Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Week Nineteen - The Japanese Art of Decluttering

    Have you read Marie Kundo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing? Some folks are taking it all in while others are aghast at her suggestions.
    When you read the book, you find eight basic guidelines.  First, she says, “Tackle categories, not rooms.”  She makes comment about keeping only thirty books.  I’d have a hard time with that one! If I love a book, it stays on my bookshelf.
    Second, she suggests we respect our belongings. Make sure your clothes are happy in their closet home!  Third, nostalgia is not your friend. Don’t hang onto every broken crayon. Four, purging feels good!  Lighten your load.  Five, Fold, don’t hang—and she has specific instructions on how to fold!  That is Number Six—fold it right!  Seven, fall in love with your closet. Make it your happy place. Eight—rediscover your style with what remains. Her overall objective is to keep only what brings joy to your life.  I’m no hoarder, but I’m also not overly willing to get rid of everything that doesn’t bring joy to my life.  Some things are just necessary like a vacuum cleaner and a toilet brush!
     I know the Japanese art of tidying up might seem a far cry from our current consideration of the grace of God, but we can use it to help us see a similar process in grace and forgiveness.  It is usually best to take time to tidy up both around the house, and in our lives. 
    At the end of his book, Grace is Greater, Kyle Idleman states, “We’re able to receive God’s grace only to the extent we’re able to recognize our need for it” (p 157). For many of us, our closets are filled with everything conceivable.  Cleaning them out is a healthy practice.  Our lives, too, are filled with every hurt, every odd thing we hang on to with nostalgia, and every broken crayon while we keep cramming in more and more.  We don’t even want to look.  It hurts too bad.  Until we recognize our need to clean out that life-closet, we are not ready to receive God’s grace to do so.  We must open the door, admit our guilt, take a deep breath, and let the Lord help us sort it all out.
    Kyle Idleman goes on to say, “The emptier we are, the more of his grace we can receive.  The weaker we are, the more of his strength we can discover” (p 166).  The closet analogy fits here, too.  Until you make some room, you can’t get new stuff!  By God’s grace, with every old hurt we let go, there is room for more of God’s grace.  Our life’s closet will become our happy place and we will be sporting a new style!
     Personally, I have a few principles I practice in order to keep my grace and forgiveness area tidy.  Let me share them with you.
1)     If I can just let a hurt go, I Do.  No need to wear my feelings on my sleeve.
2)     If I need to bring the hurt to God, I Do.   Confession is good for my soul.  Prayer gives me focus.
3)     If I need to remind myself to be more careful or aware, I Do.   “Walk in wisdom,” I hear God say.
4)     If I need to go and make sure I’m okay with my brother, I Do.   Create the opportunity for forgiveness, don’t let pride or fear stand in your way.
These four things help me keep a tidy spiritual life, make for a peaceful heart, and help me continue breathing in grace.
Do you need to do some tidying?  There’s no better time to start than today. Open that closet door and let God’s grace breath fresh air into the room.

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