“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).
Friend to Friend
It never goes away.
It never gets smaller.
It is just clutter.
How destructive could it be, right? Just get over it.
But I would say piles of clutter have kept me stuck for longer than I care to admit.
Clutter takes time. I’ve gone through that pile several times and still couldn’t tell you all of what’s in it.
Clutter takes money. That bill I had a late payment on? In that pile. And that costs.
Clutter takes attention. I cannot tell you the number of times I get distracted by that pile when I see a piece of mail sticking out that needs my attention.
I had to recognize this very true reality: my clutter isn’t just a space problem. It’s a spiritual problem.
When we think about how to stay focused on our life in Christ, we can point to the imagery in Hebrews about getting rid of everything that distracts us.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
While it’s easy to see the imagery in that verse, we sometimes have trouble applying it in a practical sense.
Money and possessions are a frequent topic in the New Testament, and it’s easy to understand why. Jesus understood what a complicated relationship we would have—not only with our money, but also with our stuff.
It is no surprise to God when so many of us struggle with the belongings in our home – both wanting to get rid of them, as well as always, somehow bringing in more. And those possessions are squeezing the life out of us.
So how do we literally “throw off everything that hinders us”?
- Look for what is hindering you.
Would you like to be able to have a hurting friend come to your house, but struggle with what your house looks like? Would you like to serve your community more, but you just don’t have the time? Look for areas you want to grow in and determine what is holding you back.
- Look at the spiritual side of your stuff.
I believe our possessions can bring out a spiritual struggle. When you try to get rid of something, and resist doing so, do one of the following underlying messages apply?
“I might need it someday.” For me, this is fear God will not provide what I need in the future — that everything is up to me, so I need to hold on to absolutely everything in my life.
“But _________(fill in the blank) gave it to me.” So many of the items around our house come with an extra helping of guilt. As if our stuff equals the relationship of the person who gave it to us.
“But I spent so much money on it!” This statement shows up when I’m feeling shame about how I’ve handled my money (or time, or any other resources).
Fear, guilt, and shame are spiritual issues that keep us stuck and not able to move forward in our lives. When we deal with our actual, physical clutter, we are also dealing with the emotional and spiritual issues that often accompany it.
- Look for the ways God is leading you.
If you want to get rid of stuff because you know it is hindering you, find a friend who will lovingly sit with you to help sort through your stuff. Is there a program that can help you get to the core issue of your clutter? Not so you can live in a perfect house, but so you can have more space in your life for the calling that God has put on it.
Dear Lord, Help me to throw off what’s hindering me so I may be available for all You’re calling me to do. I want to live light so I can let Your light shine through me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Which of these four areas do you need to “declutter” to create more space for God’s calling in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Kathi has a free Facebook group, Clutter Free Academy, where you can start to get to the root of your clutter problem.
© 2022 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.