This past May meant the end of another school year and time to clean and declutter my office once again. It’s amazing (and disappointing) how much stuff accumulates in such a short time. It was a process of carrying out bags of junk, packing and filing this year’s papers, taking care of the papers I didn’t have time to deal with because school was going on, then vacuuming and dusting. When my office is neat, it’s an extremely functional space. I love it. All the stuff I need is close by making it easier to accomplish what I need to each day.
When it’s not neat … it’s a completely different story.
I find it’s not just my living spaces that need periodic cleaning. My heart does, too. I know I’ve accumulated a lot of junk, like a box of frustration there, a folder or two of fear stacked on the bookcase, a bad attitude taking up most of the room. When it gets that way, things like joy and peace are hard to find underneath all the other mess. (I know they’re in here somewhere … I remember bringing ‘em in and putting them right over there by that big pile of doubt.)
For a packrat like me, determining what needs to go is often a challenge. There are rare occasions when the right mood hits, and I can toss out with the best of them. However, when it comes to de-junking my heart, the mood never hits. I need outside help. Not just professional help. Divine help.
I have to rely on God and His word to identify the junk in the first place. Psalm 139 says, “Search me, O God and see if there be any wicked way in me.”(Ps. 139:23-24). I appreciate David putting that “if” in there, but we all know He’s going to find stuff.
I have to let go of the junk. Hebrews instructs us, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” (Hebrews 12:2). This is a lot easier said than done. I’m used to the junk. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. But it’s interfering with God’s ability to work in me and through me.
Finally, I need Him clean out the place. Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Psalm 51:10). If I do it, it looks like a group of four-year-olds have been on the job. Not only that, but I tend to bring the junk right back in. God is much more thorough, and He fixes it up the way He likes it.
Truth be told, I need to de-junk my heart a lot more often than I do. I tend to wait until I get tripped up and I’m forced to take some action. By that point, it’s a much bigger job. Even so, I’m always really glad when it’s done.
What about you? Ever had to de-clutter?