Posted by: Sally | January 2, 2008

De-Cluttering—the Secret to Peace and Rest

There is something uniquely good about January 1. It marks a new year, a new beginning, a new possibility. It also marks, for me, the reentry into simplicity. I don’t know if there is a more satisfying feeling for me during the year than when we put all of our Christmas things away, the decorations, the remnant of cookies, the clutter.

I love the celebration of life and the traditions and the fun and the beauty of special times spent with my children, husband and friends. But, there is something deeply satisfying to me about getting it all put away and getting back to normal.

Perhaps it is because my normal responsibilities of caring for my family’s needs demands so much of me—cooking nutritious meals, organizing our schedules, cleaning and organizing on a daily basis, homeschooling and add to that ministry—these are enough, but holidays put on that extra load. Routines go by the wayside and so the clutter and demolishing of the house, slowly takes over.

I am not a person gifted in handling details—too much mail, too many catalogues, too many emails, too many options, too many things. The more there is, the more I become responsible for, the more work there is to be done, and so, the more anxious I become. Same with activities. The more I commit to, the more I say yes, the more I have to drive, the more my house gets into a mess, and the more anxious I become, the more hurried we feel, and the more weary I become. When I am not at peace, nothing in our home is at peace.

We can all see how too much clutter and too many piles causes us to feel overwhelmed with life. Consequently, slowly, I have learned to declutter as often as I can—throw away unnecessary stuff. Clay is really the master at this. He helps me get rid of things, organize things and put away things. Yesterday, he decluttered our pantry—threw away chip bags that held little but took up space, cleared out empty water bottles, bad, junky Christmas candy that had been given to us, but would never eaten; baskets that had fallen off of their nails, groceries that had never been put in their place. Now, if someone came into my pantry, they would mistakenly think that I am an organized person. (Thank goodness for Clay!) It made me feel good just to open the door and to see that all was manageable again.

But, I have also come to realize that my brain and heart can be the same way—cluttered with worries, responsibilities, duties, children’s future, finances, time constraints, expectations, disappointments, critical attitudes, resentment. All of these added together, can tend to create soul piles and mind clutter. If I don’t take the time to sort the piles of mind clutter, my spirit becomes a mess and my heart becomes overwhelmed and weary.

It is what awakened me at 4:00 a.m. this morning-soul clutter and worry. It is another reason I like January. It gives me an opportunity to make a new plan, to simplify the mind messes and to start off a whole new year well. In the same way that throwing away stuff and clearing out closets brings me relief, even more, soul and mind cleaning and decluttering brings me rest.

So, as I begin a new year, and head into my conference season, a very busy time for our family, I resolve to deal with my soul-clutter, so that I may have strength to face each day in peace. I come to the place where I know I will find the help that I need. I come to my Father and ask Him to help me, His child, to show me how to make get rid of the junk that is unnecessary, and to help me clean out and organize my soul.

He speaks to me gently.

“In quietness and rest shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
You need to come to me and give me all those things that are weighing on your heart. Resolve to seek rest and peace.

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

List all of your issues, give them over to me, don’t hold on to them. I am capable of taking them from you and being responsible so that you will not be weary or carry what you are not capable of carrying.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. “ Psalm 37:7

Focus on resting in me—sit in my lap, so to speak, rest in my arms. Let me carry you. I love you.. Wait for my timing. Don’t force things or beg me to hurry up. I am in control.

“Be still (cease striving) and know that I am God.” Psalm
“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2

Give me your attention and get control of your spirit. Be quiet. Be still. Recognize my sovereignty and transcendence. Remember what Jesus said, “Our Father who art in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus modeled his understanding that my will is what you need to rest in. I am in heaven and I see all things—the future, the past, your children, your relationships, –all your clutter. Give them to me. Quiet your soul and rest in my strength and power.

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little child like this receives me.” Matthew 18:3-5

Come to me as a child—even as your children, in their innocence and sweetness of heart, know that you will care for them and meet their needs because you are a loving parent who cares for them, so I am your Father who will take care of you. Leave the burdens to your father and take your rightful place as a child. Humble yourself and trust me. Enjoy me. Delight in the beautiful moments of this day. Notice the little miracles. Live as an unfettered child. Accept your little and big children and receive them as a gift from me, and your will indeed receive me inot your midst.

“a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” I Peter 3:4

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about so many things. But really one is needed and Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10 41-42

Don’t worry and fret and stew and stir up unnecessary dust. Choose simplicity—just one thing I require—that you give it all to me and love me. I will take over. Even as I gave and provided a Sabbath in which all of my children should have rest from their work, so I want you to live in my Sabbath rest for your soul. Rest from your striving and labor. Take time for naps, for pleasure, for joy. This day you have to receive as a gift–I can’t promise what tomorrow will hold. But today you can love, give peace, speak kind and wise words, dance in your soul with my secret pleasure that comes from knowing that I love you.Simplify your life, don’t make choices that will complicate or add unnecessary pressure or cause you to sin or grumble. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,” as Paul said.

