This week I attacked my inbox! Somehow I had over 1,400 emails in my inbox. Most were these were those emails you get from signing up for some information or someone promoting something. The problem with that is the clutter in your inbox, which leads to it being harder to see the emails that are actually important.
Life in general is a bit like that. We can have so much going on; so much noise, activity and things around us that we run the risk of missing what we actually want to hear and see. Our lives feel cluttered, and the more clutter we have, the less peaceful and focused we are.
Over the last few months God has been de-cluttering my life. He has been doing a spring clean, because without really being aware I had become cluttered and unfocused about what my life and calling was about. I had picked up expectations, systems and mindsets that weren’t necessarily where or what God wanted for me.
God wants us de-cluttered as people. It’s very hard to stay focused, and feel free when our lives are overflowing with “stuff”. When He de-clutters it’s like He takes everything out and “puts it out on the back lawn” so to speak. When everything is out there we can look and say, “Wow, I have a fresh canvas, an empty space, what do I actually want to put in here. Do I want any of this “stuff” on the back lawn or do I want to take advantage of this fresh start?”
When we declutter a room or area of our house a good way to get motivated and have some direction is to spend a few minutes visualising the room. When we de-clutter we take a look at the room, and think about how we want it to look. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once we’ve visualised how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, we can get rid of the rest
The same can be said for our lives. It’s good to spend some time looking at our life, just as we would a room, and think about how we want it to look. What is most essential, what doesn’t belong, but has just gravitated into our lives? What is in the way, or crowding and cluttering our life; like unnecessary things on a floor? This is where I find it helpful to ask God to reveal his design for my life. What does it look like to Him when I’m uncluttered, focused and free. What does He say is essential, and what does He say I need to surrender to Him or get rid of? I ask Holy Spirit to show me,to release that vision, because once I can visualise how my life will look uncluttered, I am far more likely to let Him move in my life and let go of the clutter.
Many decluttering experts advise to learn to file quickly. Their advice is that once we have created a simple filing system, we just need to learn to use it regularly. To take a handful of papers from our pile, or our inbox, and go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Make quick decisions: do they go in the rubbish, to file them immediately, or make a note of the action required and put them in an “action” file. Don’t put anything back on the pile, and don’t put them anywhere but in a folder.
I think the same advice works for every area of our life; especially our thoughts and inner world. How de-cluttered would we be if we learnt to file regularly and quickly our thoughts, conversations, and days events. To make quick decisions; do I trash this conversation or thought, do I file this immediately because it is wisdom or revelation I can learn from. Do I need to act upon this?
When our home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming. Many advise to start with just five minutes. These baby steps are important; they are a start, and tomorrow we can take another five minutes And another the next day. Before we know it, we’ll have cleared a whole cupboard or a room, and before we know it our whole house.
The same can be said for starting the decluttering process in our emotional, spiritual and mental lives. Today I am loving my inbox and it’s de-cluttered look. It’s a lovely look, and one that I think God wants us to have. Start with taking five minutes today to ask Him where you can de-clutter your life. Then tomorrow do it again, and then the next until you grow to love the de-cluttered look and the freedom it brings.
“Let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
“Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:24)
Prayer: Lord thank you that you want me to live a life that is full of life and freedom. Help me to de-clutter my life, whether that be both physically in my home or work, my inner world or other areas of my life. Give me wisdom and clarity to know what to hold onto to, what to let go of, and what to throw in the rubbish. In Jesus Name Amen.