Clear Out What Is Unnecessary
Before the whole decluttering trend became popular, I knew firsthand about the struggle with a crowded closet. About five years ago, through a series of events, God prompted me to do a one-year shopping fast—not buying anything for myself that was a want versus a need in the clothes (shoes and accessories included) or home décor department—a difficult yet needed clearing out.
It wasn’t just that I had physical excess. It was that shopping had become a good numbing tactic for me—a substitute savior when I was feeling sad, overwhelmed, even happy, or trying to take back some type of control. Harmless compared to other “vices,” it often slipped through the cracks. I had all the excuses in the world, including the fact it never put our family into debt. But Jesus does us the biggest favor when He convicts us of things that are secretly chipping away at us, easy to hide from everyone else but Him.
Running to something to fix me that never could always proved futile. There was always another shirt, another throw pillow, something else new I would want or think I needed. The cycle of complication it caused: the craving that led to regret then guilt was real and never-ending. The trade I made for the temporary reprieve instead of the lasting solution of Jesus tending to my soul was never worth it.
Perhaps you relate? For you it might not be a swiped debit card…maybe it’s bingeing on Netflix or food, turning to alcohol, or an addiction to social media or an iPhone. All of us can accumulate heart clutter that needs to go. The real calming of our chaos will not come from pretending our lives away but instead will come from asking ourselves “What are my idols?” and being honest when we are faced with the answer. Most of us already know. We know, because they are where we automatically run. We know, because they are where we spend most of our time and money. We know, because God has possibly already been speaking to our hearts about putting Him over them—we just haven’t wanted to let them go.
The Lord offers to us the same solution for long-term help and healing as He did the Israelites back in the day of Joshua, as they desperately needed help: throw the idols out, and turn to the Lord. This was and is the formula for settling our lives. Just as the Israelites made the determination to do exactly that, it must be our determination as well. It is the decluttering that will give us lasting help.
Father, I want no idols in my life. I want no substitute saviors. I am tired of running to things that don’t fix me, heal me, or help me in the long term. I need You and want You to calm the chaos in my life. But in order to do that, I have to face what I’m running to instead of You. Will You help me? I call on Your name right now to show me the things that need to go and ask You to give me courage in the cleaning out. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Where do you run when you are sad, scared, angry, or trying to take control of your life?
What would happen if you fasted from that “go-to” for six weeks? Would God’s voice in your life become clearer?
Make a list with two columns: on the left, what your go-to favorites in moments of chaos and stress are and how they help you and, on the right, what God could do for you in those moments (or a verse that is a promise for that situation). Compare what you wrote in the two columns. Which is better?