Now I don’t know about you but usually for me at least twice a year I get the sudden urge to go through my house and declutter. This usually occurs a few days into the New Year. I suddenly find all the ‘stuff’ I am surrounded by becomes overwhelming. So, I fill a few bags for the charity shop and then the urge starts to slows down, I lose motivation and then just end up putting things neatly in boxes. Things that I know I will never use or need, but for some reason I can’t seem to get rid of. I am storing so much that I don’t need or use that it ends up blocking access to the useful things in my house.
Recently I have felt God challenge in this area – do I really need all this stuff? Why do I need 400 books, 300 DVDs, loads of CDs, 30 t-shirts? (I could go on). I feel God is challenging the consumerism in me. We live in a society which constantly tells us that we will only be happy if we consume. It tells us that our lives will only be whole and better if we buy all this stuff. Whenever I go to Sainsbury’s for food, I am surrounded by shelves of items that I am told will make my life easier. Even if I have 10 baking pans already maybe I haven’t quite got the best one yet! It’s no wonder we struggle with clutter.
Now I don’t believe it is wrong to have nice stuff, or useful things around the house, but something that I have feel God open my eyes to is my attitude when I am out and about. I have realised how programmed I am to go somewhere and feel like I need to buy something even if I don’t really need or want it. It feels like the battle between flesh and spirit (Check out Galatians 5 v16-18). This is something that I am asking God to give me his self-control for.
So I have embarked on a major sort through the house – ruthlessly putting things in bags and boxes. I have been to the charity shop so often that they are currently too full to accept new donations! This time I won’t stop until I have finished because I need to go deeper than just a surface clean. There are things that I don’t use that I haven’t wanted to let go but God has gently encouraged me – and reminded me to not cling onto earthly treasures. Yes, of course, there are some things that I have put away that would be useful for my children one day, and I have saved photo albums and some encouraging letters, etc. But I am slowly learning to let go, to hold lightly to things of this earth. And to know that my real treasure lies within the heart of God and having a deep relationship with Jesus.
I have felt God help me declutter things in my life that get in the way of going deeper with him. I am someone who is very creative, and have lots of hobbies. I can launch myself with huge enthusiasm into a new skill like knitting and be consumed by the need to knit as many scarves as possible (it is the only thing I can knit!) and then half way through a scarf I would get the passion to make 100 cards and then half way through start a new painting. You can see a pattern emerge. I can become so distracted with this and that that I can forget to focus on the areas and true gifts that God has given me to use for His glory. This is an area that I have had to surrender to God and to ask for his wisdom, strength, leading and self-control.
As I have been clearing the house, and also begun emotionally and spiritually decluttering, I have felt a deeper peace and reliance on God. I have started to realise that I want less and less of what the world has to offer as it doesn’t satisfy. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled’ (Matthew 5 v 6) is my aim.
Yes it is a journey and I can only do it through the grace and strength of God and the power of the Holy Spirit within me. I encourage you to remember we never have to do any of this on our own, but God strengthens us! I pray that God leads you and blesses you greatly this week and that you would truly know his joy, love, grace, healing, hope and freedom in your life.