We moved into our house 7 years ago. The possessions from our tiny starter apartment left our new home feeling bare, the garage barely used, and the attic empty. As you can imagine, the years and the children quickly led to a home that was filled with possessions and an attic that was overflowing with clutter and disorganization. Last week, while putting Christmas decorations away in the attic, I decided something had to change…
(Stick with me, this post isn’t really about our attic but has spiritual lessons threaded throughout…ok? Let’s go!)
Shedding Some Light On The Problem
One of the biggest problems in our attic, like most, was light. How can you fix a problem when you can’t see what you’re doing? The worst parts of the attic were the parts where it was dark and hard to see. Our builder did an excellent job of having his crew go above and beyond by laying down a large amount of decking in the attic for storage but the electrician only put up one little light. When I decided to tackle the problem, a quick trip to our local hardware store and $30 filled the storage area of our attic with light.
Just as our attic became cluttered, dangerous, and non-functional, our minds can become dangerously cluttered as well. We can begin to forget important things for work or for our family, or we might become so distracted that we forget what is really important in life. It is good to pause, turn off all the distractions, and really think about what we are wanting to accomplish and what our main priorities in life are. It is amazing how easily we can distract ourselves from thinking about what is really important. Turn the smartphone off, click the TV off, stop the streaming music and just sit and think or discuss things with your spouse….shed some light on the situation.
If you really want a challenge, let the light of God’s word shine into the darkest corners of your mind. When I was cleaning out attic I was a bit scared of what I might run across, and the same might be true when we let God shine in our lives. Put your trust in Him and take the garbage out. Filling your mind with more of His word, via the Written On My Heart series, might be just the solution you need!
Kick It To The Curb
I can guarantee you that our trash man will be VERY unhappy with me today and the recycling guy will also be thinking horrible, horrible things about me as well. Even the folks at the local donation spot will probably be quite upset when I pull up. Last night I tore into the freshly lit corners of the attic finding boxes of clothes that had been set aside for reasons unknown, broken small appliances, and about 20 large product boxes for items we don’t even own anymore. I was tossing so many things out of our attic that I made my wife mad…not because she was upset about things going out but because every time there was a loud thud on the garage floor she was afraid I had fallen out of the attic. These items were sorted into trash, recycle, donate, and then taken immediately to the appropriate spot.
(Having trouble getting rid of things? Consider reading this interesting article about “status quo bias” and why our default is to keep things instead of getting rid of them.)
Our minds and our spiritual lives can be buried in so much rubbish that there is no way to effectively use or find the things we want. We cut our cable just over a month ago and I have found that one pleasant side effect is more focus in my thinking. No longer do I purposelessly plop down in front of the History Channel or stay up way too late watching one more episode of Good Eats. The extra rest and fewer distractions have made for better quality in all aspects of my life…plus we have some extra cash! Are there things in your life which in themselves are good but are keeping you from doing the things that you need to be doing? Perhaps it is time to kick them to the curb…
Hold On To Some Treasures
While sorting through some of the boxes I came across a box of items from my boyhood that I had forgotten about. There were some photos, awards, and documents that I was ready to let go of but there were some treasures that I brought down out of the attic to share. One was a book I had written while in the third or fourth grade. I brought it down to show to our oldest daughter. The other was my original Gameboy that still worked. So much for ridding my life of distractions 🙂
Clearing clutter from our lives allows the special things to really shine and get the attention they deserve. Can you imagine what our families would be like if we put aside so much of the meaninglessness we fill our days with and invested that time and energy in our spouse and kids? A clear mind with a clear purpose can make life much more enjoyable.
Written On My Heart Week 2
Putting useful things in our minds is always a good objective. I have appreciated all the positive feedback from individuals and congregations about the Written On My Heart challenge. This week and next week you will be challenged to memorize the books of the Old Testament, if you haven’t already, and we will have some associated verses. Here’s your worksheet >>> Written On My Heart Week 2