I was reading an online journal recently, and an article by Carolyn Lawrence caught my eye and inspired me to share these thoughts with you. This time of year is traditionally a season for Spring cleaning. I am not sure how many people have a good old clean of the curtains, baseboards, and cupboard tops these days, but I know that Carolyn and I find it hard to find time for the basics of housework, let alone more in-depth cleaning! Along with the cleaning often comes a bit of decluttering, and that is something I am always trying to do! It’s amazing how quickly clutter builds up!
When we have a tidy-up or a good old sort-out, we get rid of things that we don’t want or need anymore, which clutter up the place and make it look untidy. The same is true when we declutter our personal lives, and Lent is most definitely a time when we are encouraged to take stock of our spiritual lives in the run-up to the events of Easter. As we go about our day-to-day living, we gather things that can clutter our relationship with God and prevent us from living in close relationships with him and other people.
In chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews, the writer lists a ‘faith hall of fame’…people who have gone before us who have demonstrated great trust in God despite some pretty difficult circumstances. He follows this at the beginning of chapter 12 with the encouragement to us all, in the light of all these inspiring forerunners, to ‘…throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’
I wonder what is cluttering your relationship with God and others as you read this. Are there things that have made your life complicated and stressful that you need to lay down before God? These could be any number of things – unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, overwork, overspending, addictions, people-pleasing, lack of boundaries, bad habits or attitudes, wrong priorities, fears, and anxieties…the list is endless. Jesus tells us that when we follow him, his yoke is easy, and his burden is light, and yet sometimes, we are our own worst enemies and try to carry loads we were never intended to bear.
It can be a great exercise to reflect on the things cluttering our lives and relationships with God and others. I encourage you to take some time in the coming weeks to rest in God’s presence, fix your eyes on Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit to shine a light on any areas of your life that are entangling you and cluttering you up your soul. It may be that there is something for which you need to say sorry to God or someone else, a relationship that needs restoration, a habit that you need God’s power to break, or an attitude that you need God’s help to change. I pray that as you reflect on the clutter in your lives, you may find the freedom, lightness, and joy that come from living in peace, simplicity, and harmony with God and others. And if anyone feels the urge to come and help us clean the house, do let me know!