I am a very task oriented person. I focus on one task, work like a Trojan to get it done and out the way, and then start on the next one. In the mean time, quite often – no, always! – everything else unravels. It has got a lot worse since I started homeschooling our four children, because now that one single task that enjoys my 100% focus spans almost a whole year.
So, you can imagine the frightful state of my home! It’s scary. Everyone scrambles when we have scheduled visitors coming.
But then, when we finish a school year, I yearn to get into every cupboard and nook and declutter, tidy and chuck out. So satisfying!
And so it was last year this time. God actually told me that it was time to declutter. And I can really recommend the Marie Kondo method, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, and Spark Joy tidyingup.com. Especially when you don’t know where to start, and are a little (or a lot) overwhelmed.
I was especially looking forward to my headspace clearing. There is a huge difference between walking into a room with your cup of coffee and sitting down in a messy room to doing the same in a serenely open and beautiful space. Immediately you have space in your mind to think! There are happy thoughts swirling in your head when drinking a cup of coffee in peace and quiet, in a tidy room. Those same happy thoughts vanish into oblivion the moment you sit down and see a mess?! Of course, with children sharing your space, the long term success is somewhat limited. But why not take the opportunity to teach into it, learning a tidier lifestyle will benefit them in the long run.
The physical-mental benefits of decluttering are obvious. But what is spiritual decluttering? Because I do believe that that was what God was actually after. What I have also noticed, is that what I do in the physical, has a spill-over effect into the spiritual, and vice-versa.
There was a scripture that struck me once, stopped me in my tracks: My sheep know My voice from John 10. About Jesus being our shepherd. As Christians, we should be hearing His voice. All of us. Why don’t we? Well, God speaks to us in a still small voice 1 Kings 19:12. To hear a still small voice, you need to be in a quiet place, and be sitting really close. If someone whispers to you in a nightclub, you won’t hear a thing. If someone whispers to you across a distance of ten meters, you won’t hear anything either.
Closeness is obvious. A lot of noise a little less so. God showed me that everything I spend time on, takes space. In my mind, in my life. Decluttering spiritually means to take stock of what you spend time on. What do you read, what do you listen to, who do you spend time with? I had to really clean up. I even went as far as to clean up my Facebook friends list, because it’s what I saw everyday. (You don’t need to unfriend, you can just unfollow). I started reading the Bible instead of novels and magazines, I listened to worship music instead of the radio, I stopped watching movies and TV series that used bad language etc.
Decluttering takes care of two things. First, all the noise goes, and you can hear. Second, you get to know His voice. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we get to know their voice, and then we can recognize it in a crowded room. That is important. Because the enemy is going to try to deceive you. He will also be whispering in your ear. Will you recognize that this is not the voice of your shepherd? If you don’t know His voice, you’ll get confused.
On a lighter note, we are in week 31 of a 36-week curriculum, now you understand the state of my house! In 5 weeks time I’m decluttering again!