40 In Faith

Clear Away The Clutter

I’ve never been a very organized person.  I did not grow up in a home where there was a place for everything, and everything was in its place.  I don’t find organizing exhilarating or rewarding.  My desk at work is piled high, and I know exactly where everything is in the mess.  Except no one else does, and that could present a problem if your boss is looking for something.

I believe organization is a gift, one which I do not have. Oh, I do try.  My children’s’ rooms can stay organized, for about an hour.  I clean out my pantry every so often, when it gets to the point that I cannot find what I am looking for, but know it’s in there somewhere.  I will tidy up a bookshelf now and then, but for the most part, I live in a state of utter disorganization.  What I see every day when I walk into my home is unavoidable.

Clutter.

It has a way of growing.  Left unattended it will spread from room to room faster than the common cold.  I admit it.  I have clutter in my home.  I’ve seen worse, but I could do better.  Everywhere I look there are piles of papers, stacks of books, and cluttered messes that I can never seem to get on top of.

But what about the clutter that I cannot see?

If it’s true that only God call fill the void of an aching heart, why does my heart still ache?  Perhaps my heart is filled with clutter — messes left unattended to, disappointments from dreams left unfulfilled, bitterness, anger, resentment, pride…so much clutter.  It’s smothering, but at the same time all too familiar.  Is it possible to become attached to clutter, to the point that you really aren’t sure where you would be without it? 

The process of decluttering can be painful, as we take portions of our messy lives and try to compartmentalize them into neat and tidy boxes, messes hidden from the wold, realities left unexposed, or so it seems.  

Clutter is an internal disease, a heart condition. Cluttered homes and lives are merely outward representations of what’s happening on the inside.  (From Clutter to Clarity)

I came across this quote and it really hit me.  My cluttered home is an outward representation of a heart that is overwhelmed with clutter — the clutter of this world, my own selfish ways, my desire for worldly pleasures.  The clutter in my heart can become so overwhelming that it dulls the ache inside for the very presence of the Living God.  As long as my heart continues to be crowded with these things, the ache in my heart will never be satisfied.

I desperately need God to come and clear away the clutter in my heart.  I need Him to come and sweep the dust that is contaminating the very air that I breathe.  I need Him to come and remove the cobwebs that are attracting that which comes to kill, steal and destroy.  When the clutter in my heart is cleared away, my eyes will once again be open to see Him, as I set my heart once again on what is eternal and lasting.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-20)

Are you overwhelmed with clutter in your life?  Invite God in and allow Him to clear away the clutter so that you can see and Hear Him clearly.

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40 Comments

  • Reply
    Wanda
    January 24, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Oh my Barbie, how well I can relate to this. As I looked across the little piles of stuff in my living room yesterday, I quietly pondered why it is I can’t seem to keep the clutter in better control. And silent whispered a prayer asking God to help me see the real issue behind it. Because I didn’t always have this problem.
    Wanda recently posted..Refuse to Be…Stuck

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I noticed my clutter getting out of control when I hit menopause, about 6 years ago. Dealing with a little bit of depression, due to life changes, makes matters even worse. Praying He will helps us both to see what we need to see to be able to get on top of the mess!

  • Reply
    Rosann
    January 24, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Our recent move helped us declutter, but now I’m expressing my creative side by painting the interior walls of our home. Perfectionism is a terrible character trait to have when your gifts are not painting. Lol! There are many days I wish I could clear perfectionism from my heart. It can be a heavy burden to carry.
    Rosann recently posted..My Children Are More Awesome Than Yours…

    • Reply
      Lisa
      January 24, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Barbie- I am the complete opposite of you in this area… I am a organizational freak. But, I think that has its cons too, because I know there are times I throw stuff out that I need to deal with… including spiritual things. (Rosann speaks to my heat on perfectionism, hence putting my reply here.) I do love how you are so real here, every time real.
      Lisa recently posted..letting go, a mother’s heart

      • Reply
        Barbie
        January 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Oh how I wish I was a little bit more organizational minded. Perhaps one day. Thank you for your encouragement. I do strive to be real, it’s the only way I know how to be.

