By Linda Cummins
Cleaning out the Clutter….I get so excited every Spring to do “spring cleaning”. I feel like a little kid on summer break or when I get something new. There is a sense of newness and a fresh start, a clean slate filled with wide open space. The windows are open welcoming in the fresh air and the warm spring breeze. Out with the old and in with the new! Everything feels better and smells so good in this moment. I’m sure you are probably thinking, she is excited about spring cleaning? Don’t get me wrong I can get very overwhelmed by the task ahead of me but it is has become energizing, refreshing and very therapeutic.
To be honest I haven’t always been this excited to clean out the clutter….like the different times my girls have cleaned out my closet to purge anything that was “outdated”. The painful process of seeing an empty closet, all of my clothes in a pile as we sorted through what to keep and what to toss or give away. They were like drill sergeants making me make decisions about clothes that I have held on to for too long. But in the end, I loved it and felt like a burden was lifted. Along life’s journey I have enjoyed the benefits of learning to clean out the clutter in my home, my life, and in my mind.
Like you, my life can get filled with clutter before I even realize it. I can tend to procrastinate and let things pile up whether it is paperwork, yesterday’s laundry that needs to be folded, my endless to-do list or it can even get cluttered with “good things“—a stack of books or magazines I want to read and go through in search of home ideas, a new work out routine or healthy recipes to try.
Life moves very fast and sometimes I can get very overwhelmed with all of the responsibility of family, life, work, the never ending daily chores…grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, the un-finished projects, picking up after everyone and the growing to-do list. There are days when I feel like I am drowning in all of the “stuff”. My mind can also get filled with thoughts and emotions that can exhaust me with mental clutter.
Basically ANYTHING that can fill up the space in my mind and in my life that keeps me from moving forward is clutter…and needs to be cleaned out.
When your life is cluttered with unnecessary distractions, tolerations, or just plain junk, it can feel impossible to find your way forward. You must make room for what you want. I have to remind myself that Jesus wants so much more for me in life. His Word tells me that A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
When I am overwhelmed with the clutter in my life I have a choice. I can either ignore it, walk over it, rearrange it, completely shut down and pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep; or I can choose to regain my focus, make a plan and begin the process of cleaning out the clutter. Whether we choose to take 1 day a week, 15 minutes every day, or even 1 room a week to begin the process. The key is to START cleaning out the clutter and simply your life.
It begins in our mind…how we think. We must stop thinking negatively and about how painful and hard this will be. Think with the end in mind. Not only when I de-clutter will it free up space in my home—but it smells good, it feels good and it looks good. I feel better and it frees up my mind to think, creating an atmosphere that is filled with love, warmth and creativity. My mind and spirit is refreshed and renewed. Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The reason why we clean out the clutter is because there isn’t room for everything—old and new—in that closet, and/or in your life unless we drastically make changes and de-clutter. So everything comes out of the closet and is spread out over the floor in piles. Right away I have to start making decisions. Keep, give away or toss. Eventually I start focusing on the keepers. Sorting them and considering their value, need, usefulness and frequency of use. From there I group things in common together and begin placing them back in my closet. What I have discovered is that transforming my physical space is often a catalyst for transforming my inner space.
Similarly, when I face changes in my life I start examining what is valuable & true. What do I need to save and what do I need to clean out of my heart & mind. We do not need to clear out the clutter of a space to bring old baggage into it. Like the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8, I need to ask myself ….is this true, is this noble, is it right, is this pure, lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
And then in Hebrews 12:1-2 we are reminded to run the race set before me…..and never give up. Remove from your lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back……look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who completes it, makes it perfect.
What clutter do you need to clean out of your life to make room for God to do something new in your life? I promise you He wants so much more for you. He wants to do a “new thing” in you and in me.
What project/issue/to-do list item are you procrastinating with? It just keeps rolling over into next week, month or even next year. Make a decision to either do it or drop it.
What ties need to be cut? Making room in your life often means letting go of stale or inauthentic connections just like cleaning out those out-dated clothes. What apology is overdue? What relationship needs to be mended or even reconnected with? You can’t move into something new if your are holding on to something—a grudge, bitterness, anger—choose today to let it go. When we clean out the clutter it simplifies our life and mind and prepares us for the next. God is always preparing us for what He has prepared for us, but if our lives, our homes, our hearts and minds are so filled and overflowing with clutter—“stuff”—we have no room for anything else and we definitely are not prepared to move forward with Him.
Linda Cummins calls Florida home and loves soaking up time in the sunshine with her family, Team Cummins! She has been married to Mark for 27 years and is Mom to Emily and Katie (who are also on the Becoming Team!). She was (and always is!) Mark’s biggest cheerleader as he trained for his Ironman last November. Coming up with fun, new recipes, setting early morning alarms, and being the #1 curb side assistance crew, Linda partnered with Mark to cross the Florida Ironman finish line. She’s also running, biking, and learning to swim so that her Ironman can help her cross any finish line she chooses too as well! Linda is passionate about cheering on her daughters as they become who God made them to be, and she’s passionately pursuing becoming who God made her to be too!