[This is a series. Please see index at the bottom of this article.]
Do you ever feel like the lady in this picture? Loaded down with too much to carry? This can happen to us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In Hebrews 12:1 we read, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
For a long time I thought this verse was talking about laying aside the weight of sin that so easily besets us. Maybe I heard it misquoted, I don’t know. Then one day the Lord helped me to stop and read the actual words. It says, …every weight (comma) AND the sin which doth so easily beset us… Hmmm. That really says a lot more than just laying aside sin! Do you realize there are a lot of weights that we can carry around that are not necessarily sin yet they weigh us down and keep us from serving the Lord as we otherwise might? Our houses, minds and lives are often cluttered with everything from family heirlooms, toys and piles of books, to thought patterns, traditions of man, emotional baggage, and even people (!) who are hindering us from pressing …toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
You may remember that last year I challenged us all to give gifts from the things we already had as much as possible. I did so-so at that myself. But, I started something that seems like it is improving, and I’m hopeful that I’ll do even better this year on that. :-)
This winter, however, I’ve been looking at blogs, watching videos on Youtube, and now reading a book that have inspired me to not only stop buying so much stuff, but also to get serious about getting rid of stuff I already have (or to actually use it). OK, I had already been inspired to do this, but I’ve actually been really working on it lately. :-) I hope to continue!
I also want to lay aside some of the fruitless mental ideas and thought patterns that are hindering me from getting things done that I’d like to get done. (Oops! Some of those include unrealistic expectations of what I “should” get done!) I’m hoping to eliminate some of the mental clutter that is keeping me stagnant and underproductive.
As I go along, I want to share this adventure with you, and I hope that you will be challenged to participate! :-) I have already been reminded of how liberating it feels to lay aside weights. Imagine how great the lady in the above illustration felt when she put down that load. That feeling can be ours too as we lay aside the weights! The feeling of knowing there is less stuff around to bother with, to organize, or to sort through can be almost intoxicating. It can give you light feeling, like you could “run and not be weary and walk and not faint” for a change! :-) Yes, I know that is a spiritual promise for those who wait on the LORD, but in pressing towards the mark we need to run the race with patience, and it’s hard to run anywhere with a load of stuff – mental, physical, emotional – hanging on you! Let’s make an effort to put it down!
(Please note that I’m not suggesting a “resolution”. As I’ve probably said before, I’m not that interested in making promises or swearing to things that we might not be able to accomplish. Ecclesiastes 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. But, I think it is good to purpose in our hearts to do good, and this is certainly a good thing.)
To start with, I’ll list some places where I was inspired (not in any order). I probably should divide them into multiple posts, and maybe I will for some, but I want to get this thing off the ground, so, I’ll just give you several here. Please note that most of these people are not Christians as far as I know and I cannot recommend everything they may say, write or do! Some of their ideas are more “the rudiments of the world,” but where there’s good sense, that can be useful to us in our goal of laying aside weights so that we can run the race for God.
First of all is the blog of Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. This lady is refreshingly honest and humorous, which makes it actually seem enjoyable to clean up, declutter (sometimes the same place twice), and “deslobify”. ;-) One significant thing I learned was that there are a lot of things sitting around our house that have faded into the background and I don’t even see them any more! But! I know guests do! Ouch. :-P
The next one that has really helped me with what might be called a mental weight is The One Minute Rule. This is super simple, but what a difference it makes. Basically it is, “If you can do it in one minute or less, do it now!” For a procrastinator and/or “I-have-something-else-to-do” type person (me), this is a very helpful habit to develop. I’ve been surprised how many little things are getting done sooner, rather than later and thus reducing accumulation and last minute rush. And, the great thing is that as you do this, you begin to think, “That won’t take long, I’ll do it now,” even if it’s longer than a minute! [On this one my sister-in-law said for her it should be, “If you can do it in five minutes of less, do it now.” This works well for the slightly longer chores that too often get pushed aside.]
This may sound crazy, but one thing that helped me want to get rid of stuff was this lady’s talk on “Don’t Get Organized!” Yeah, that doesn’t sound right, but point is – get rid of stuff instead of organizing. Organizing can become a crutch to help you keep things you don’t need. :-) (Ouch, again!)
I’m going to stop here for now. Let me know what you think. How are you challenged to lay aside weights this year? I will try to keep making posts on this throughout this year, but since making hard fast deadlines is usually counterproductive for me, I’m not promising when. (Besides, I’m having too much fun going through our stuff and “deleting” things.) ;-)