With school out and more free time on my hands, I’m in the midst of cleaning out the clutter in my house. Outgrown and outdated clothing, broken toys,expired coupons, junk mail and items I don’t even recognize! And this is just the beginning of the stuff I’ve come across. As I attempt to go through each room, closet and drawer, I have to decide which category the item in question needs to go.
Trash it? Give it away? Move it to its proper place?
So I literally have three plastic bins in which these items will be tossed.
Trash: These are obvious and don’t take long to figure out. Something that’s broken, used up or never should have taken up residence in our house. Where did this come from? Why did we not throw this away sooner?
Give it away: This takes a bit more thought. Maybe the item is still of value but it doesn’t fit anyone in our household. Wrong size. Not our style. Someone can get some use out of this! Maybe a single mom in need of clothing for her growing children. A toy for a child who has nothing. I feel relieved as I bag these things up, knowing I’m getting rid of the clutter in my home but passing on something useful for someone else.
Put it where it belongs: These are the things simply out-of-place and need to be put back where they belong. This screwdriver doesn’t belong in the laundry room; it goes in the garage. This book needs to go back on the shelf instead of under the bed. Sometimes I laugh at where things end up and I think How did this get here?
Similarly, I often find myself going through a season where my mind is crowded with too much clutter. And I sense some junk growing in my heart. I can decide which category these things belong in. The thoughts, feelings and behaviors in question can be filtered through God’s perspective before I intentionally put them where they go.
Trash: These should be obvious to me, but unfortunately I’ve often held on to things for way too long that should have been trashed. Ugly thoughts. Prideful actions. Selfish behaviors. Yuck! Into the trash you go. These are the sins Christ died for. These are things destructive to my life. They should have no place in my heart or mind.
Give away: Sometimes I have those thoughts that need attention, but I shouldn’t dwell on them. Issues requiring concern aren’t destructive. But when the concern turns to worry or anxiety, it’s time to give it away. Who am I giving these thoughts to? God tells us to bring every thought captive to Him. To bring them straight to the throne of grace. The concerns about my child don’t go in the trash. The pain in my heart over a strained relationship doesn’t get thrown out. I give it to God. And sometimes He uses other people to help us carry our burdens.Maybe after I pour my heart out in prayer I should call a friend and ask for support.
Put in the proper place: Now this is where I really need wisdom and discernment! Some thoughts, attitudes and behaviors don’t need to be thrown out or given away. But they most certainly need to be prioritized…put in the right place in my life. Spending time with my friends is a blessing, but if I put it ahead of my relationship with my husband, it’s not in its proper place. Date nights with my husband are a top priority, yet if I focus more on this than my time with God, it’s not in its proper place. Posting on this blog is important to me, but if I ignore my daughter consistently while working on it, my calling as a mom is not in its proper place.
So, what about you dear friend? Is it time to clean out the clutter in your mind? Time to get rid of the junk in your heart? Is God calling you to a season of honestly looking at your priorities through His eyes? Toss the ugly stuff in the trash. Give away the concerns weighing you down. And put the blessings He’s lavished on you in their proper place.
Freedom washes over me as I watch the garbage truck take my trash out of sight. Peace comes to me when I drop off the bags of stuff at Goodwill. Confidence perks me up with everything in its proper place in an orderly home.
But none of these compare with the JOY I experience when I truly put God first in all I do. This happens one thought, attitude and behavior at a time.