining unopened for months (or years).
- Escapism. If the house is a mess, if our relationships are chaotic it is tempting to escape into something else. It could be a cell phone, or a bottle, or a myriad of outside activities.
At the core of all of this over-complication is fear.
- Fear of not being able to buy things in the future. This was illustrated strikingly during 2020 when there were supply chain shortages. Just like the generation that lived through the Great Depression, people were stock-piling, leading to further shortages and much waste as a consequence.
- Fear of missing out–on some experience or event.
- Fear of missing something if it is given or thrown away. My own grandparents, who did live through the Great Depression, had this fear. During their childhoods, nothing was wasted. A large woman who was better off than my grandmother’s family sent them her cast off dresses, and my great-grandmother would use these to make dresses for my grandmother and aunts. People back then would use old felt hats to make shoes for their children and flour sacks to make curtains and clothing. Consequently, people from this generation had a lot of trouble letting go of anything, which led to piles of old margarine containers, old magazines, and out-of-fashion clothing.
- Fear of losing an emotional attachment. All of those ugly creative endeavors–both yours and those of your children and relatives, or the chair your dear Aunt Ida sat in (that has broken legs), or your books of sermon notes from 2003…
Then there is this truth: We can never have it all or do it all.
Despite the tricky images in media (and our own imaginations), no one else in the world has it all or does it all, either.
In fact, the most effective, beneficial persons to have ever lived did not try to do it all or have it all.
Jesus is our shining example. He said He didn’t have a place to lay His head. In His pre-resurrected body He could only be in one place at one time. He sat in a synagogue, or played with children, or talked with a woman at a well. But He didn’t feel as though He was missing out because He was not wasn’t having special meetings with Herod or Caiaphas. He spent a lot of time walking across His country and camping outside. When He died all He owned was His cloak.
And yet, His years on earth were the most effective and impacting of anyone that has ever lived.
So, we don’t need to load up. If we are walking with God, we stay small, and He gets bigger and bigger. When a problem comes up, we don’t automatically buy something buy something or go somewhere to fix it. We put our difficulty in our hands and lift it up to Him and release it. Then we allow HIM to become The Answer that He already is…
…and then He shows us how to make the best of what we already have, and tells us if we need a small or a big thing to add to it.
Remember, God is always speaking–just like a radio tower is always transmitting. We just need to tune in.
Scripture says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Look at your piles or your crazy schedule and invite Him into your mess:
God, this mess, this crazy schedule, is too big for me. It overwhelms me. But I know You are bigger than my mess, just like you were bigger than the Red Sea, and Giants, and storms. So I invite You to come and help me, and be with me; and I would like to learn from Your joy-filled personality to have hope, even though I can’t even see a glimpse of it right now–Thank You!
And then step out and have fun overcoming in the name of Jesus!
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