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Tidy Up

It’s all the rage so I had to join in.

I have been watching Marie Kondo and her “KonMari” method on Tidy Up, Netflix. If you are not familiar, she takes untidy people and helps them not only clean up their spaces but find joy and gratitude in their lives as well. Her exuberance about the process is infectious. Once you have viewed the program, you can hear your closet begging to be put in order. Pleasure will certainly be had in the process. I can testify to that.

This reminds me of another time years ago when I, along with a group of young moms, took on the book Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. His premise is very much the same as Marie’s, except he believes you should start from the inside and work out. MacDonald believes that simplifying your external life begins with seeking internal order. The one thing that has stayed with me from the book is the statement, “If your flat surfaces are cluttered, your life is out of order.” It was external evidence of an internal problem.

So how do you get the internal back in order? Perhaps the same way Marie suggests. Take a close look at each thing that is causing “clutter” in your life.  Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy in my life?” You know the feeling of excitement or satisfaction. It should draw you in and not repel you. Is it “Ahh” or “Augh!” Then, make a choice of what can stay and what must go.

“But wait!” What if I need this stuff?”

Another question Marie tells you to consider is whether you want this particular thing to come with you into the future? Does it belong with you in the future you desire? Will it help or hinder? Will it take you where you want to go?

Let’s face it, we all have things we cling to or that cling to us—some good, and some bad, and some that we might not have noticed buried under the clutter. The Bible can offer us some guidelines when deciding what should stay and what should go. In Colossians 4:1-2, it tells us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The chapter goes on to give advice on what things to throw out(put to death is the phrase the writer uses). Joyless things like anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying are on the list. Those belonged to your old life. Nobody is joyful when these are present, and they have no business moving ahead with you in life.

And then in Colossians 3:12-17, we come to a list each of us should have in our new inner self. Things like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. It goes on to say, what brings everything together in a beautiful package is love. With these in place, an atmosphere of peace and gratitude appears and when that happens, joy quite often pops up, too.

Here’s the kicker. You may not have any of the clutter on your inside like anger, rage, malice, etc. But are you unfriendly towards someone? Or are you ever cruel, arrogant, or harsh? Are annoyed easily? Do you blame others for your shortcomings? Do you hate? All these things go directly against the “actions bound by love” we should possess. We may each have negative clutter lying around making our lives messy, but we haven’t really made time to take a good look at it lately. It’s got to go. If we are followers of Jesus, then it doesn’t belong where we are going.

One thing I noticed after the decluttering process on Tidy Up was that each person’s countenance changed over the course of the show. They looked lighter. Their spirits seemed free and their attitudes, hopeful. If cleaning closets and kitchen drawers can do that, how much more a tidy heart will produce. It’s worth it. Create joy in your life. Tidy up.

“Figure out what fuels your joy, then do lots of it.”

Bob Goff, author of Everybody Always and Love Does
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