When Spiritual Clutter Hides Beneath the Physical

blogmoreoflessMaybe it’s the sentimental clutter crying for relief in my attic. Or perhaps it’s the upcoming move signaling a fresh start. Point is, Joshua Becker’s latest release, “The More of Less…Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own” left me questioning what spiritual clutter might be discovered beneath my sentiment-driven, what-if-I-need-this-some-day, because-two-of-something-is-always-better-than-one kind of debris.

My desire to tuck away pretty things began at an early age. As an eight-year-old, I hid a true blue Easter egg in my headboard bookshelf. Why? Because I wanted to know it would be there when I felt the need to gaze at beauty for a moment. It didn’t take long to figure out that even beautiful things eventually decay…and reek.

It wasn’t, however, until I was in my thirties purchasing Beanie Babies {Did I really just admit that?} for no apparent reason that I began realizing there was more to those purchases than a fuzzy little feel good. Thankfully, they ended up in the hands of children in an overseas orphanage but unfortunately that was not the “why” behind the purchases years prior.

Those are just two snapshots from my past but even today when I find myself aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles of Target I have to ask myself the “why” question. I don’t want to subconsciously find peace and, dare I say, joy, in all the wrong clearance spaces.

Joshua’s latest release, “The More of Less” is a daily tool in my back pocket. The pages hold clear and concise wisdom, less a beating. The tone is conversational, friendly. It’s an easy but enlightening read, to say the least.

Snippets from The More of Less, some paraphrased:

  • Minimalism: the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.
  • The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. The beauty and the full potential of minimalism lie in what it gives.
  • Decluttering will help you clarify your purpose and values.
  • Remember, the goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so we can accomplish more.
  • In the end, your particular practice of minimalism is going to look different from that of everyone else because your life is different from that of everyone else. You may have a large family, a small family, or no family. You may live on a farm, in a house, or in a studio apartment. You love music, movies, sports, or books. You practice art, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you believe you were put on this earth to host beautiful dinner parties or offer your home as a place of respite and retreat for others. Follow your passions to the best of your ability with the resources you possess. Fulfill your purpose with great focus by removing the distractions keeping you from it. And find a style of minimalism that works for you, one that is not cumbersome but freeing.
  • The more you believe you are not influenced by advertisements, the better they have done their job.
  • Generous people have less desire for more. They find fulfillment, meaning, and value outside of the acquisition of possessions.

{Told you it was good!}

buy-686337_640As I clear out the physical clutter in preparation for the move, a subtle, more insidious kind of clutter lies in wait. I find evidence of mindless shopping. Clothes with fancy tags but little wear. Books that wouldn’t be read anytime soon but bought because I refused to deny the rush of happiness that surged through my veins. Misplaced values and unhealthy dependencies now made visible because I {finally} took the time to look at the “why” behind the purchases.

Peeling back the motives behind our “stuff” allows us to discover not only what we value but also where we find it.

Although you may have enjoyed a large house in the suburbs with the accompanying comforts of life in the past, perhaps now you are thinking more about the value of experiences over possessions. Maybe you are more focused on leaving a legacy than adding to a pile of possessions. {To the Baby Boomers, like me.}

Did a particular excerpt from Joshua’s book resonate with your current circumstances? If so, please share in the comment box. It’s always nice knowing we’re not alone.

Amazon: The More of Less, by Joshua Becker

Thank you for stopping by today. If you like what you read, please sign up to receive my weekly post in the right-hand sidebar. Simply type in your email address and voila! It will be delivered to your inbox each Thursday afternoon and you may unsubscribe at any time. Blessings!

 

 

25 Things I’m Loving Right Now {From Practical to Posh}

castles-616573_640I state the obvious first — God, my husband, family, and friends will top any “Things I’m Loving” list ever created. The list below is quite frankly, cathartic. Life has been a whirlwind in recent months and I don’t see the winds dying down for awhile. So I do what I do…make lists.

I hope some of these things I’m loving right now will resonate with you and perhaps even prompt you to consider your own surroundings along with the many blessings tucked in between your days.

 

