Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Dangers of De-Cluttering

After New Year’s I began a frenzy of de-cluttering. Before the weather turns hot again, I am taking advantage of a spurt of energy and motivation to clear out all the unnecessary stuff lurking in my closets, cabinets and dressers. The question is what to do with it all? I can have a garage sale, but why should I strap some other missionary with junk I have accumulated after 16 years living in the same house?

Who would want it?

In the same way, I’m attempting to start the new year straightening up things lurking in my heart and mind. Journaling is a good exercise that allows me the luxury of examining my faulty thinking and trashy attitudes without the risk of strapping someone else with them.

There’s an inherent danger in “venting” and “unloading” on husbands, older children, coworkers, and friends near and far away. When I do that, my brain is de-cluttered and my thoughts become clear, but as I am freed from baggage, my listener becomes stuck with it.

A short while back, I shamefully found myself on autopilot, rehearsing a past grievance until my listening coworker finally stopped me, saying, “This is not helpful to me. I am so sorry you were hurt like that, but what am I supposed to do with this information? It just makes me mad. Can we change the subject?”

That was a wake-up call for me. By the grace and healing touch of God, that subject is now forever closed. How I regret my sin of smearing the garbage on my unsuspecting friend.

De-cluttering, unfortunately, is like dieting. You can’t simply say, “Oh, I did that once.” It’s a life-long battle to keep the junk from accumulating in your house and life. I challenge you to check your heart for unseen or maybe more obvious messes that need a clean-up, too.

Trust me, resentment only breeds and multiplies when left alone, and it’s not a pretty sight. It hinders ministry that can only come from a clean heart.

IRL* de-cluttering junk, trashy attitudes, faulty thinking…Who would want it?


  1. [first posting of 1/27/10 was deleted due to tech problems]
    Comment from Shilo:

    Kudos to your gutsy friend! And thanks to you for your honesty and wise advice!
    Blessings from Paraguay,

  2. I agree! Your friend was very courageous to speak up...thank you for your words of encouragement about keeping our minds free of the junk...blessings! Becky

  3. Yes, kudos to my friend. The added challenge is to become that kind of discerning friend myself, and not let other people's muck stick in my mind and heart.

  4. Wow! Thanks for the great reminder! Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down and a prayer journal is a great place for all of that clutter!

  5. Oh shoot - this is just another reminder that I should journal. :)

    I guess that's better than having to have you say those words to ME one day!! :)


  6. Confirmation, big time! Our ministry is going through the same house cleaning. How to deal with our junk without sliming another sister or brother. Even when we share a "prayer" request, we can pass the dirt. We need God to be the keeper of our lips. Thanks for the confirming word.

  7. Prayer requests. Yes, that, too. Those are tricky on lots of levels (gossip, slander, etc.). Being transparent with those you pray with is needed, but oh so risky. I'm praying your ministry survives the cleaning process with love and grace.

  8. Getting in on this late, but I should have been reading it early. What a wise comment by your friend! I need to say that to myself sometimes.

  9. What a great idea. Say it to yourself before saying something outloud that others need to reject. I like this thought.


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