Day 23: antidote #6

Are you controlling? Am I ? Aren’t we suppose to have some control over our lives? I think we are. Yes. As responsible adults, we do have to take control of our lives. There is a difference between being responsible and controlling, isn’t there? We have to be responsible for, well, what we are responsible for. Our jobs, our homes, our families and so on. We all have responsibilities.  It is how we handle them which determines whether we are controlling or not.  If we can not show flexibility with others and with circumstances, chances are, we are being controlling. In the case of CLUTTER (Day 17), could it be that part of being controlling is holding on to stuff?

One reason we control is because we want to protect ourselves from the things that hurt us. When we can “Let go and Let God” we are learning to trust HIM. We let go of the power we think we have.  There is no one who wants to meet our needs more than our Father. There is no one who can perfectly meet our needs except for our Father. Not even ourselves.

I remember someone telling me years ago a philosophy they held dear. That person said, “I have learned that the only person I can depend on is me. I don’t trust anyone.” Okay. Sounds like a plan.  Think about it.  In light of others around you, you may think it is a better idea to place all your trust in yourself. After all, relationships can be hurtful. People can betray us. Retreating to a place of control can be safe. It has to be. Our very lives depend on it. But are we really equipped to be THAT person? The only one we can trust is, ourselves? REally? How trustworthy are you? Dig deep here. Have you ever let yourself down?  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

No. We need to have other people in our lives. We need to have a good relationship with ourselves and others. We need to trust and understand that we are vulnerable and we may get hurt. We need to let go of STUFF that surrounds us and helps us feel safe, but instead, keeps us bound up.  CLUTTER or otherwise. We need to trust God and lean fully on Him. The One that loves us and wants all of us, all the time.  “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

It is time to trust again. For your heart and for mine. We can fully trust God and we can begin to trust others with wisdom. We cannot trust others as though they are God. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is perfect and He loves us perfectly. Others will hurt us and we will hurt others, whether we mean to or not, we cannot avoid this if we want real LIFE. No amount of stuff will save us. May my heart and yours truly surrender control to the Only One we can fully trust. May my hands and yours surrender control to the King of kings as well.

Day 22: antidote #5

Greed. How does greed add to Clutter (Day 17)? Greed is keeping stuff for ourselves. What are we greedy with? Our finances? Our time? Our stuff??? Right now I can think of things I have to have because I simply want them. But I don’t need them. And although this may not constitute GREED, per say, I think there is a connection to keeping something that instead could be shared and/or beneficial to another.

BUT, I need it! ALL OF IT!! And you can’t have it!!! I will not share with you.  If this is our thinking, okay. But what are WE doing with it??? How much of what you have, that get’s in your way, do you really HAVE TO HAVE? This is something to think about.

As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? (Ecclesiastes 5:11)

The Word of God tells us to, “Watch out!  Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  (Luke 12:15)  What does your life and mine consist of? Hopefully, an abundance of LIFE.

May we release the need to keep the things we don’t need to ourselves. May your heart and mine be ready to give generously and cheerfully.  May your life and mine be filled with the abundance of LIFE! In Jesus’ precious name!!

 

Day 20: antidote #3

This is antidote #3 to combatting CLUTTER (see Day 17).  After looking at laziness and procrastination, we will look at EXHAUSTION as part of the problem. How do we get ourselves to the brink of exhaustion?  Is it necessary to get to this point? Are we physically, mentally or emotionally drained? All of the above perhaps?

Exhaustion is real. Everyone is very busy doing so many things for various reasons. Even when we have time to rest, do we take it? Do we instead  find more things to exhaust ourselves with? If you are like me, you will keep going and going to who knows where until you finally realize you forgot to do a whole lot of important stuff but no longer have the energy to do it.

And it is a vicious cycle.

