For the past few months I’ve been on a quest to remove clutter from my life. I believe the reason for my desire to see things clean, orderly, and simple is because I will have to move out of my office at Fellowship by the end of April. This is something we, as a staff, will all be doing so the construction crews can start the office expansion and renovation. In this process, I’m seeing all of the piles of papers that need to be filed or shredded and the books that need to be sorted and donated. Sometimes this feels overwhelming and other times it makes me sad. The sadness comes from realizing all of the hopes and dreams that are tied up in objects. Some of the books look really great, yet I haven’t read them. Some of the papers might hold secret treasures that would have helped me make a better decision. As I write these words, I realize even more clearly how much energy all of these possessions and clutter take from me. Peter Walsh, author of many books about organization, has this to say about clutter:
“It means anything that stands between you and the vision you have for your best life. It could be a pile of inherited furniture or a jumble of kids’ toys all over the living room. But it could also be the constant self-doubt that creeps into your decision-making, anger about how you’re treated at work, shame about your weight or looks, or a tendency to respond defensively and critically when your spouse challenges you. Whatever the case, you have to ask yourself, “Does this item or thought or response move me closer to my vision for my best life?” If it does, great. If it doesn’t, what is it doing in your life?”
This past Sunday, Marlin Vis shared the story from Mark 10:17-31 about how a really good guy, who happened to have a lot of stuff, came to Jesus and asked what it would take to receive eternal life. Jesus tells him to remove the clutter because it is standing between him and what is best for his life. OK, I’m paraphrasing, but doesn’t this sound a bit like what Peter Walsh said in the previous paragraph? I hate to put Peter Walsh and Jesus in the same paragraph, but also recognize that both are speaking truth about the hold clutter and possessions can have on us.
So what might we receive when giving up those things that have a hold on our lives? Marlin shared two guarantees about what we receive when we choose Jesus over stuff:
- We will have enough (When we have more than enough, we share it with those in our community who don’t have enough).
- We will be made well.
I don’t know how this sounds to you, but it makes me feel energized to stop holding onto the security of clutter and start holding onto the promises of God. Enough! I need to go recycle some papers.