  1. Spacious places. Psalm 18:19 is my go-to verse with this next move. “He brought me out into a spacious place…”
  2. DW Home Hand-Poured Candles. Vanilla Bean, to be specific. I purchased every last one TJ Maxx carried –  to the tune of 35.00+ worth. Yes, they’re that delicious.
  3. Poetry. I love to read it …and write it.
  4. My church. It’s a church that loves well, no matter what.
  5. My great-grandparent’s bible. Its underlined scripture hints to the legacy they would leave behind.
  6. Peppermint Snow. Dee Dee Parker’s Christmas novella that is sure to be a best-seller one day!
  7. Exchange Coffee. My local coffee shop that makes the best lavender lattes, hands down.
  8. Pride & Prejudice, A&E version with Colin Firth. And only this version. Swoon-worthy.
  9. The original scent of Downy softener. It reminds me of my grandmother’s laundry days.
  10. A charm bracelet with each of my grandchildren’s names forged on a separate heart. {They are my heart.}
  11. Vintage VW vans. Because everybody has a little hippie in them!
  12. My worn lot of cookbooks, {I’m afraid this might be as posh as I get. Sad, I know.}
  13. Blogging. Absolutely. Love. It.
  14. Soft breezes on scorching hot days. A reminder that refreshment can rise even on the driest of days.
  15. Owls. Maybe it’s a throwback to the 70’s but I love them.
  16. Tiny houses. {Especially as an Airbnb on our future property!}
  17. Chickens and goats and rabbits, oh my!
  18. Pastures & ponies. These two ‘p’s’ equal a third: Peaceful.
  19. My bible. I’ve had it since 1991. Its pages paper thin and lovingly marked.
  20. White walls, chalkboards, and Mason jars decor. {Does that count for 3?}
  21. Girl gatherings. It’s been awhile since I’ve hosted one of these but once we get moved, preparest thou!
  22. Chenille blankets. Vintage chenille blankets. Soft, warm, and plush comfort. {Especially on snowy days.}
  23. The way my grandchildren smile when we first see them. {Be still my heart.}
  24. Music. The gift of music meanders its way through the soul like nothing else.
  25. Rainy days when I don’t have to be anywhere. Showers falling, coffee in hand, and a good book. {Exhale.}

Do any of the above items trigger your own love-fest? I’d love to read 25 things you love, so if you decide to do the same on your blog please let me know.  Even if you decide not to publicly share your list, I encourage you to make it anyway.

It will do the soul good. Very good.

Did I happen to mention the cupcakes at Exchange Coffee?
Did I happen to mention the cupcakes at Exchange Coffee? Okay, that makes 26.

3 Things Learned in the Wait + A Prayer for Those Who Wait

chairs-325709_640Waiting. In line. In the waiting room. For the results. For the pain to pass. For God to answer your prayers. For your prodigal to come home. To be published. To be in love. For  Fall. For vacation. For retirement. For remission. On your Barista. For your home to sell.

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.  Joyce Meyer

Notice the title of this post is written in the present tense. I don’t have this waiting thing licked. I write with bare-skinned knees from flat-faced falls and carry band-aids in my pocket for future ones. But as a daughter of the King I’m confident there will be no lasting scars. Still, the process of waiting remains, and I have much to learn. Here are a few things I’ve picked up so far:

 

canstockphoto35245803

Misguided Expectations Eat Your Lunch…and Devour Your Dessert Too.

In recent months, four friends sold their homes within 24-48 hours. So when ours hit the market last week, I expected no less! When no one called within the first several hours I was convinced something was wrong with our phones. {Just keeping it real, here.} I didn’t realize how much I’d allowed my expectations to get out of whack until I found myself in quite the funk…for days. I confess my unbelief because, well, that’s exactly what it is — not believing what God has for us is His absolute best, regardless of the wait. And then I came across this post, {Above all, Trust in the Slow Work of God}, by Shawn Smucker, featured on Emily P. Freeman’s site. To me, it was a simple nod of acknowledgement from my heavenly Father saying He is with us in the waiting room. We’re waiting. He is working.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

blogblueberry

Food tastes better.

Do you spot a pattern here? First, there’s talk of devouring desserts and now this. I wish this was a good thing, but it’s not, at least for me. If there was any doubt as to my being an emotional eater before, there’s no doubt now. The weight I worked so hard to lose last year has crept back up. Stress must weigh in around 500 calories per bite. Sigh. If self-inflicted mental beatings appeared physically I’d look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

My indulgences – my dependency – should be in the Word, and that truth is gaining more traction in my life during this wait, but meantime, I’m clinging to the grace and mercy that hug every bend of my wayward ways.

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16

heart-462873_640

Our wait is grounded in purpose, motivated by love.

God isn’t a game-player. He is a game-changer.

He doesn’t toy with our lives or with His time. Every breath breathed is heavy with purpose. Being confident of this in the wait {because let’s face it, waiting is no fun on any level} ushers in inexpressible peace. Yes, the waves above the surface of my soul knock me down at times, but my feet stand steady because this I know: Everything God does in the lives of His children is motivated, spurred on, and poured out from a heart of love. Even His discipline is motivated by love. There’s no escaping it! {Thank You, Jesus!} He isn’t a God of love. He is love. In this we can trust…and rest.

Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. 1 John 4:8

 

No doubt there will be other lessons to learn in this waiting room of life but my prayer is that I’ll be found faithful, not consumed by circumstances but by the One who is sovereignly at work behind every word, spoken or unspoken, and deed.

Blogorangearrow

a prayer for those who wait

Pappa God,
You are the designer of the ‘rooms’ we find ourselves waiting in today.
The walls seem high, but You are higher.
The floor shifts at times, but You are our Rock.

The chairs, they confine us when all we want to do is run
but we trust…

You alone know the precise moment in which to open the door and call our name.
It won’t be a moment too late or too soon. It will be perfect,
because Your love is perfect.
Help us to awaken every morning with a whisper of gratefulness on our lips,
and a heart bursting with anticipation,
confident that You are at work
while we wait.
Amen.

 

Are you in a time of waiting? If so, do any of the above observations resonate? Or do you have a different observation to share? Please do! I welcome the opportunity to pray for you if you feel led to share. Blessings…