By the end of the year, most of our homes have accumulated lots of stuff and can seem a bit cluttered at times. Whether you do it in the fall or the spring, decluttering our homes is a task we must all do from time to time.
And just like our physical space can collect dust and clutter, so can our hearts and minds. We can become so filled with random “stuff” that we lose track of what matters most – time with God.
Is it time to declutter your spiritual life?
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Why Do I Need to Declutter My Spiritual Life
Clutter in our homes can take over our lives. Too many disorganized heaps leave us looking for things we want but can’t find.
Those jam-packed closets and stuffed “junk” drawers (I have 2!) seem to call out to us to organize them. All that clutter can stress us out!
The same process can happen in our spiritual lives. We can build up spiritual clutter until the only places left for God are the little nooks and crannies between it all. How can he fill you up when there is no space for him in your life?
Types of Spiritual Clutter
Spiritual clutter is anything that comes between you and your relationship with Jesus.
Your mind can be cluttered with excessive social media, news, Netflix or screen time.
Juggling a busy schedule can lead us to miss out on what God has planned for us. While we participate in our favorite spiritual hustle and bustle at church or in a group, are we taking quality time with Him?
We can get distracted from our relationship with Jesus by getting caught up in our own wants and needs.
It’s easy to leave our sin habits stuffed into a junk drawer. Resentments, bitterness, pride, anger – we all have behaviors that come between us and God.
What emotional spiritual clutter are you stuffing into your spiritual closet? Fear, anxiety, worry, guilt, and shame can take over your thought life and squeeze out the joy, peace, and contented spirit God wants you to experience.
Once you’ve identified your “messiest” spiritual closet(s), it’s time for action towards improving your spiritual health!
Consider Jesus' Example of Living an Uncluttered Life
Jesus definitely lived by the “less is more” motto! He taught his disciples to live uncluttered lives too.
He challenged them in Matthew 6: 31-32 NLT:
So don't worry about these things saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of the unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”
Likewise, Jesus sends his disciples out to preach his gospel with the instructions to “take nothing for the journey- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” Luke 9:3 NIV
He wanted his disciples (and us!) to learn to live on God's power and provision in their lives.
We are called to live life differently than those who have no trust in God's care for them. Our goals are beyond the material things of life. Jesus wants to fill our spiritual closets to the brim with Him!
5 steps to Declutter your Spiritual Life
Not sure how to begin sorting through the mess? Getting your spiritual wellness back to 100% takes a bit of focus and effort – and spending time with God. Here are some steps to help you get started.
As you begin the process, ask God to do the cleaning. Ask him to show you what he wants you to let go, and what he wants to stay. He may surprise you! What you consider expendable clutter may be an area that he has great plans for you and vice versa.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV
Unpack Your Clutter
As in any decluttering process, you must drag out all the “stuff” and lay it all out. Decide what spiritual closet you want to declutter and sort through it all. Ask yourself:
What activity or practice feeds your spiritual growth?
What distracts you and keeps you away from hearing Jesus’ voice?
Is it bringing God the glory? Paul tells us that
Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT
Bringing the glory to God should be our motivation in all we choose-or choose not– to do.
Don't rush the unpacking; take your time. If you get overwhelmed, stop. Start again another day.
Release and Surrender
What activities do you need to keep or let go of? Is it time to say no to a group, study, or class? Saying “no” to an opportunity is not un-Christian! If it’s not feeding your soul or drawing you closer to Jesus- release yourself.
Are you hanging on to something from a previous season of life that you can release?
What negative emotions do you want to surrender to God? Release the hurts, bad memories, and losses to him.
Have you felt a nudge or calling from God in a particular area that you are mulling over? Do you have a dream of serving Him in some way but have stuffed it in a cubbyhole somewhere? Pull them out and gently place them into His hands.
Organize the Good Stuff
Spend some quiet time with Jesus and let His Spirit lead you, reorient and guide you. It is his desire to equip you with all you need. Paul reminds us to
Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23 NLT.
Listen to His voice.
Decide what needs to take priority in your life. Incorporate them back into your life wisely.
Rest in His Presence
You did it! Congratulations! There is no routine, study, or activity that can give us what we crave most- resting in him.
The Benefits of Decluttering
Don’t you love how your spaces look after decluttering? While the process may take some time and hard work, I appreciate being able to find what I want. I feel less stressed and more organized. I find I have more time for what's important in life.
Likewise, decluttering your spiritual life has some awesome benefits as well!
- When you let go of the overwhelming schedule, you create order in your life. That can release stress and anxiety. When your “to-do” list is concise and achievable, you can see the purpose God has planned for you with greater clarity.
- Decluttering helps you manage your time and resources so that you can enjoy the true treasures of living your life centered in Jesus. It replaces the overwhelming calendar with peace and rest.
- When you clean out the unforgiveness, the impatience, the anxiety, and worry, etc, you are not only more available to His plans, but you are strengthened by his peace.
- Hoarding old sinful habits keep us from growing in our faith. We weren't made to live in the guilt and frustration of sin!
- Decluttering means less space for negative thoughts (that pesky emotional baggage) and behaviors (sin.) You can focus on your unique God-given image, talents, and strengths as he leads.
- God wants us to live contented and satisfying lives! When we declutter our spiritual life, we can focus fully on Him.
- Decluttering frees up space for the One who longs to hear from you and desires a deep, loving relationship with you.
Keeping Your Spiritual Life Healthy
Of course, once you have decluttered your spiritual life, it may be a challenge to keep it that way! This is not a one-and-done proposition. Decluttering on a more frequent basis keeps your spiritual life healthy and makes for a smoother process.
Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Health in 2020
As you come across opportunities, refer to your spiritual inventory and consider if it helps you come closer to Jesus. Take the time to evaluate, prioritize, and reorganize as God leads.
Then sit back and enjoy your decluttered, contented life in Christ!