Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Minimalism- How one mom's cluttered house taught me a valuable lesson

Where to even begin. That's really all I'm thinking these days...

Where to start with school, where to start with finances, how to start my day and where is my bible? Just an endless feeling of there's something that needs to be done and if I am honest there is an emptiness I associate with my needs. 

Well a few days ago was no different. I set down at the desk with my tore up purple, fake leather bible and journal and started to spend some time with the Lord but couldn't. Like I literally could. not. will myself to open that bible; I couldn't will myself to journal- I had no will, typical apathy. So in true millennial fashion, I pulled out my phone and pulled up my social media apps and just started mindlessly scrolling. I wasn't really looking for anything, more like looking to do nothing. As I was scrolling I happened upon an article, "How Getting Rid Of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood" (intriguing right?). So I clicked and read, I'm not really sure what compelled me to (apart from the fact that the spirit compelled me) but I'm glad I did. This mom Allie, started writing about how clutter was ruining her motherhood. Piles of clothes bearing down on her patience, toys cluttering her home and her soul- stuff, just stuff, keeping her from her family. I started reading and everything she said just struck a heart chord...

When I thought about my days and how I spent my time, all I saw were piles of dishes, an endless mountain of laundry, and picking up toys and books and markers and jackets and shoes and empty water bottles and paper artwork...
I asked other moms, friends, and people I respected if this was normal, how they managed their homes and kids, and if they felt like they enjoyed it. What I was met with was a resounding “oh yeah, I remember those days! That’s motherhood. It’ll be okay and you’ll get through it.” 
“You’ll get through it.” 
But what if I wanted more than to just survive in my motherhood? That’s what I was doing now.

You'll get through it... You'll get through it?? Are you effin' kidding me? 
I was enraged for her. Allie, girl, I want more for you than just- you'll get through it. It hurt to hear. I think that was the moment I connected with her. It hurts to hurt and I could feel it in me. I could hear the agony in her voice- the "there has to be more than this" moan of defeat. Life is life: circumstances, good and bad, come and go, but in the thicket of life there is more. There is always more. Not a cosmic more, a life-altering, all-transforming more and as she ached for more, I ached for more too. 

After another particularly difficult day, I reflected... This wasn’t abundant life, it didn’t feel purposeful, it felt overwhelming and depressing. In that moment, I had had enough. I decided I wasn’t going to let this be my life, and this overwhelm and depression wasn’t going to rule me any longer.
What I did next set my life on a new course, and it never went back to the way it was. It changed everything.

READ THIS BLOG! 

What she did next was purge! She tossed everything she didn't need. Tossed toys, clothes, etc and left nothing but the basics. She started talking about how she could feel the depression lift. She noticed a difference in her kids and her marriage. She quit letting "stuff" control her. She wrote this one line... 
"Our stuff is literally stealing away our joy and our lives" and tears rolled down my face. Stuff is stealing our joy, our lives away and we let it. I let it.


“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of what we most value, and the removal of anything that distracts from it.” Joshua Becker


Yes, I'm not a mom


No, I don't I have my own home and "stuff" that is cluttering my life. In fact, I just got home from living overseas and I have very little physical stuff. But it hit in that moment I have stuff constantly calling for my attention. I allow all kinds of things into my heart and mind that distract me. I don't just allow them I invited them with arms wide open. I neglect what matters. Proverbs 4:23 warns against this, "Keep your heart (and mind- I add) with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." 

Minimalism is missing. 

My heart hurts because I have allowed infection in it. I invited things into my life that just distract, they keep from experiencing the fullness of God in all that I do and all that I am. The ache of more, isn't the longing for more stuff to distract. It is my spirit's longing to shed all but Christ in me. See everything around me and within me says- self medicate, self help, self sufficient but the reality is self destruction. I don't have to get through life, I don't need to "just deal" because there is greater out there and He beacons me to come and die. Die to the sin that wants to consume me, die to the world that wants to get me down like a bad hair cut. Die to "self" and let that bad boy stay dead. Like D.E.D, dead. Then pick up my cross and live. Abundantly, my friends, ABUNDANTLY. Christ's intention is the promotion of himself, and the removal of anything and everything but himself. I'm not gonna lie, my heart isn't always on the same page, but the promises of God are true. He who began the work will bring it into completion. The day He returns and there is nothing left to distract, nothing left to take away my affections- no lies or deceit- all there will be is glory. Until that day, I am to choose minimalism. The promotion of what is valued most, and the removal of everything else. I am to stay steadfast and true. It isn't easy. It was never going to be easy. 
But it starts with one corner of the house at a time...

Living room- where I spend my time
Toys- the things I think I need that I don't
Bedroom- my language (music is a big part of this- ugh)

Remember- this is the promotion of what MATTERS, not behavior changes; not cleaning up my act so "guests can come over and I won't be embarrased." This is allowing change to do it's job in me- removing everything but the basics.


"I want this for you, sweet friend. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be like this for one more day. You can choose a different path, you can thrive, you can love this life, you can escape the chronic overwhelm that everyone else calls normal. I promise you, it’s so worth it."


If this is true for our homes and our families- how much more applicable is it for our spirits? We were made to experience Life (aka Jesus) given abundance! Minimalism- our well spring needs it.


 "Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
  turn your foot away from evil."