Jen’s Gem: Let God help you declutter your life.
Many years ago I began to clear out my house of unnecessary and unwanted items. Tag sales, donations, and filled trash bags were regular activities. I do believe I was personally responsible for filling the shelves at my local Goodwill store!
Perhaps I knew one day I’d move to a smaller place and would have no place to put silver serving trays, multiple sets of dishes, and other home accessories. I was never one for clutter. I can vividly recall clearing off my entire desk at college in preparation for an exam or research paper. Dirt and dust were ok, but not clutter.
As crazy as it sounds, the belongings of a four bedroom house are now in a two bedroom condo. What’s even crazier is that I have room to spare! I have multiple empty kitchen drawers and barely-filled cabinets. I find myself looking for things to put into them! My next move may be a tiny house!
Many people ask me how I was able to downsize so much. It can be an overwhelming task and analysis paralysis can rear its ugly head as we give reason after reason for why something is needed.
- “But I might have 40 people over for dinner so I need all of those dinner napkins.”
- “What if xyz breaks? It’ll cost me more to replace it than to just keep an extra.”
- “My Mom (Dad, best friend, child, whomever…) gave that to me.”
We can pretty much talk ourselves into (and out of) anything, can’t we? There was no magic to my decluttering process. I didn’t read any books or follow Marie Kondo on Instagram. I followed the Jennifer Covello system of decluttering:
- Does it have a purpose right now in my life?
- Do I love it and does it bring me joy?
If the answer to either these questions was no, off it went. Simple. On those rare occasions when I couldn’t make a decision, I simply put it aside to review later. This is why I now have empty kitchen drawers.
I found this process easy. In fact, the last few parings were even easier as I knew our move was pending. I’m not a “things” person. I don’t get my joy or sense of value from the stuff I own. (Hmm… well, a new Mercedes might bring me a bit of joy!) In short, my belongings don’t have a hold on me.
I’ve watched enough reality shows to see the grip that things can have on people. Their unwillingness to let them go has damaged their mental and physical health and their relationships. I found myself shouting at the TV many times – “Just throw it out!” But the hold on the trinket was too strong and people would not budge. They couldn’t move forward.
The same principle applies to our beliefs and behaviors. We’ve held onto our tried and true thought patterns and actions for so long that they have taken root in us. They have become a stronghold, with a grip so tight that the Jaws of Life cannot break them.
We want to let them go, but they are so instinctual, so deeply ingrained in who we are, that we become paralyzed. We don’t know any other way to think or act. Let’s look at one or two examples.
You send an email or text to someone and they don’t respond right away. You may think “I wonder if they are mad at me.”
Something doesn’t turn out as you planned. You may say “Nothing ever works out for me.”
Someone betrays you. You convince yourself that you are unlovable and question your value.
Even though these false beliefs have no purpose in your life, even though they bring you no joy, for many of us, we hesitate to let them go. Who will I be if I don’t act or think this way? What will I do when this or that happens again?
I get this. I truly do. I have fought my way through many strongholds in the past ten years and by the grace of God and the miraculous power of His Word, I can truthfully say, many of the things that used to cripple me have been tossed into the trash. They no longer have power over me.
They no longer have power over me because I know that the God I serve is bigger than they are. The moment I stopped giving more attention to these strongholds than they deserved, they began to fall away. When I put them through the Jennifer Covello system of decluttering, they failed…epically.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
Our clutter – both physical and mental – steals our joy. Anything that steals our joy is not from God. His will is for us to be filled with joy, not stress. His will is for us to be blessed, not cursed.
I made the decision long ago do whatever it took to stop serving these false beliefs – these gods that have stolen way too much joy from my life. It’s a work in progress but I know I’ll have victory because the God I serve is bigger than these strongholds.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV
This week, I’d like to encourage you to declutter your life of these joy-stealers, these false beliefs, these idols that are keeping you from being all that God intended you to be. Take them one by one and put them through my proven process. For those in the “I can’t make a decision yet” pile, ask God to help you. Pray for Him to help you release them.
When God helps you declutter, you’ll be amazed at how much space you’ll have.