The national press seemed to pick up on this trend last year when New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg called on designers to come up with “micro-unit” apartments under 300 feet to accommodate the city’s growing single population.
Then there is the tiny house movement. These homes can make the NYC spaces look palatial in comparison. With homes as small as 89 square feet, it’s impressive to see how creativity plays a big role in making the best use of every nook and cranny. I appreciate how the owners of small houses live out their convictions of simple living and freedom from debt.
I’ll be thinking about this movement the next time I tackle cleaning our garage, which is filled with bikes, sporting equipment and other odds and ends. In the process of de-cluttering and organizing, I have a renewed sense of appreciation for those who say living a life free of clutter is liberating. As I look at the mess in my garage, I find it hard to disagree with them.
As is often the case, the lessons we learn in the physical world make sense in the spiritual world, as well. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can see that clutter can dominate not just the houses or apartments we live in – it can also take over our hearts and minds.
There’s social media at our fingertips on our smart phones. There’s “must-watch” movies debuting every Friday. There’s our kids’ soccer, baseball and ballet practices filling up our schedules. There are bills to pay, bathrooms to clean and diapers to change. There’s even the temptation to take on a lot of responsibility at church or at other organizations we volunteer with.
There comes a point where these things – which aren’t bad in and of themselves – create clutter in our lives. I think that turning point when the good becomes harmful is when it crowds out the things that truly matter – God and family – from our lives.
I look at my own life, where I have to balance out the one thousand possible speaking engagements, media opportunities and charitable events that my role as president of Focus makes possible. Most of them are very, very good. I’m honored that so many people think of me, and I wish I could say yes to everything.
But then I look to my home, to my wife Jean, and my boys, Trent and Troy. I look at my schedule to make sure I have a daily quiet time with my Lord. And that’s when I realize that to make room in my life for what absolutely needs to be a priority, I’ll have to say no to many important things.
Think of your life like a tiny house, because, after all, it is but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14). Make sure there’s a place for everything that truly should be there, and ask God for the wisdom to know the difference.
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