Living Simple to Simply Live!

Well its 3 am, and I am once again running my To-Do list through my head. That’s when it hits me……….maybe I have to re-evaluate my priorities, pare down my list of to-dos.  It was then I had a revelation, I’m in the midst of too much clutter. That’s my problem, too much STUFF in my life. Too much clutter in my home, too many people depending on me for something, too much mental chatter in my head. I’ve always envied those people who can throw or give away their belongings, and live simply. I’m also a big fan of TV shows such as Clean House, or Extreme Home Makeover. Wouldn’t it be great if someone came in to your home, cleared out the clutter, and then remodeled the inside of your home so it would appear new again? My only problem with that is, I so do not want my stuff, clutter, etc. put on display for a national audience. Its not that I’m ashamed of my home, but I’m a very private person and to know millions of viewers are staring at what’s in my fridge is a little bit disconcerting.

As a nation of consumers, I’m sure you all can relate to this……..instead of fixing something that is broken, such as a cell phone, computer, or a major appliance, we usually go out and buy another. Or if you are an avid reader like me, you already own more books than you can possibly read in a lifetime. Or maybe you have a hobby, or two, but lament the lack of time needed to enjoy them. You see where I am going, before long you simply have too much stuff in your house. And we haven’t even talked about the children’s clutter.  Maybe your spouse is the one who collects Mickey Mouse memorabilia and now is running out of storage room for such trinkets.  But all this adds up to clutter, and in time you may find it all becomes unbearable.

Then there is the mental noise, or clutter, we all carry around in our heads. It’s either the voice of your conscience telling you to please put that donut down, and save your diet, or maybe it’s a small voice from your childhood. This one I think we all hear at some point in our lives, the one telling us we aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, or maybe even just saying, Why Me? Or maybe you hear the voice of a parent, always nagging in the back of your mind, like a broken record.  Then there is that To-Do list mentioned earlier, the one that seems to be keeping me up way past my bedtime. What’s sad, is most of the items on my mental list are tasks that I really don’t have to do, but feel I should. Some days my life is filled with more should do’s, instead of want to’s. I imagine your days mirror my own in this respect.

I sometimes wish I could escape all this mental and physical clutter. Just shuck it all and live possibly as I imagine a monk does, cloistered in a monastery.  But I know for me it’s not an option, but maybe possibly an idea for a spiritual retreat. I would miss some of my busy, cluttered life, but definitely not all of it. And then there is the actual noise of living in a city that seems to contribute to my sense of overwhelming clutter.

You ask……where is all this leading? Well in my own meandering way, I am trying to confess something here. And maybe this isn’t the place, and since God is all-knowing, and hears my pleas, He already knows this, but I feel we all in some way can relate to my dilemma. As I am reviewing my mental list, I realize that here recently I’ve let the busyness of life, the plethora of a cluttered home, and nonsensical mental chatter, to slowly intrude in my personal relationship with my Father. Yes, I know as the loving Father he is, I am forgiven, but still I realize this is not a good thing.  In Psalm 46:10 we are told, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”. Well, I have been far from still, and yes I can come up with many reasons why I get caught up in life, but that really is no excuse.

Then as I glance around my home, it comes to me that not only should I clear out some of the mental clutter, but maybe its time to do my own version of Clean House.  See, I’m not the most organized person, so all my precious books are helter skelter, and being a bibliophile, I have a ton of books. More that can be read in a lifetime, and yet the stress of not being able to enjoy them as much as I would like, adds to my sense of unease. I feel, for me, that all this STUFF, has gotten in the way of living a life of intent and purpose. I’m a huge fan of, shall I say it, How-To books on living simply, or de-cluttering your home.  But as stated in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Isn’t this exactly what it means to live simply? To cut the physical and mental clutter, to not be “conformed to this world”?

How can we focus on God and his purpose for our life, when we are constantly distracted by things in this world? So where to begin……..we all know about de-cluttering our home, but what about the mental chatter? Maybe the first step is praying to our Father, beseeching His help, and then we can begin to clear the cobwebs from our overloaded lives, and focus on what’s really important. Knowing God, learning all we can about His grace and salvation, discerning His will for our lives, and in the process, becoming a true child of Christ. As I learn, pray, and talk with others on this same rocky path, I know I am not alone, and help is only a prayer, or phone call away.

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