Cutting Back the Clutter – Living Unencumbered

If spiritual and physical clutter is overwhelming you, today is the day to begin to purge anything that impedes you from following God.

A short time ago, the Lord prompted me to do some early spring cleaning. Shortly after I began the project, I discovered that many of my contacts with prophetic insight felt the same call. The Lord instructed me to lighten my physical and spiritual load by cutting back on clutter. I felt an urgency to lighten the load. I needed to be ready at a moment’s notice for whatever He had next for me.

He asked, “What are you holding onto that could be shared with others? What is impeding your walk and restricting your freedom of movement? What can easily be discarded?”

When I moved into my current apartment 23 years ago, I rented the smallest u-haul truck available. Even so, that truck was half empty. Having lived in this apartment for 23 years, I am sure that would no longer be the case! I had a lot of stuff to sort through. Taking my time, I soon fell into a rhythm as I followed some simple rules:

  1. If I hadn’t used or worn an item for two years, it was no longer of use to me, and therefore, it needed to go.
  2. If I no longer had any connection to the giver of an item, and I was only holding on to it out of a sense of obligation and not a feeling of pleasure, it needed to go.
  3. If physical coordination was required to use or to display that item and I no longer have that physical coordination, that thing must go.
  4. If someone else could use an item better than I could, I offered the item as a give-away. Some things I offered in exchange for donations to a fundraising project I am spearheading to buy a grave marker for a friend’s son who tragically lost his life in December 2016. If you feel led to give, please visit this web page.

The only items that earned a free pass were my books, photos, and a few keepsakes. Even these things went through scrutiny. Some books were given away, a couple of books were sold. Almost all my framed wall art which was stored for years in my closet was either given away or thrown away. I now only have a few art pieces that fit into a dust-free box.

I scoured my photo albums and removed pictures of people I didn’t recognise. I profoundly regret that I did not write an account of who those people were and why I took their photo. Their stories are forever lost. I have decided to keep a digital photo memory journal, scribbling down who I was with, what I was doing, and why I took each photo. I hope my memory journal will follow Joshua’s command to the tribes of Israel. They were to carry a stone across the River Jordan and set the stone on the other side as a visible reminder of all God had accomplished. (Joshua 4)

I encourage you to reread the above after asking the Lord for ears to hear. Ask yourself these questions. “Are there physical items holding me back that I need to give away or discard? Is there spiritual clutter in my life? Are there giftings and talents I have allowed to sit on a shelf, collecting dust? Are there important road markers and events in my past that are in danger of being forgotten because I did not set a marker of remembrance?”

I explored every closet, dresser, cupboard, and drawer in my home. I cannot count the amount of kitchen sized garbage bags I filled with items I once thought useful but now were nothing but clutter. I made many trips to the bins outside my building to dump items that wouldn’t fit my garbage chute.

A friend helped me to unload the last few remaining items that were too awkward for me to handle on my own. Those cumbersome items were weighing me down in more ways than one. I knew they needed to go years ago, but I was too proud to ask for help.

I have to admit I am embarrassed by how much clutter I accumulated over the years. I don’t consider myself a packrat. And yet, month by month, year by year, I allowed my personal space to be infringed upon by things I thought to have value at one point but had no lasting value in the long run. I probably will have another purge in a few months, paring back even further. I feel lighter and less anxious!

A question popped into my head. “If you had to evacuate your home in 10 minutes, with no time to organize a moving truck, knowing you would never be able to return, what would you grab?”

After taking a thorough inventory of my possessions over the past month, I would say the following:

  • My laptop, smartphone, and charging cables.
  • Rudimentary cooking and eating utensils
  • My purse and a Bible just in case I couldn’t access the versions downloaded on my phone.
  • A suitcase of clothes, toothpaste, toothbrush, and other essential items.
  • My leg braces, walker, and a cane.
  • A blanket and pillow
  • A manila envelope carrying personal ID, insurance papers, and the following two precious items.
    1. A yellowed letter, written to me, almost completed, found on my brother’s typewriter. The letter was found a few days after his sudden death. In that letter, he encouraged me in my missionary journeys and told me how proud he was of me.
    2. A homemade card a friend made by using the pastel sketches I doodled one day as we sat around her parent’s kitchen table. The creative muse overtook us, although we were supposed to be studying. She saved those sketches and wrote a comical short story for me, presenting it to me years later. These precious people died way too young, and their gifts are treasures I will always keep.

Tell me, what would you take with you? What would no longer be of importance to you? Are the items you once saw as important that you now see as meaningless clutter?

Recommended Reading: Luke 12:13-21 The Rich Fool

Reduce that clutter and be on the alert. God is on the move! Today is the day, do all you need to do so you are prepared. Make sure there is enough oil in your lamps. Make sure you are unencumbered by anything that limits your ability to follow Him at a moment’s notice.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG) – “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.”

All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Until Next Week

©2017 Katherine Walden
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