So, as I yielded my lists into God’s hands and decluttered my troubled soul, I left feeling that even as my house has been coming to order, after we cleaned and straightened it yesterday, now my soul is moving in the direction of order.

Rest, rest, rest—in quietness and rest will be your strength every day, every year, until you see me face to face. I love you, my sweet girl. Don’t forget that I am with you each moment of today.
Your doting and loving Father.

*************************************************************************

May all of you dear friends indeed have a happy and fulfilling new year with your days filled with the blessing of His company! Thanks for so many who have taken the time to write. Each note, email and comment has given me strength and joy. I appreciate your words of life so much!

I am looking so forward to share with many of you all the ways He has led me these busy years to see His life and fruit in the lives and souls of my family at our mom’s conferences in January and February. For the many who have asked me about them, you can read about them and sign up at http://www.wholeheart.org and go to events for more information. Grace and peace to each of you today.

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Responses

  1. What a great post! I am so glad I found your blog. I look forward to seeing you in February in Texas!!
    ~Julie Jones (Kourtney Hartsock’s friend~remember me?)
    Tell Sarah Hi for me!
    : )

  2. So glad to hear that I am not the only one who enjoys putting Christmas away. I feel funny saying it, that it might lead someone to think that I don’t love the Christmas season because I do!!! I, like you, thrive when I get those opportunities to re-organize and turn the chaos into calm (at least for a few hours).

    I look forward to sitting under your encouragement in Anaheim. What a great joy it was to see you decided to return. It is what keeps me going until the summertime homeschooling conference.

    Blessings to the Clarksons, Jennifer

  3. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for the great post, it was very encouraging to me.

    Also, I am really looking forward to the new edition of Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, glad to read that is coming!

    Finally, I am in NC… it seems like most of your conferences are to the west. Is there any possibility of a conference for East Coast moms in the future? 🙂

  4. Thanks, Sally!
    I feel just the same way about January–decluttering is so freeing, soul and material things. It’s a great reminder! Thanks for letting your sensitive spirit be balm to others!

  5. Hi Sally 🙂 What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing your heart and the wonderful Scripture verses. I will be praying with you as you conference over these next two months, especially for wisdom and joy and peace and restful times. Love to you and a very happy new year, Q

  6. Sally, your post was just what I needed today! We had a full, fun, but somewhat stressful holiday “vacation.” Due to a few weeks of sickness, I had little time to prepare for Christmas (we got our tree the week of Christmas!), and it hit me like a ton of bricks. We had a great time with family & friends, but the house was in total disarray for weeks! I really noticed the toll it took on the peace of our home, but I knew that more than just the physical clutter was bothering me…my spirit has been in a place of unrest for a while now. Reading your post helped me to remember that I can & should take the time to start fresh spiritually. I wish I could be at one of the conferences, as I feel this has been one of the hardest years for me with homeschooling & raising my four children under 8 years old, but with a nursing baby it’s just not happening this year! I pray that the conferences will be a successful & encouraging time for all, and I thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us.

  7. Loved this so much. Thank you for sharing your heart on such a transparent and genuine level. Please be encouraged by how valuable so many regard your ministry. Looking forward to the Dallas conference.

  8. Sally – I loved your blog! We are actually still out of town visiting with relatives – I still have a whole house to un-decorate! It sounds so nice to already have it done. I can’t wait to get there – rest sounds wonderful! I am a “Martha” trying to become a “Mary”. I tend to overcommit and stay too busy – but I know the quiet time and devotional time is so important. I went to the christian bookstore today and bought a new devotional for this year. I am so excited! This is a new year! I am ready to listen to the Lord and rest in his Word. My prayer is that I will devote each morning to Him first, not even worrying about that first chore! Thanks again!

  9. Hi Sally,

    Thanks for your encouragement. How I long for you and your family to visit the SouthEast regularly. Having you in Alpharetta, Georgia last year was wonderful. You all are prayed for regularly. Pressing ahead because you have made a mark on my life…

    Single homeschool mom of five, Pam

  10. Love your insights and bibical wisdom! I am enjoying “the Mission of Motherhood” (a Chrismas gift from my husband) thoroughly, and finding that I am highlighting and underlining almost every other sentence! Loving it, and praying for God to speak His will for my family’s life into my heart.

  11. Wow, those are the words I needed to hear from my sweet Father, thanks Sally for always leading us back to the Lord!

  12. What a blessing to come across a disciple using such a lovely gift from God for the uplifting of us all, you are truely a faithful servant.
    I trust you are speaking with a true gifting from God, I will be faithfully reading.
    Blessings and protection on all you do.

  13. I think also that when we purpose to declutter our homes, our lives that we also avoid those post holiday blues. Thank you for a great read! God Bless!

  14. Your post is my heart-cry. I’m off right now to do some of the soul decluttering with the Lord! Thanks!

  15. Thank you, Sally, for ministering to us..I love how all you do is testify about the Lord moving in your heart, life,, and I am blessed!

  16. Thank you for posting so much Scripture for us.
    Lynn
    Waco


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