The Word says to Come to Jesus, all who are burdened and heavy laden and you will find rest for your souls. I know this. You know this. But when we succumb to distraction after distraction, not only are we faced with stuff left everywhere, but we miss the ONE who has everything we need. REST. The frenzy of busyness ends and what are we left with? He stands at the door knocking, waiting to be invited in, and we don’t have the strength left to answer. It happens to me far too often. Does it happen to you?

He asks us, “Come to me.” Okay Lord, in a minute.

He beckons to us, “Come to me.” Okay Lord, I will. I have to do this one thing, and then I will sit with You.

He pleads to us,”Come to me.” I will, I will. Soon.

He never stops asking. We don’t come. We miss out. We are exhausted. He had the rest we needed. This makes me so sad.

We know the antidote to exhaustion: Matthew 11:28.  How do we then find a way to answer the call? How do we make Him first?

It would be wisdom to sit with Jesus and spend time with him and let him energize us with His rest that He freely offers. And yet, we tend to be unwise in our choices.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

May we remember to ask You for wisdom to sit with you and to put you first, that we would find the rest we so desperately need. May we ask you to help us to make you our first priority. May we open the door you are knocking at before we even think about answering any other call that would keep us from you. May we see you as who you really are: LIFE. May we receive the rest you have for us. In the mighty name of Jesus we ask.

Day 17: Clutter

How does clutter happen and how can it be avoided? Can it be avoided? I have tried, and as I look around, I see that at this moment in time, I have failed. Clutter is present. I see clothes without homes, a table covered (ok, I can’t really see the table for the stuff!),  and miscellaneous items I’m not sure I even need.

CLUTTER! It is sneaky. And it is a symptom. A symptom of: laziness, procrastination, exhaustion, hurry, greed, control, fear, being overwhelmed….let’s break this down.

Laziness: I don’t feel like putting that away.

Procrastination: I’ll put that away….later.

Exhaustion: I am too tired to put that away.

Hurry: I don’t have time to put that away.

Greed: I don’t need this, but it is mine. I want to keep it here with me. I don’t use it, need it, or wear it. But you can’t have what’s mine.

Control: It’s mine, and I will do what I wish with it. Even leave it on the floor.

Devalue: That used to mean a lot to me and I took really good care of it, once. But it is old now and it doesn’t mean as much so therefore I will no longer take good care of it.

Fear: I may need this one day, and then what. What if I don’t have it anymore?!

Being overwhelmed: I can’t keep up with all this stuff! It never ends!!! I give up!!

Clutter. Is it a losing battle? It may seem that way, but I am convinced there is an answer to each symptom. An answer that brings abundant LIFE. After all, clutter is a LIFE-drainer. It is a BIG distraction and waste of time. If we could take the time to do the right thing, clutter would be a thing of the past.

So what are the opposite behaviors for each of the above symptoms as they relate to clutter? Perhaps: Productiveness, Assertiveness, Being energized, Preparedness, Generosity, Freedom, Gratefulness, Love, Trust

Productiveness: I will put that away.

Assertiveness: I will put that away right now.

Being energized: I am filled with energy. I have the strength to do anything I need to.

Preparedness: I have not waited until the last minute. I have written out lists of what I need to do and I have prioritized the list. I will not be taken off-guard. No need to toss everything around in haste.

Generosity: I can freely give what I do not need or use.

Gratefulness: I am thankful for everything I have, regardless of how old it is.

Freedom: I don’t have to find freedom in controlling everything. It leads to a rebellion to do whatever I want. I am free, therefore I can make good choices.

Love: I am loved. I understand that if there is a need, a provision will be made. I don’t have to keep things I think I may need.

Trust: I trust that I will be cared for no matter what.

Not only are these great attributes to overcome clutter, but they are also great ways to live LIFE. They line up with the Word of God.  In the days ahead, we will look at what scripture has to say about each of these attributes.

In the meantime, may we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

May your heart and home, and mine say goodbye to clutter as we seek God’s Word to combat it. May your day and mine be filled with LIFE abundant.