the joy of LESS!
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)
What is all this stuff? Why are we still storing it? One of these boxes has been moved from house to house to house. You know what I mean right? All those faded photographs of people you don’t even remember, old tax returns, my size 2 triathlon wetsuit, tools we don’t need and don’t know how to use anyway. Those dresses from the 80s, ones like Diana Spencer wore, before she became that Princess. If you don’t know who that is never mind. Don’t discard the Laura Ashley dresses that fit just yet, they’re back!
How hard is it to distill our lives down to the things that will matter most in the long run?
Think of the clutter, dirt, cleaning products, bottles of sunscreen way past their expiration date, old baggage—much of which is left in closets unused, broken, and non-functioning. And the really icky trash we have—some closets have grown toxic with mold and mildew. You might just need a professional or a hazmat suit to deal with that!
For me, it is easier to see and to clear the clutter in Greg’s closet and ignore my own mess. I guess I need to take responsibility for my own mess and leave the, “Lord, what about this man?” question alone. Jesus points the finger at me and in so many words reminds me, “What is that to you? You follow me!” (check out John 21:22).
The other day Greg asked me: “Hey, where’d my Buffalo Springfield shirt go? You didn’t put it in the bag you’re giving to The Salvation Army did you?” As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It is not the first time he’s salvaged a valuable item from the donation pile!
My girlfriend texted me right in the middle of the worst of the project.
“Hey hope your organizing is going smooth! I know you are busy, but I said I’d text. Ping me back if you need an extra hand or want to escape for a walk around the block.”
“Ahhh, I’m up to my eyeballs in the garage. Sorry, I’m gonna plow thru this mess, and no one can decide this stuff but me.”
Meanwhile, the overflowing shelves in my closet go unnoticed. And like our closets, life can get cluttered too.
If you have a moment right now, as you are surfing the web for trending shoes that caught your eye, stop! Take a moment and think about this: What is cluttering your life (your closet)?
I was reading a book called The Home Edit. I love that word edit, even the sound of it. It’s concise, with just four letters and no unnecessary vowels. The dictionary uses words like this to define its many shades of meaning: 1. to prepare by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it. 2. to be editor of, control the content of, control, direct, run, manage, be in charge of, be responsible for, be at the helm of, be chief of, head, lead, supervise, superintend, oversee, preside over a change or correction made as a result of editing.
That will preach right? I frequently need correcting, condensing, and controlling to stop adding more stuff to my life.
Here is the gist of the book so you don’t have to add it to your bookshelf!
- Step one: Take all the junk out and look at it in the bright light!
- Step two: Create groupings (this part is helpful to see what you really have. Do you really need those 20 pairs of sneakers, 30 black sweaters, 40 boho dresses? Right?)
- Step three: Pare down . . . edit.
Let’s try to prioritize things into categories into give away, put away, and throw away! What things are necessary vs. unnecessary, trendy vs. classic? Think Madonna 1980, think Jackie Kennedy and all her life! What is temporal passing away vs. eternal what will last forever? To quote KonMari (created by author and decluttering expert Marie Kondo), Does it bring you joy? If you answer yes, you keep it. If you hesitate or say no, give it away or throw it out. It’s simple, it’s brilliant.
Choosing temporal things will only bring fleeting happiness and end up draining energy, time, and finances. Jesus must be the Master Editor of our lives, why not pray and ask Him first?
I know it’s not possible for me to do all that is in my head to do but what is the most needful thing? I have to remind myself I’m doing myself a major disservice by saying “yes” to everyone and everything; I end up spreading myself too thin. Do I really have the time to go to that baby shower, or a last minute run out to a lunch date, to take that call, or do whatever else pops up on my radar? One thing is needful, Cathe, choose that good part, it shall not be taken away from you (see Luke 10:42 KJV).
What is that one thing I am to prioritize above all others?
I need to be more peaceful, focused on Jesus, who was always on time, always tending to the most important thing, never overlooking the people who needed Him. And still He made time to pray, and eat, and rest. That is always the starting point for editing and decluttering my life: praying, listening, and then when I hear . . . go and do that.
Here is some food for thought. I copied down two quotes under the heading “SIMPLIFY” in my alphabetized and neatly inscribed journal (just kidding, I will work on that someday). Actually, they are scribbled sideways and barely legible in the margin of my Bible.
The secret to “doing it all” is not necessarily doing it all, but rather discovering which part of the “all” He has given us to do and doing all of THAT. —Jill Briscoe
There is so much that is desirable, very desirable—desirable in the highest spiritual sense; but it must be second to that which is needful. —C. H. Spurgeon
Also, I love this poem by Ruth Bell Graham, don’t you?
There will be less someday—
and there will be More:
less to distract
More, to adore;
less to burden
More, to undo
the cluttering of centuries,
That we might view
again, that which star
we shall be poorer—
stripped—and free . . .