Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Does your home stress you out?
If you are like most women in the United States, the answer is yes.
According to a poll sponsored by the Huffington Post, home organization is one of the most universal stress triggers. Eighty-four percent of recently stressed Americans say they worry their home isn't clean or organized enough, and within that group, 55 percent called it out as a source of recent stress.
Combine that with a study conducted by UCLA psychologists Rena Repetti and Darby Saxbe, which found that “women who have issues with clutter have the signature pattern of cortisol that is associated with people who have chronic fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a higher risk of mortality. Women who struggle with the stuff in their homes, in other words, are more likely to feel tired, depressed, and die.”
Not to be overly dramatic here, but in some cases our clutter is killing us.
So while everyone on Instagram is showing off their before and after photos, and that blogger shows “candid” (aka staged for two hours) photos of their artistically decorated (“but really, it’s on a budget”) homes, remember that getting rid of clutter isn’t about having a house worthy of a photo, it’s about having a home that comforts you and provides peace.
Many of us are familiar with Hebrews 12:1. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Naturally, our minds go to the sin in our lives.
But let’s also look at the words right before — “everything that hinders.” Jesus talked more about money and possessions than any other topic in the New Testament. It is no surprise to God that clutter (and the all the effects from it) is such a struggle for so many of us. For many of us, one of the biggest things that keeps us from accomplishing great things, from opening our homes to a friend in need or preparing a meal for a neighbor, is the fact that we have so much going on in our homes that we have a hard time functioning. Clutter is not just a physical battle. It is a mental and spiritual battle as well.
So how do you start to “throw off” all that clutter?
Realize it is a battle. If you have someone in your life who is beating you up, saying, “Just get rid of this stuff already!” — know that you are not alone. Most people struggle with clutter at some level, and those who don’t just aren’t aware of the battle.
Be kind to yourself. Now is not the time to beat yourself up for past mistakes. Yes, we’ve all bought too much stuff at a Michael’s clearance sale thinking we were going to do something magical with all those scrapbook materials. But holding onto your mistakes in hopes of being able to use them is just punishing yourself.
Give your clutter a purpose. I like to think about the life my clutter will have once I get it into the right hands. Clutter for me could be materials a school could use to create art. The key to this step is to be overwhelmingly generous with your stuff. Don’t give away junk. (Junk, by its very nature, is garbage.) Instead, give away wonderful, beautiful things that just don’t fit your life at this point. Give away the good stuff.
I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times: when you start to get rid of the clutter, you start to regain purpose, the purpose God has set out for your home, your time, and your life.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for adoring me and wanting peace for every part of my life. Thank You for bringing peace to the world.
In Your loving Son’s Name,