Thursday, October 09, 2008

Clutter

So I am starting to attempt to remove the clutter and disorganization from my physical and spiritual life.

It's odd - at work I have gotten to the point that I am fairly organized. I am a firm believer in the idea that a clean desk promotes an organized mind and work environment, almost to the point that I become physical uncomfortable if I have too many piles.

However, our home life has never really been that way - not messy per se, just disorganized with a lot of stuff involved. It was like that before na clann arrived, so of course that didn't assist anything.

Why do we hold onto things? If I look around me, at my own stuff, why do I keep the things I do? Some of it is from nostalgia or sentimental value, of course, and some of it is because the things are useful to me. But what about those that are neither sentimental nor useful?

Part of it, I suppose, is a comfort thing. We keep things that make our environment comfortable and soothing to us, a place we want to be. I think, however, I'd probably include this stuff in the useful category, as it is serving a purpose (but can change status as we change our decor, our lives, etc.)

The rest, I think, is simply the fact that we don't really like to give things up. Why? Two reasons: 1) Fear we're going to need it again and not have it; 2) A sort of base materialism that prevents us from getting rid of things, even if we don't need them.

Our greatest challenge is our garage, which is packed full of stuff which we are going to sell in a garage sale. In some cases, the stuff has been there for 6-7 months since our last garage sale. Is there any thought that we will really any money on this? No. But what keep us from just clearing it out and donating it, or simply giving it away? The nagging thought that money is walking out the door.

A third reason pops into my head as I write - keeping things that meant something to us, especially things we used to participate in or do, out of a sense that getting rid of them is getting rid of ourselves. To get rid of those golf clubs or that hobby item that meant so much to us 10 years ago, that we poured so much time into, can be like getting rid of part of ourselves.

It occurs to me that our spiritual lives are just like this: we collect clutter over the years through sin, bad habits, bad ways of living, baggage we carry around, to the point that it prevents us from being effective or useful to God. As hard as it is to get something in a full closet or garage, how much harder to wade through the corridors of the heart looking for love and humility as we're pushing aside boxes labeled "Sins of my youth I never gave over to God" or "Last week's argument with my wife" or "Spiritual laziness"?

Perhaps that's why God will use fire in His judgement of rewards of the believer (1 Corinthians 3:12-15): fire, more than any other physical item, is the one thing that truly reduces all items, both important and unimportant, into something that will blow away in the wind. Only those things within will remain.

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