When the new year rolls around, most people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise, get their finances in order, etc. I’m working on all those, too.
For starters, though, I clean house.
Well, let me clarify that…my husband prods me to clean house. To throw away or give away things that are no longer essential or desired. To put old documents in the shredder or recycling. To pass along clothing and knickknacks to the thrift store. My sweetheart is helpful to keep our home in order.
As I process this household-purging routine through my old-habits-of-hoarding brain, it’s both intimidating and exhilarating. Once the clutter is gone, it’s as if someone else has cleaned house for me! I love the streamlined space. I don’t miss the old stuff. In fact, once it’s in the thrift store bin or garbage can, it loses all its ability to cling to me.
Years ago, I ran across a Depression-era mantra in an old magazine—“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It was common sense…simple wisdom in an era when there weren’t enough resources to go around. The Depression put our materialism in perspective…we didn’t need to desperately hang onto things that weren’t really necessary.
Today, where I live, COVID and cold weather are keeping us home again, and it’s time to let go of stuff that clogs our closets and lives. It’s time to clean house, with Jesus in command.
Remember when He took a whip and “cleaned house” at the Temple? When He ran off all those money-changers and animal-sellers who had set up profitable shops in His sacred place of worship?
Jesus was singularly focused—He cleansed the Jerusalem church of its in-His-face clutter, of the things that appeared reasonable on the surface but detracted from the purity of His house.
How can we engage His power in our lives today, to help us get rid of stuff that impedes us from serving Him?
Ask Jesus to clean house with you. Ask His Holy Spirit to show you what’s really important and what’s not. Just because something has a twinge of sentimental attachment doesn’t mean it should be kept. Keep only the best, and ask His help to get rid of the rest.
Ask long-term questions. Will I still need this in 10 years? If not, I sure don’t need it now. Will the kids throw this away after I’m gone? If so, I might as well ditch it now to save them the trouble. That’s showing real love to them, not for the stuff.
Clean in small stages. Take only one small corner, drawer, closet, etc. Clean it out, close it up, and save your next cleaning spot for tomorrow. Ask Him every day to show you where to start.
Don’t fill it back up. The only way to keep things clean is by NOT going out and buying more things. Adopt a “wait” attitude on purchases. (For a great message on avoiding “buy buttons,” see Mama Lava’s Back Porch blog here–https://mamalava.wordpress.com/2021/11/29/buy-buttons-how-understanding-them-will-make-and-save-you-money/)
Celebrate every cleaning and tossing. Look for the joy in the removal of stuff, not the loss. There is much to be gained in having less stuff! Do a happy dance with Jesus!
Keep your focus on Him. If we truly have a mission to serve Him, then what’s important to Him will be outside your home. Channel your resources into giving them away for His kingdom work. Spend time serving others instead of letting unnecessary stuff clog your hours.
My prayer for you is to let Him help you clean house, even as I ask the same for myself. Let’s get going today for a less cluttered, happier 2022 in Christ!
Dearest Jesus…please help us to get our priorities in order with You this year. Give us the energy, wisdom, self-discipline, and joy to let go of things. Help us to de-clutter our homes, closets, calendars, and attitudes so that we will be freer to serve You and Your kingdom. In the power of Your name and Your Holy Spirit, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.