From time to time my blog will include excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer waiting for a publisher especially when someone somewhere may need to read them today.
A Little Wisdom – Decluttering
…Decluttering is a necessary part of a Christ follower’s life. It should take place for the first time when a non-believer moves into their new life as a believer and when a lifelong church attendee becomes a committed Christ follower. It doesn’t matter if it is old baggage not yet addressed or newly acquired luggage, decluttering needs to happen. Packing things away as if they will have a use later on in life without actually making sure they will be useful is a recipe for confusion. Throwing everything out that you don’t like is a recipe for ignorance. Not decluttering leads to God’s wisdom being replaced with your wisdom which is based on the accumulated experiences (baggage) of your life.
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)
Hanging onto your baggage leads to less of God and more of your experiences. The verse above is a warning to all who do not declutter. Walking in wisdom is trusting the only one who is truly wise. We need to get rid of anything that overrides God’s way of approaching situations. If we do not declutter these things out of our lives then we will end up being fools who trust themselves…
…Clutter doesn’t only come from sinful ideas in the world around us. Some clutter comes from the Christian based experiences we have. The moments when we have felt closest to God and the times when we have had our knowledge expanded through study and teaching can become useless baggage. Holding on to an experience or the discovery of something you did not know can turn into points of lament. “If only I could experience God that way again, if only I could discover something new like I did before” are clutter tripping hazards that get in the way of our transformation.
We are also affected by people around us whether they are Christ followers or not. If you have been a part of a collective of Christ followers and haven’t been hurt by a fellow Christ follower or had any other type of bad experience, you either haven’t been a part of a collective for very long or you’re not attending very often! It doesn’t matter where the experience comes from, it is still clutter that can be stored away deep inside and carried around as baggage that influences us. Good and bad experiences lead to good and bad baggage. We need to declutter before we end up with a pile that is so overwhelming we try to ignore it, before we become afraid to face each experience, before we don’t want to attempt to separate the good baggage that needs to be kept, from the bad baggage that needs to be thrown away.
Even those courageous enough to face the baggage will still have problems determining what stays and what goes. Our knowledge and understanding is dangerous and limited. When determining what occupies space in our lives we must humbly recognize that we need more than we possess. We need God to assess each experience and those involved because He does this without bias. He knows what we need to hang onto and what we need to throw out because He understands how all things are being worked together for the good of those who love Him. You may be asking yourself, “does this apply to all situations – can’t I figure out a lot of what is good for me and what is bad for me?” I’m not sure any of us has the understanding required to do more than accept that God knows what we need and don’t need. My suggestion to Christ followers, starting with myself, is to end each day with this question, “God what have I experienced today that I can learn from and what needs to be left behind?”…
…Before you even attempt to seek God’s wisdom about daily clutter there are two things you need to do. First, you need to put all your preconceived ideas of what constitutes bad baggage out of your mind. If you are truly going to rely on God’s wisdom not your own knowledge or understanding, you are going to have to accept that a painful experience may also contain a life lesson. It is our nature to assume that pain is bad. This instinct can mislead us. Think about the pain of vaccinations or an operation to remove or correct something that isn’t working properly. Should all operations and vaccinations be avoided because they are painful? Pain is not a reliable way to determine what stays and what goes. God must be the one who sorts through the experiences, separating parts of each experience, not just the experience itself, into clutter and keeper. Second, you need to ask, “God what have I experienced before today that I am holding onto. What needs to stay so I will learn and what is useless and needs to be left behind?” Your past needs to be addressed so the pile isn’t too high. This will allow you to start your daily decluttering and will make life a lot easier!
Note: this post has been edited – some sentences that required the reader to have access to the entire book have been removed but the intended message including suggested instructions and conclusions have not been altered.