Clearing Out the Clutter

I got a new desk last weekend. Well, it’s not technically new since we bought it from a retired couple who were in the process of selling their house and downsizing. (No pictures since it’s currently disassembled in our garage!) But nonetheless, I’m happy to get a large “L” shaped desk with a hutch and separate file cabinet to replace the ‘temporary’ one that came from a building remodel of the old Macy’s store in downtown Atlanta about 15 years ago. It was just meant to just give me a place to park my computer until we could get around to fixing up my office in our new home. That was back in 2003, and I’ve been ‘parked’ on that desk ever since. I’m pretty excited that it’s finally time to do a little remodeling that’s been in the queue for a long time.

Since the desk will be a tight fit into the space we plan to put it, there are a few things we need to do before setting it permanently in place…

  1. Clean the carpet
  2. Finish the base moulding (also in queue for 15 yrs)
  3. Paint

Of course, it means that everything in there has to be moved to get to the floor and as a result, my office is in turmoil. The bookshelves are unloaded, the stand for my printer is gone, and most everything else has been relegated to cardboard boxes, sitting out in the hall. I know that once the project is complete and everything is back in order, I will be thrilled with the result. But right now, the disorder is disruptive. Locating even mundane things that I use for my job every day is complicated and irritating.

As I was digging in one of the boxes looking for a stapler, it occurred to me that the cluttered contents of my office is a lot like the lives that many people live today. Between work demands, social obligations, family necessities and an ever-increasing number of other duties, our lives have become so littered with commitments that there’s no breathing room at all. We stumble from one thing to another, carrying with us a load of anxiety and frustration, all the time wondering why we can’t stay focused and on task.

Maybe it’s because there is no space in our lives? Most of us pack one thing on top of the other until we can hardly function at all, but since our overstuffed lives aren’t as easy to see as the cluttered contents from my office, we often don’t recognize the effect it has on us.

The truth is that our God desires for His children to live focused lives that are centered on Him and invested in His kingdom, but we can’t make ourselves available to His plans if our schedules are so over packed that there’s nothing left at the end of each day. The break-neck speed at which we live tempts us to do the exact opposite of Proverbs 3:5-6… meaning that we end up “lean(ing) on our own understanding” of what is important in each day, allowing no time for us to listen to God and to let him “direct our path.”

In just these few days of disarray, I’ve discovered is that a lot of what landed in those boxes isn’t really necessary to keep around any more, so a bunch of stuff is not returning when this project is complete. Maybe that’s exactly what we need to do with our lives too. So maybe you can join me in an organizing project and begin an inventory of your life to decide what can stay and what needs to go. With a focused and prayerful effort to put our activities in better order, we can easily free up some room for God to work in and through us. When we create that time to breathe, we will be better positioned to hear Jesus say “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)



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