He couldn’t get rid of things, that man. He’d buy a new chair because the old one was worn or uncomfortable or ugly, but he just couldn’t seem to get rid of that old one. So there they both sat, and now the room was less comfortable, and less navigable!
Repeat this endless times with other items, from tools to toys to other furniture to the old sink lying in the basement, removed from the kitchen, but not from the house. Clutter, clutter, clutter.
Some people do get rid of the old but keep buying new too fast to use up or store properly or even find function for, as in clothes worn only once or piles of equipment for a hobby not pursued… Clutter, clutter, clutter.
I just read that clutter obstructs joy, that one big help to gaining greater happiness is clearing out the clutter.
I believe it—about all kinds of clutter, not just physical. I know my thoughts run clearer at a tidy desk in a clean room than at a messy table in a room—or life—crammed crazy with good stuff.
Note that: good stuff!
In our time, our culture, I believe it’s the “good stuff” that stumbles us up as much as anything. And I’m not just talking the material!
If one word could describe American women today I think it would be “overloaded.”
Our backs are piled high with burdens both concrete and abstract, baneful and beautiful. And perhaps the biggest weight: Heavy Expectations.
We’ve been taught to dream big and expect much.
from earth life.
and from ourselves.
Way too much, from all the above! And yet, not enough. Not enough of what we really need…
And maybe, just maybe, what has engendered our too high expectations comes from others manipulating us, trying to get more of what they think they must gain for their lives to be worthwhile!
Advertising (both obvious and covert) reigns for others’ “gains,” but pushes us to discontent, teaches expectation of more, more, more, than what we now enjoy (or might, if we weren’t so incited to discontent!)
If we don’t have all that’s advertised, we wonder: Who shortchanged us—others, or ourselves? Life down the street seems so much more bountiful—with not only material possessions, but interesting experiences, notable accomplishments, burgeoning popularity and affection from others… and… and…?
So we get resentful because we’ve been trained in entitlement, or expect too much from ourselves because we’re rooted in bootstraps tradition and Yankee (over)work ethic. “Pull yourself up better, girl!”
This is the debris blocking our path to fulfillment! Really, it is.
God did not create us to live in constant frustration. Especially He did not save us for that! Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly,” but we don’t get what He meant because a lot of other messengers have been (mis)defining “abundant” for us.
Their abundance is junk!
His abundance is beauty and freedom that walks us way above the piles of impressive garbage.
At heart, way down, we understand this. But our lives are so bombarded (cluttered!) with happiness ads that we haven’t room to think.
I find this a constant battle. I’m sure I’m not alone. So I think it’s time for me to start excerpting a couple old Bible studies of mine, about finding our true identity and most fulfilling pursuit. (“Chasing Dreams, or Capturing Joy?” and “What Defines You?” two Bible studies for women.) If not for anyone else, at least for me. I constantly need the re-orienting!
2 thoughts on “Spiritual Housecleaning: What Old Junk Needs to Go?”
Interesting thoughts you’ve dug into… I was stopped cold and needed to re-read the statement about Heavy Expectations… Lots to ponder. Thank you.
Yes, Lori, I really believe most of us (women) of this time and continent expect more of life, others, and self than in any other time, and this leaves us feeling perpetually unsatisfied (and yet exhausted!) I’ve just let go of some of my expectations, and ah, I do feel lighter and freer! Thanks so much for stopping to visit and comment!
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