“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.
Kathi, your writing is so on time for me. Ironic, isn’t it? God knew I needed some support in this subject.
I’m just recently retired, and I’m in the process of the de-scaling my work clothes closet. Not sure what to keep and what to move out.
I’ve gone through all of the emotions you’ve listed in section 2, but I know I’m headed in the right direction for my life now. I just need some spiritual support to help me, start to feel the “spirit of light” from the heavy load of stuff.
I can relate to your comment of control, by hanging on to everything. God is the only one, that I need to shoulder the “yoke” I’ve been carrying (refer to : Matt. 11: 28-30).
Thank you for this blessing this am. I think I’m going to need the help of a friend, as you suggested, to help me physically move things along.
I think clutter can also mean living in the pain, fear, worries of the past. Living in past experiences and not living in the moment. We can’t move into the future God has for us by looking in the rearview mirror.God is our strength and courage. Our identity is in the love of Christ. Lord help me get rid of the clutter! Amen
Thank you for hitting the mark with this helpful devotion. I’m beginning to feel free of the need to hold on to things I might need in the future. Living in the “now” is where I need to be! God says to take care for today…He’s got tomorrow.
Carol – It sounds like you are making so much progress in your mind and spirit!!! I hope you’ll join us over in Clutter Free Academy on Facebook – we have a LOT of support over there!
Colleen – You are so right!
Hope – I love that you are living in the now! Praise God!
This was gold, Kathi! Thanks so much for writing this and for your valuable ministry. Now I need to sit down and sort through my notes lol.
Carol – I also retired a couple years ago, and it helps me to think about the women who can use and need my business attire. We’re helping them!
Kathy- I struggle with all of these and your spiritual applications and explanations are SO helpful! Thank you!