I don’t know about you, but this mama has had many a day with a messy home and a messy heart. That’s a whole lot of mess to have at one time. Thank goodness my friend Angie Ryg can relate – she’s guest posting today with some helpful solutions on how to sort through the chaos. And she’s doing a fun giveaway! What could be better on an ordinary Tuesday? Here’s Angie…
There was no place to hide. No quick warnings to my children to hush and pretend we weren’t home. No time to duck out of sight from the windows.
It was just after our third child was born and I was nursing in the family room when my neighbor called through the front door, “Hey, Angie, are you guys home?”
An infant and a burp rag were the only things covering me. I hadn’t gotten ready for the day yet, and I was sporting a distinct smell that could only come from the deadly combination of spit up and lack of a shower.
My older two children were playing on the floor with loads of laundry strewn about … the entire floor. There were bowls with cereal floating in leftover milk next to the television, and the dirty diaper across the room had popped open to expose all its lovely contents. It appeared my kids had suddenly been raptured while watching Dora the Explorer.
Yes, my house was an absolute mess. And my neighbor just walked right in. Right in.
As she hugged me I mumbled something about it being a rough night staying up late with the baby. But honestly, being up late was no excuse for the mess she was sitting in. Yes, sitting in. She actually sat on the couch that was layered in more laundry.
I was cringing with embarrassment on the inside. What was my neighbor thinking about all of this mess? I mean really, how did it get so bad?
Something had to change.
I can look back now and see that moment was a catalyst to get rid of the clutter in my life. It was a process. A hard process. But I started by focusing on taking baby steps. The first and most impactful one was clearing all surfaces (including the floor) so only one to three items remained. Now I can at least invite people over.
But I find I also struggle with the clutter in my heart.
In the same way I was not able to enjoy my neighbor’s spontaneous visit because of the clutter in my home, I’m often unable to enjoy activities because of the mess in my mind. For example, I might be reading a book to my child, but thinking of the year-end gifts I have to make for school, the clothes I need to drop off at church, and the groceries that have to be picked up. Time and time again, I find I’m not fully living in the moment.
So, I’m trying something different.
Using the technique of clearing physical surfaces, I’m trying to clear my heart to focus on one to three things. I want to focus on less, but be better focused on these few things.
1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace …”
I want that peace. So this spring my children chose only one activity rather than signing up for every sport their friends were playing. I had to let go of trying to attend every game, musical, and meet they’re in. Instead of being involved in a book club, couples’ Bible Study, and a Serving Group, I’ve chosen to do one and do it well. My heart can then be fully devoted to these limited things.
Focusing on a few things to the best of our ability and giving ourselves the right to say “no” can change our days for the better. Clearing activities gives us more time for our families. I’ve found I can read that book and not be distracted by what I “should” be doing.
Another benefit is that we’ll be more available to spontaneously tell others about God and to serve Him. In the same way that my friend just popped over, there are many times God will bring people into our lives at unexpected times for us to share His love. With a clear heart, we are able to recognize these times and make a difference.
With our hearts focused on a few things, we can enjoy them even more. We can thank God for them. Even if the laundry is still on the couch!
Do you have any good tips on keeping your life clutter free? I would love to hear from you! I’ll be choosing one commenter to receive a copy of my eBook, Clutter Free Simplicity – Seven Ways to Clear the Clutter in Your Heart and Home.
By attending She Speaks Intensive this past January, I received the chance to write this guest post, strengthen my writing craft, sharpen my speaking skills, and learn how to market myself and my words. And if that wasn’t enough, I met many kindred spirits who I now call friends! You too can have this amazing experience at the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks Conference in July. Click here for more information.