January 3, 2012
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (NIV 1984)
My friend was desperate. I could hear it in her voice as she talked about her disorganized house. She was disgusted. Her husband was frustrated. Every day was a challenge to get the kids ready, find clean socks and cook dinner.
The chaos in her home was affecting her emotionally. She felt like she was falling apart. Why couldn't she get it together? she wondered. After all, she was an intelligent, educated woman.
She was also embarrassed. So when I told her I'd love to come over and help, she put me off. It wasn't a bother at all, I said. Second to finding a litter of kittens needing me to rescue them, I love helping friends organize something. Eventually I wore her down and we set a date.
Walking into her house that morning with a cup of coffee for her in one hand and some boxes to sort things in the other, I immediately realized organization wasn't her problem. Clutter was. There was no point trying to organize anything. We needed to uncover and reclaim her home.
She wasn't a hoarder. Life circumstances had converged and overwhelmed her. Plus, the amount of visual mess was draining her energy and causing confusion. She couldn't identify what to keep and what to let go. And she was afraid to file anything in case she couldn't find it later ... but that wasn't working either.
I could relate to my friend's situation. What happened to her happens to most of us at some time. In fact, if she had come by my house a few years before that, she would have seen a very cluttered home. At the time, my husband and I had three little boys. We were outnumbered and I couldn't keep up with everything.
I've discovered that in most loving and lively homes, there is going to be a lot of clutter. It can be a sign of activity, intelligence and curiosity. Books from the library, art projects and magazines speak of minds and hearts that long to explore and create. However, left untended, clutter becomes a prison. And that is where my friend was. She just needed someone to come and help her get out.
Together we were able to quickly sort through stacks and piles. We discarded broken toys and dishes, recycled loads of paper and identified what was important. We didn't get much "organizing" done that day, but we sure did lighten her load - physically and emotionally. That was just the jumpstart she needed to continue bringing order to her home and life.
My friend did the right thing in sharing her situation. By admitting she needed help, she was able to get unstuck. The clutter had rendered her frozen in indecision, which is what happens quickly. It becomes like a prison, affecting our schedules, finances, homes and sometimes even our relationships. And that is far from the life of freedom God desires for us.
Galatians 1:5 tells us that Christ came to set us free. Free from sin. Free from legalism. Free from judgment. Basically, free from whatever holds us back. Jesus frees us from all this so we are free to live a simple, alert life. A lighter life. One where our minds are clearer, our focus sharper, our priorities evident and lived-out. Truly it's a life of freedom.
It may seem like a harmless pile of paper, or just a stack of clothes needing mending. In reality every area of clutter in our lives can be a link in a chain, holding us back from freedom. It doesn't have to be that way. Will you join me today in embracing God's gift of ordered and clutter-free life? I might not be able to bring you coffee, but you've got my support.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your freedom...freely offered in every area of my life. Please show me areas of clutter I have, and ways to clean them up to best serve You and those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Starting January 9th, Glynnis will be featuring a 15-Day Clutter-FREE Challenge on her blog. She'll be addressing ways to reduce the clutter in our minds, schedules, offices and homes. If you'd like to join her, visit her blog today for more information.
I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer
Is there an area of your life where clutter is holding you back from obeying God? What one thing can you do today to start addressing that clutter?
What are common reasons clutter builds up in my life?
How have I seen clutter affect me in negative ways? Consider all areas of life.
Galatians 5:13, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 4:2, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." (NIV)
© 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105