Anyway, it's true. He's still working on me. As this year ends, and I look back over the last 364 days, the basic message I've received from the Holy Spirit is this: "Girl, you've got too much clutter in your life, and it's getting in the way of all that I have for you. It's getting in the way of us.We need to deal with that." Deal with it we have, though I have a long way to go.
I'm one of those people who was raised by someone who grew up during the Great Depression. Many such individuals have a mindset that says not only "Waste not, want not" (which can be at the essence of good stewardship), but "Never throw anything away; you don't know when you might need it" (which can be at the heart of hoarding). In addition to these proverbs, I heard sayings like, "A penny saved is a penny earned" and "Clean your plate - there are children in India who'd be happy to get that." The story of the naughty kittens who lost their mittens was a parental favourite whose meaning was all too clear - lose something and there's big trouble ahead!
My dear mother is also a very sentimental person who attaches meaning and significance to objects, even though the items may have little value otherwise. For example, if my husband is fixing something at her house and uses one of her father's hammers, heaven help him if he doesn't return it to its original location. She'll think he's lost it. Or if she gives us her parents' plastic measuring cups, we'd better not leave one of them too close to a hot burner or pot on the stove! We're "careless."
She means no harm, I know. She's a product of her upbringing and temperament. Is it any wonder, though, that today I have too much stuff - either on display or in storage - in my little bungalow? Is it any wonder that I struggle to divest myself of it? I've made some progress, giving away clothing and small household items through my church's "Sharing Days" program. I've offered a few things to a local "reuse" group. I've even sold a few things. But my biggest problem is paper clutter and books (which, of course, are not clutter to an avid reader, writer, and librarian!). My six filing cabinet drawers are filled to capacity, and there are piles of paper waiting to be filed. Every once in a while I go through and weed out papers I no longer need. And finding a paper I do need can be a nightmare!
There are books to help people like me. I've borrowed some. I bought one. As always, the best instruction in the world can only help those who apply the information. And there never seem to be enough hours in a day to tackle it all. I'm caught in a vicious cycle - leave the clutter and the writing will never get done, try to write and the clutter is a constant distraction. Help!
Well, you know the only help for someone like me comes from Scripture (Psalm 121:1-2). As I recognize the scope and source of my problem and understand what needs to be done, I look to God's Word for wisdom. There I find:
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven... A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6, NLT)
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. (Proverbs 4:25, NLT)
And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:17, NLT)These will be my 'life verses' for 2012. I will post them on my computer, my fridge, and my bathroom mirror. And they will keep me going in the right direction as God continues the good work He started in me this year.
May He continue working in you as well. Happy New Year, everyone!
[For more of my writing, check out my website and my writing/general interest blog.]