I have a hunch…a mess in my house makes a mess in my soul.
As a driven declutter-er, January is one of my favorite times of the year. All the internet organization experts are offering up loads of advice, free pdfs to download, and challenges to join, so you can “get your home/life in order,” once and for all.
It’s a decluttering buffet, out there, and I bring my empty plate every year.
So far, in my study of the enneagram, I’m betting I’m a one…and ones are compelled to organize their own lives, as they find a safety and security in that activity that they can’t find in their driven attempts to fix the rest of the world.
When my house is messy…when the counters are cluttered…when the couch pillows are ugly…I get messy, cluttered, and ugly inside. My peace packs up and leaves, if I don’t notice her exit and yank her back by the collar.
This is a personal problem, but also one I can bring solutions to.
Number one, I just need to recognize that the clutter/mess is bothering me.
Number two, I get to choose:
a) to get over it; or b)to do something about it.
Priorities play a part, here. There are more important things (like relationships and love) that take precedent over cleaning up messes, simply because it makes me feel better.
However, there’s also balance — if cleaning up the mess makes our household run smoother, gives me more brain space to spend in nurturing family relationships, and helps me work at my best, then it’s important.
I have found that decluttering is part of a healing process for me, in many ways.
- I am forced to deal with the past. I find old papers, ancient gifts, and tarnished trinkets that remind me of who I was, and who I am no longer. I get to choose to shed both the old item, and the old identity.
- I am forced to deal with my emotions. Sometimes, I find something that reminds me of people that I have loved to hate (no place for any Christ-follower to be). I find a card from a friendship that went sour, or a gift from someone who caused pain in my life. Then, along with tossing away of the physical possession, I get to limit the negative memories that I come in contact with. Sometimes, choosing not to think about the pain is one of the best ways of cutting out its foothold in my life. [No, this is isn’t always the healthiest response. But sometimes its just necessary.]
- I am forced to deal with my perspective. Clearing the clutter and coming in contact with the pain associated with bad memories teaches me something about myself. It teaches me about the power I have given to those in life who really couldn’t care less about how their actions impact me. It teaches me about my own capacity for bitterness, and my own propensity to hoard my love. Coming face to face with truth is freeing…because then I can choose to break free of the lie-chains.
Decluttering can heal my soul, because it exposes the wounds. And then, it makes space for change.