I’m going to clean out my basement. Really, I am. I know this because I have been telling myself this for the past three years. I figure if I keep saying it, one day it may actually come true. There is only one thing preventing me from starting. Um, yeah, that would be ME. My intentions are good. In my mind I can completely picture my perfectly organized basement. And it looks much emptier than it does in reality. There is just so much stuff down there. I simply don’t know what to do with all the clutter. I certainly can’t throw it all away. I mean, what if I need my 3rd child’s 2nd grade math test? (Never mind that she’s 27.) And I’m sure that there are extremely valuable items in the cardboard box in the corner. Just because I haven’t been able to reach it for the past five years has NOTHING to do with it. I guess, in reality, I haven’t started because I’m simply not ready to let go of my stuff.
I have been realizing lately that it’s not just my basement that has issues. Clutter is not only the tangible things that we trip over in the middle of the night; it’s also the stuff we fill ourselves up with. The things that our souls trip over. Resentment, anger, jealousy, revenge, and worry churn through our minds robbing us of peace and connection with God. We know this. We speak it as truth. But when it comes to getting rid of it, we hesitate. It’s been a part of us for so long that it’s begun to define who we are. To throw it out feels uncomfortable. What if we need it again someday?
Philippians 4:8 has some wonderful words to encourage us to declutter our souls. Paul tells us “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Why? Because these are things that feed and strengthen our souls. Conversely, bitterness and negativity not only clutter us up, they sicken our soul. And when our soul is sick, our connection to God begins to weaken. We find ourselves saying things like “God feels so far away.” Or “I never hear God speaking to me anymore.” It never occurs to us that if we just started getting rid of all the junk, we might find He’s been right there all along.
I’ve been convicted to take the first steps in decluttering my life. My basement, my garage, my closets; but most importantly my soul. And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to miss a single thing.