Clearing out the Clutter in our Hearts and Minds

We moved into the wide-open spaces of our new home five years ago as a family of three. We are now a family of five. The empty rooms I didn’t have furniture for are now filled with toys.

The abundant closet storage I once couldn’t fill up is now overflowing, literally spewing out our overabundance.

I spent the first several days of this year going room to room, closet by closet, cabinet by cabinet and decluttering. Lost treasures were found, long forgotten trinkets were purged and the memories of newlywed and newborn days were pondered. I was thankful for a few dreary days that kept us home, lessening the guilt of spending part of my kids break doing something so mundane. Yet, it was so good for all of us, especially me.

As I purged and pondered, sorted and stacked, creating spaces that function better in this season and are free of clutter, my stress decreased. I like order and organization but I’m not a details person so I tend to go with the flow. This worked fine as a single and newlywed. Adding three littles in five years that I was responsible for thinking of and managing with poor systems resulted in chaos and clutter.

No one prepared me for ALL THE PAPERS that would come with pre-school.

I was overwhelmed but had accepted it as our normal. I organized small spaces here and there but it was like putting a band-aid on internal bleeding, a deep purge needed to happen to get the hidden junk out.

It’s easy to see and feel the overwhelm of a cluttered home, because it’s tangible. But I forget that my heart and mind get cluttered. I don’t see the junk hiding in the closets of my heart and mind until I’m spewing out impatience, frustration, and bitterness.

As I’ve been decluttering our house, I’ve also been decluttering my heart and mind, asking God to reveal the hidden junk that needs to be purged so that the fruit of the Spirit can flourish.

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Proverbs 4:23

Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, encourages us to guard our hearts. To guard is to protect fiercely against what you don’t want to come in.

Part of what contributed to the chaos and clutter of our home was that I wasn’t filtering what came in and what stayed. I didn’t need to just clean stuff out, I needed to guard against what came in. I needed a consistent rhythm to process all that entered our home.

We need to do the same for our hearts and minds. Daily we are bombarded with clutter from the world. The clutter cramps the Spirit and we overflow with frustration and anxiety instead of the fruit of the Spirit.

I long to overflow with the fruit of the Spirit, to bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness into the spaces I inhabit, not frustration and anxiety.

As we move into a new year, let’s take time to clear out the clutter, in our hearts, minds and homes.

Here are some resources to help you clear out your heart, mind and home:

  1. Posture of My Heart: A daily guide to help you set your heart and mind on truth

  2. Podcast: Sally Clarkson - Decluttering Your Soul

  3. Home Decluttering Blog Series

Karen Isbell