The fresh scent of lavender soap and clean laundry waft through my apartment. Ahh! Spring is finally here and with it comes the undeniable urge to clean. Every year, I look forward to spring cleaning. There’s something exhilarating about airing out the house and weeding through the closets. Organizing has become a hobby of mine, and spring provides me with the perfect excuse to clean, sift through my clothes, and rearrange. Despite my love for organizing, I find it challenging to part with unnecessary items. Most of us have those bulky belongings that take up large amounts of space, but how does one decide what stays and what goes? Having recently moved, I find it difficult to thin out my closets and cabinets. Notes and sentimental items, clothes, kitchen supplies – you name it – and I can’t get rid of it.
I’ve become a collector of things. Every time I decide to bag an item for Goodwill, I convince myself that I’ll need it later. I have this compulsive need to save everything, just in case. Some days I find myself completely overwhelmed by all that I’ve accumulated, yet collecting items that are no longer of use has only increased with time. I’ve read dozens of articles and multiple blogs on decluttering; I even own books on how to become a minimalist. But despite my good intentions, I struggle with getting rid of possessions.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us struggle with the inability to get rid of material possessions. Perhaps this could also apply to our spiritual lives. Our lives are full of “stuff” that has a tendency to clutter up our spirituality. It’s easy to become distracted with the things of this world such as technology, fashion, or even unhealthy relationships. When our spiritual lives take a back burner due to possessions, it’s easy to lose focus and motivation. I’ve discovered that the more cluttered my spiritual life is, the more distracted and overwhelmed I become. Naturally, life gets busy, but it’s crucial to set healthy priorities that center our focus on Christ. If we make our heavenly Father our first priority, over time we can rid ourselves of worldly “things” that take away from our spiritual focus.
A similar pattern is seen in the rich, young ruler. He too struggled with letting go of his material possessions. After he came to Jesus and announced that he’d kept all the commandments, Jesus replied, “‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22). Despite his good intentions, his inability to give up unnecessary things prevented him from moving forward spiritually.
As the warm weather hits, I encourage you to perhaps make a spiritual, spring list of all the things that may need cleaning up in your life. Prioritize what’s important, and then take a serious look at eliminating that which challenges your growth with Jesus.
Madeleine Temple-Lowe writes from the Midwest.
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