Almost 30 days ago I had this wild idea to get control of the clutter in my life. I started my Control the Clutter 30 Day Challenge. Every single day I challenged myself and my readers to clear away clutter, get something out of the house or organize something in the house that was a mess (taking Sunday’s off). In the back of my mind I knew that I had a lot going on in my life and that all of this would take place right before Christmas but I decided to plow ahead anyway. It turns out that I may have picked the busiest time of year to turn my junk drawers upside down, empty cabinets, and haul out bags of clothes and toys. Yes, this is a crazy time of year to add one more thing but actually, it worked out really well.
No other time of year would I have pulled out the holiday boxes and gone through them to get rid of all the holiday decor that I no longer use. Now that I’m in the frame of mind to get things organized, putting away Christmas decorations after the New Year will give me yet another chance to clear out broken and tired ornaments.
I have noticed another advantage to clearing the clutter during the holidays…turning the focus of controlling clutter inside the heart as well as the home. Just a few days after the challenge started Advent was upon us. What a wonderful time to focus on what may be cluttering our hearts than the time of year when we focus on God’s greatest gift to us. The first verse of Joy to the World has so much more meaning when you are focused on getting rid of what is weighing your heart and mind down.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king.
Let every heart. prepare Him room.
Let heaven and nature sing.
If our hearts are full of anger and resentment or holding on to grudges, there isn’t much room for the joy of this season. But letting go of the hurt is easier said than done. Just like that box of stuff that has been hiding in the corner, or those clothes that you haven’t worn in years…we keep telling ourselves; I may wear that one day or I may need that stuff…I’m not sure what is exactly in that box, but you never know when it will come in handy. Guess what? If those clothes worn in over a year or that box hasn’t been opened and aren’t even sure what is inside…you don’t need it! Get rid of it! The same is true with the emotional pain we hold on to from when someone really hurt us, or the grudges we hold when we feel slighted. If we get rid of that anger then what will we do when we want someone to blame? When we want to point the finger and say It’s all their fault that my life is a mess! Guess what? That is in the past, it’s over and done. That box has been sitting around for a long time and it’s time to dump it. And there is only one person to blame when our hearts are a mess. Do I really need to say it?
We can’t control how others will treat us but we can control how we will react to them. Recently my 10 year old was talking about the “mean kids” in his class and what they did to make everyone else’s lives miserable. I hate hearing that my son may be the recipient of some of this bad behavior but I can’t be with him all day to protect him or give those kids that sink eye. The advice I can give him is to treat them like he would want to be treated. I told him that a lot of times these mean kids have something really terrible going on at home. Many times they are treated badly by someone they should be able to trust and they are scared to tell anyone about it. Many times they are hurting inside and they only way they know to express their fear is to hurt others. Yes, some kids are just mean for the sake of being mean and that really stinks. However, we have to assume that there is something else going on that we don’t know about.
The same goes for grown ups. People dump on us and we can either get really angry and hold it against them for a long time or we can clear away that resentment from our hearts. This is the prefect time of year to let it all go. This perfect babe came to this world to relieve us of that burden and every single year, this time of year, we’re reminded that He came to lighten our load. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. He wants you to clear away your clutter! He is willing to take it away…he is just waiting for you to give it up.
Clear away the clutter of anger and fear and prepare room in your heart for joy, for love, for Him.