I’m in the midst of the 40-days-40-bags Lenten challenge that many people are doing this year. You get rid of a bag of stuff each day during Lent to clear your home, your mind, and your spirit of clutter that distracts you from God. However, my 40-days-40-bags has turned into 6-days-of-nothing-and-one-day-getting-rid-of- lots- of- stuff. Consistency has never been my strength.
But, through the last couple of weeks I have gotten rid of a LOT of stuff that not only clutters my house but also my mind. I didn’t realize how cluttered my mind had become until I visited a friend recently whose house has no clutter. At all. Seriously, it’s kinda scary. This friend is married with two kids, two dogs, and two incomes. Oh, did I mention she’s also in graduate school? In many ways, our lives are equally busy. I have one more child and one less dog but other than that our “stats” match up.
So, I asked her how she manages to keep her house clutter-free. Her answer? “My husband throws everything away!” Here I was, expecting her to say that she has a housekeeper or a professional organizer or something else fancy sounding to keep her in check. But no! It all boiled down to getting rid of stuff!
I had to laugh because my darling husband has a reputation in our house for throwing away anything that doesn’t move. Babysitting checks, personalized gifts, and permission slips from school are all fair game. If you don’t want it thrown away, you’d better lock it up. Evidently, my powers to accumulate stuff have overshadowed his abilities to throw stuff away! But no more! I’m embracing a life of less clutter. I can’t claim that I’ll be clutter-free by Easter but there will be a lot less clutter at least.
But getting rid of stuff only helps if you don’t bring more stuff in! So, I’m not only getting rid of stuff, I’m also not buying stuff during Lent. Let me explain. I will buy groceries, medicines, or other consumable items that we are genuinely out of. But, I’m not buying anything else. No books, no clothes, no makeup, no haircuts (for myself at least). Of course, haircuts don’t add to clutter but it does help curb my vanity a little so I threw that one in as a bonus.
This means that I can make more progress on the clutter-free life that I hope to achieve AND that I’ll have more time to focus on prayer. After all, shopping takes time, energy, and money. Now I’ll have more time and energy to pray and more money to share with the poor. It’s a triple win!
I’m curious. Do you struggle with the clutter in your physical life distracting you in your spiritual life? If so, how do you handle it?
Copyright 2016 Laura Nelson