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Rosann, I use to be much more of a perfectionist, although I still thing there is residue there. When we moved, I did get rid of a lot of things, but can I say there are boxes in my garage that haven’t been opened since they were packed for the move? And as a painter, I am so a perfectionist! Thankfully my art is done best with my fingers!

  • Reply
    Susan
    January 24, 2013 at 4:06 am

    Hi Barbie,
    Your new “look” is so inviting! Love the header! 🙂

    This post hits home for me too. I have been working on de-cluttering our home for years…it seems…and yet, I put more stuff up in the attic yesterday (oh.my.goodness) and it occurred to me that, yes, we are taking bunches to Goodwill and giving a lot away, but we still have a lot we could part with. I’m wondering now what I’m holding on to up there and why? Spring will be a time of physically cleaning out, while the next several months will be focused (for me) on why I am holding on to “stuff”. I am going to pray that the Lord will show me what I need to part with emotionally and spiritually. I realized too that I am probably grooming our girls to do this same thing and I don’t want that for them.
    Great post Barbie! Thank you for sharing your heart. 🙂
    Susan recently posted..Blessed by Barb

    • Reply
      Leann
      January 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      I seem to give throughout the year to Big Brothers Big SIsters (they send a truck to our neighborhood about every 6-8 weeks) and I STILL have tons of clutter. My husband is worse than I am…I think if I lived by myself, it wouldn’t be as bad. My house would not be pristine, that’s for sure, but it would be better. Two pack rats in a tiny house makes for a messy life.
      Leann recently posted..Working for the Weekend

      • Reply
        Barbie
        January 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm

        Leann, I try to hit the trucks when they come around, but the house can be in such a state of chaos that it’s hard to find what to donate, let alone what to toss. And for me, it’s not so much the cleaning out, but the organization of what is left in the home, those things I need. You should take a peek inside my fridge. Oh my!

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you Susan! My kids to have the same issue with clutter that I do. Lord help us all!

  • Reply
    Mary Colovich
    January 24, 2013 at 4:55 am

    What a perfect post for this time of year (and always!) I find the most clutter in my head…I’ve had to really learn to just be Still. Life is waaaaay too fast these days and taking time to get rid of the clutter is the only way to slow it down for me. God bless!
    Mary Colovich recently posted..Tragedy, Love & Heaven

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Oh I never thought about the clutter in my head! That’s such a great point!

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Oh, so so true! When my heart is cluttered, it effects all the areas of my life. I can relate to this! Thanks for pointing to the One who clears all the clutter in our heart and soul!
    Christina recently posted..Teach Me Jesus Thursdays: The Books of the Bible

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      You’re welcome Christina!

  • Reply
    Dawn St Amand Paoletta
    January 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I have been pondering these truths too, Barbie. Oh the need for grace looms large for every second of our journey…if we are to face these things…this clutter that seeks to crowd out our good God. May we win the battle, by faith through His grace and faithfulness…Love an hugs, Dawn
    Dawn St Amand Paoletta recently posted..When Your Heart (and Desk) Is Overwhelmed

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      AMEN my friend! It’s only through seeking Him that my eyes will be open!

  • Reply
    Beth @ My Destiny
    January 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Oh friend. Clutter can definitely make someone like me feel overwhelmed. Even if it means throwing away stuff that I would probably regret not having someday — I have to declutter. My closets are a mess though and are often shocking when people see behind the closed doors. Not that my house is spotless by ANY means. I often have stacks behind closed doors — just waiting for me to go through them. Our office is one of the hidden spaces. Yikes.

    I pray God will show you and me too if there are piles of clutter within our hearts that need to be removed.

    Love,
    Beth
    Beth @ My Destiny recently posted..Do You Have Clutter?

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you my friend!

