This year there has been a decluttering craze sweeping the world as people reconsider their lifestyles. It has been fuelled by Japanese tidying aficionado Marie Kondo, author of the New York Times bestseller and Netflix TV show Tidying Up. The volume of donated items are up in the charity shop sector. Many shops are groaning under the extra weight of the donations but the volunteers are up to the task of sorting through it all. Sadly some of it is unsalable and will be added to a landfill as the daily skip bin piles to overflowing.
Correspondingly there is a rise in shoppers keen to find a bargain. All types of unusual items are turning up and decorating charity shops in hopes of finding a new home. Bric-a-brac sales have spiked outpacing clothes sales in many locations. That is quite unusual for many stores, especially when they have a sale on clothes. But people are drawn to the unique; wanting something different to set themselves apart from the crowd. While purging feels so good eventually in many cases the space will be filled again with another set of dust collectors.
A focus on changing our relationship away from things to people can bring more meaning in life. Deliberately building positive relationships with those seeking help builds a stronger society. That’s a craze worth spreading near and far. But so is a reality check where decluttering life is a way of making room for God. Here are some ideas to get started.
Determine What Your Real Values Are.
Who are you really? What do you stand for? What are the most important things in your life? These are the foundational questions to begin understanding what your real values are. Writing down honest answers and in reviewing them you may or may not like the list you write that outlines your core values. How do these values stack up against the values found in the Bible?
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Examine What You Are Spending the Most Time and Money On.
You are what you spend most of your time doing and most of your money on. Long ago Luke records Jesus sage wisdom in chapter 9 and verse 15 (NIV)
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
What are you seeking after? Is it providing eternal fulfillment? Is it a shining example for others to follow? What will you be remembered for? What impact are you having on the world around you?
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What Are the Positive and Negative Uses of Your Time.
Some aspects of life we have little control over the time commitments or constraints involved. Other discretionary uses of our time can be shaped according to the available options and choices we make. Taking on extra work or responsibilities can clutter your life as much as spending on extra possessions does. Are you keeping a good balance in life to maintain your well being?
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Find Where There is Room to Renovate Your Life.
Just as houses need renovating, so do lives. What suited your lifestyle choices last year may be easily forgotten in trying to keep up with the latest fashions and technological gadgets. But do these things bring true happiness and fulfillment in life? Does extra work to pay for these items keep you on a treadmill turned up faster as you seek more and more? Can the earth sustain your every increasing want list? Taking care of your health, having regular exercise, sleep and relaxation help maintain well being. Do you have the balance right? Is there an area in your life that needs renovating first? Setting priority areas taking prayerful consideration of the needs of others in your life allows you to measure the impact of changes. Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere. Ask God to help you discern what areas to focus on first, and what areas should be next.
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Learn to Let Go.
Sometimes it takes a sudden jolt to bring us back to earth with a reality check. A near miss or a car crash, a health scare or a close friend dying can wake us up as to what is really important in our lives. Learning to let go, and make room to let God in takes time to implement. Quiet time. Stillness and reflection. Listening to the rhythms of the seasons of life and the still small voice of God requires a disciplined approach. What can you let go to make time for God in your life?
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Invite the Holy Spirit In.
God’s Spirit can only work in your life when you let it in. What else crowds your life? Where do you need to make room? Inviting the Holy Spirit to inhabit your inner life is giving over control for God’s presence to be in each aspect of your life. Progressively you allow transformation to take place with the renewing presence of God. Life can get busy, you can lapse into old habits and new challenges can come along. Inviting the Holy Spirit into your life is an ongoing journey not a one-off event.
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Set Time and Space for God in Your Life.
Have you booked in time for God this week? When is the most effective time for you to interact with God’s presence in your life? Finding how your own patterns of life are working out in your work-life balance is important. Focusing on creating pockets of connection to God allows flows of refreshment to nourish your soul. Share the joy that comes with peace and contentment as you meditate on God’s word and see blessings flow. Wait upon the Lord not just in your hour of need but in the everyday events of your life. God is in the little things as well as the larger movements of the world. Learn to appreciate and treasure the God moments as they appear throughout your life.
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Find Places to Retreat.
We can all get caught up in the daily grind of work and of the family life cycle. Tempted to fit more into each day something has to give way. A weekly cycle of rest and rejuvenation is a natural method to reclaim time for you and God, Sabbath rest though is all too often consumed with church-related meetings and events. Finding places to retreat, near and far away, allows uninterrupted time for you and God. It is time to connect at a deeper level, Places of retreat act as touchstones with God’s creation anchoring yourself to the creative expression of God. It is a reminder of the diversity of life and the gifts given of God in crafting a world of beauty
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Learn to Say No.
Making room for God at times means learning to say no to other time commitments. When taking on a new commitment, lay an existing one down. When too busy for God learn to say no to new time demands and recalibrate your day to fit God in. Setting boundaries to the inroads of worldly entertainments focusing on what is pure, wholesome and enriching will nourish your life.
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Be Adventurous and Ready for the Unexpected.
Be willing to move beyond your comfort zone. God uses circumstances in life to open doors and create pathways for you to walk together. Look out for the gentle nudges and sudden openings for the unexpected to occur. Be adventurous and willing to explore ways to declutter your life and make room for God. A prayer journal can help you track where your spiritual life is at and where it is heading. As you listen to the promptings of love and truth in your heart respond openly to the needs of others. For as you help a stranger you entertain God’s agents in life who act to pass on loving opportunities to serve.
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