Decluttering your mind will yield freedom and fruit in your life and ministry

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.

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How to recognize what gets in the way of God’s plans

Is fear getting in your way? What do I do if I never seem to succeed in the plans God has for me? Can I overcome obscurity, poverty or mediocrity? logo Master Lighthouse - script If there is fear in your life, it can be overcome through Christ. Sometimes, it is helpful to recognize the root of it and in so doing, you can be alert to distractions that arise. I find myself getting distracted whenever accomplishment is close… because I have felt tentative about success. Here’s my story as outlines in my blog, “A Life Examined” at http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com: Obscurity. What is the opposite of success? Obscurity is the opposite of success. Do you know a cure for fear of success? Self knowledge is the cure for fear of success… at least it is for me. A couple of weeks ago I spoke on the subject of Fear… not I branched into the subject of Fear of Success. I have continued to think about this issue, because until recently I’d not put my finger on why I am afraid of success. Now, I believe I have discovered the cause. Last week I reached out, stretched forth, eager and willing to strain toward success and overcoming fear. Then, I hit on the root cause or the essence of my fear. Allow me to explain. As an author, in order to achieve success my name needs to be recognized so that my words and my books will be read. Now, thanks to Lance Wallnau (“Take All 7” (c) 2008, Lance Learning Group), an expert and public speaker on personal and organizational transformation, I’ve recognized my own hand in my failure. What provokes failure? In my case, success has eluded me because I’ve shrunk from notoriety. I have held onto my identity as a person who is unknown. I have done so because – at least in my perception – my peer group, who has different aspirations and interests, exists in relative obscurity. While I’ve worked hard to perfect my writing craft and have sought to grow as a person with a worthwhile message, in secret I’ve wanted to maintain the status quo… I have remained obscure and have resisted the very success I have worked so hard to achieve, because I’ve clung to my peer group. I have feared the notoriety I need to become successful. In order to succeed, I need to allow my identity to change… I need to allow myself to connect with a different set of peers. I don’t mean I can’t keep my friends. I mean I need to allow myself to reach into an identity that has a set of peers who is ‘successful’, who has the sort of notoriety I need in order to be successful. I have friends and acquaintances that excel in their work. But for the most part, I don’t have friends or acquaintances who strive for the public recognition that I strive for. In fact, the thought of belonging in a peer group of famed people intimidates me. And that is what has held me back. I have feared success because I’ve feared relating to people of that sort of success. How do I change? My attitude needs to grow into one of accepting all people and of recognizing that notoriety is just a facet of some people’s lives. Without allowing myself the recognition I need to draw people to buy my books, I’m not going to succeed. I need to allow myself to entertain the notion of belonging to a different set of peers. I need to face the fear of loneliness. I need to allow myself to accept this new set of peers before I meet them, so that I can accept myself as a part of this peer group. I need to accept myself as a person of notoriety; I need to accept who I will be as a person of success. I need to trust that I will not be different just because my position is different. And I need to be willing to allow myself to be in that different position. Last week I said I was eager to soar. Now I need to spread my wings. I need to embrace whatever encounter I may have with whatever set of people I may encounter. Then, I will no longer fear the recognition I need to build, and I will be ready to succeed. God bless and a Happy August to all!