Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cleaning Out the Clutter

Summer-time is always a nice distraction from the norm.  Soaking up the sun.  Playing in the water.  Visiting with friends and family.  Communing with nature.  I love every part of it.

As the weather turns cooler and we begin to settle back into our school-time routine, I have been focusing on simplifying our lives.  When the dust settled from all of our activities this summer, I looked around my house and found so much "stuff":  that bread-machine that at one time was used regularly, but now is collecting dust...that entertainment center that is just too big...that impractical desk...those dishes that were never used, but would be so great given the right occasion....that stack of chairs...those last remnants of baby clothes and gear...curriculum from five years ago...little odds and ends everywhere.  They all needed to GO! 

Now that our "I've-been-watching-too-many-episodes-of-Hoarders-yard-sale" is over, I am trying to reorganize our spaces so that they can actually be useful.  I am concentrating on using what we have to its fullest potential.

All of this has me reflecting on how much we need to be doing the same process with our hearts and minds.  What "clutter" are you holding on to?  What about those memories of times past that left a negative impact on you?  That defensive wall that was put up years ago to protect you against a situation that is now long gone?  Do you have a list of disappointments you keep revisiting?  How about all the "what if"s and "if only"s?  Let's not forget those stacks of selfishness and entitlement tucked away in the corner and the junk-drawer full of anger and resentment.  Oh, and that pile of pride over there with a blanket thrown over it, you're not fooling anyone.  It all needs to GO!

We don't have to do it alone.  Truth be told, it is impossible to do it alone.  Only God can clear out all of the years and decades-worth of junk in our hearts and minds.  Ask Him.  Nothing is too big--and nothing is too small--for our Father. 

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."  Ephesians 6:18

And as we work on clearing out the clutter, let us work on becoming useful.  We have so much potential in each one of us.  God can use the smallest offering and turn it into the biggest miraculous blessing.  (Can you say mustard seed?)  But we must offer ourselves to Him and to His service first.  God has gifted each of us with a unique set of qualities.  Are you using yours to their fullest potential?

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."  Romans 12:6-8

January 1st has never been tremendously significant to me.  This time of year is my "New Year".  As we head into a new school year, it feels so good to have "new", functional spaces in my home.  I want the same in my heart and mind. 

Time to refocus my mind, revamp my days, and renew my vision.  Will you join with me?

Empty out the clutter.

Use what you have been given to its fullest potential.

Let God take your small offering and turn it into a beautiful blessing.

"Behold, I make all things new."  Revelation 21:5

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