  • Reply
    Melanie Wilson @theinspiredday
    January 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I used to be buried in it! I wrote about my clutter problem in my book, So You’re Not Wonder Woman. Thank God, I now abhor clutter and really enjoy organizing. My passion for organizing and my six kids are fairly incompatible though. LOL Now heart clutter is another issue. I want to be just as passionate about decluttering the yucky stuff there.
    Melanie Wilson @theinspiredday recently posted..Savor the Day

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      I’ll have to check out your book Melanie! It’s so hard to keep a tidy home with children, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    Leann
    January 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    It’s weird, but I do like to organize and feel great after I do it, but I have the problem with keeping up with it. I’m not good at maintaining…pretty much anything. I wonder what that says about my heart. I have always been a good starter, but never a good finisher. *sigh*

    Thanks for this post!
    Leann recently posted..Working for the Weekend

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      Oh me too! I start things well, with good intentions, but something fizzles out before the finish line. Praying I can stay focused to keep on task. Have a beautiful weekend.

  • Reply
    Jenni
    January 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    The condition of my heart is always evident by my house, checkbook, and eating. When my house is tidy, and I can recite my checkbook balance (without receipts in my wallet), and I don’t crave bad food – that’s whae I am most in the Spirit. I wish I could come over to your house; I love to clean and organize other people’s stuff! xo
    Jenni recently posted..Get this chubby monkey off my back already!

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Oh Jenni, I would love to have you over for coffee, no cleaning necessary. One day over the summer I was so overwhelmed that a girlfriend had to come sit with me and help me clean out my stuff.

  • Reply
    Ashley Ditto
    January 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Barbie, this post has me in tears. Because I know I really really just got blessed by it. I have cleaned out a lot of clutter in my life, both externally and internally. Your writing is one of my absolute favorites.
    Ashley Ditto recently posted..A Peek Inside My Life…

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Ashley, you are too kind! Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Reply
    Lea
    January 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Well, I am an organizational freak and love, love keeping my “ducks in a row” so to speak. But, I think all of us can struggle with a “cluttered heart” from time to time, but thankfully, He can take our cluttered and give us peace. I hope He does that for you very soon! Hugs)))))
    Lea recently posted..Wednesday Hodgepodge

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you Lea!

  • Reply
    Dolly@Soulstops
    January 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I can relate on so many levels. A few years ago, I asked God to remove the clutter in my heart, and He began the process…kind of painful but also freeing…praying God continues to bless you as you journey closer to His heart, dear Barbie 🙂 Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability, my friend…you bless us.
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted..Does God mother us?

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Oh yes, there is pain in the journey, but I do believe it is all worth it! Love you my friend!

  • Reply
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    January 25, 2013 at 6:15 am

    This you should know. Your blog is wonderfully organized and peaceful place. I think that speaks to your heart. The rest…may simply be training….?
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day recently posted..DIY | A Valentine Moment with Meaning

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you for that encouragement Diane!

  • Reply
    Ella
    January 25, 2013 at 6:40 am

    wow, I can so relate! Yikes…I also have clutter in piles!
    I’m going to set the timer and tackle one draw, one desk, one table!

    Nice to meet you!
    I’m visiting from Wanda
    😀

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Oh I should do that too! Never thought about the timer!

  • Reply
    Kim | At Home With Kim
    January 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Barbie, I love how you tied clutter of the home to clutter of the heart. I have really been so focused lately on the clutter in my head…. which I suppose transcends then to the heart. I want to learn to turn off all the noise and create more true QUIET time.

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      Me too, Kim! My head is spinning these days!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    January 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Barbie, I hopped on over here from Wanda’s blog. This was a great post. Very close to home. During a period of my life, I was a hoarder. And the clutter was indeed overwhelming. It affected everything – including my mood and outlook on life. Yes, I had work to do in my home, and God had work to do in my heart. Both were very difficult.

    But, de-cluttering is necessary for life survival – and necessary for the spirit to soar!

    GOD BLESS!

    • Reply
      Barbie
      January 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you for sharing your journey. I do believe the clutter of the heart and home are connected. Blessings!

  • Reply
    charis
    January 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    me too my friend, me too. i have found clutter and mess to pile up when i am overwhelmed with other areas of life – it happens every single pregnancy and then i have to try to dig out after the baby is born. i have also had the opposite problem – when life circumstances seem out of my control i squeeze tightly to the control of my house and start barking orders and freaking out about the little thing out of place. i think either extremes signal something is not quite right in the trust relationship with the Lord. i, too, am asking the Lord to search my heart and help me find the places i need His extra grace to overcome.
    charis recently posted..the voice

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