Decluttering our minds:
In this revelation of himself, he <Jesus> is showing you the importance of knowing where you come from, where you are going, and who you are. It’s one of life’s greatest tasks, to gain clarity on all these matters, because your work, your relationships, and your entire life will be shaped by that clarity. (from Worknet, Geoff Shattock, Issue “Son of Man 19”, January 19th 2015)
Clutter is the enemy of the mind.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify.” He lived nearly 200 years ago. What would he make of the clutter that arises out of the gooey mass of internet and social media?
I am learning to declutter. In one sense it has been a single decision and I aim to adhere to it stubbornly. In another sense it is a process which may take some time. But I can already see rewards that are coming from it. More time to write, less stress, more quality time with family.
I have a mug that has a1950’s style image of a housewife in an apron and wearing a big smile. Her coiffed hair is perfect. The caption reads, “A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.” Well, be it a clean house or a clean inbox the result is the same: industry for its own sake does not yield ultimate satisfaction. Fulfillment comes from running the race set before us as individuals, creating, exploring, endeavouring to fulfil our calling, our purpose in life. Perhaps for some, but I believe it is for relatively few, that purpose is met through being tidy.
Reducing or eliminating entirely the ‘unnecessary’ is a first step in decluttering our minds.
As I read So You Want to be Like Christ by Rev Charles Swindoll, the content of the book triggered in me the following list of ways to avoid clutter:
1) Work on one project at a time.
2) Finish what you start.
3) Know your limitations.
4) Start with a clean slate – even if that means letting go of some unfinished work or great ideas. Take a fresh start instead of playing catch-up with incomplete tasks or ideas.
5) Be an expert on YOU. An expert is simply someone who has been through the fire, has come out singed but alive, and smarter than he was before.
6) Set your face like flint and focus – looking forward (not back) to your goals and objectives, taking on one at a time.
If you want to be changed, you have to go beyond the revelation of what you want to be. You have to set your face like flint and go forward, focused and determined to be changed, different from who you were in all things, and changed into who you recognize you need to be. Real change is recognizing a new perspective, taking it around the corner with you, and not looking back.
I quote from Swindoll’s book, “Too much clutter in your mind leaves insufficient room for devotion to Christ.” (pg 39) Too much clutter prevents progress. To grow we need to move forward with a pure heard and a clear and focused mind.
So, even before working on our projects, let’s spend quality time – on a regular basis – with God. He’ll enable us to choose which project, and where to start. And more than that, He’ll remind us what the project and all of life is about. Then our work will be purposeful, fulfilling and enriching for ourselves and for those around us too. For with God, all things are possible. Our experiences, our lives, our relationships will be richer for our involvement with and surrender to Father God.