Spring Cleaning has taken place in my household. We went through all the cabinets, drawers, and closets, and we got rid of so much stuff either through the yard sale we had or by donating it. If felt so great to purge so many things, like a fresh clean start, perfect for Spring. Not to mention getting rid of clutter was essential in staging our house to sell! This major cleaning happened a month or so ago, and if you ever had to get your house ready to sell (and keep “show-ready”) you know exactly what I’m talking about!
But once we clear our counter tops and drawers, if we don’t take a conscious note at our daily actions and behaviors, they end up exactly as they were before, and before you know it you are fighting through that pile of clutter once again. It’s called automatic processing, and when we have behaviors that are habits we do them without thinking about it. Our brain takes an “autopilot” approach to ultimately help us devote the mental energy needed for things that are not automatic. So if we don’t consider every behavior we can end up in the exact time predicament as before!
The same goes for when we are stressed, I don’t know about you, but I used to equate stressed with “desserts” (did you know that stressed is desserts spelled backwards?) Again our bodies revert to autopilot and attempt to handle stress in the same way it did in the past. For example, when I am stressed I crave sweet treats because that is what I used to do in order to manage my stress. If I eliminate a behavior, I need to ultimately replace it with something else, or expect my cravings to return with a vengeance,
Jesus was no stranger to the danger of an unoccupied space, in the book of Matthew he talks about how when all of the unclean spirits were cast out they looked for a new place to go, and when they couldn’t find anywhere new they returned and brought seven more with them. (Not that eating desserts is a matter of having an unclean spirit, but it IS a matter of having a heart that is longing to be filled and not allowing God to be the one to fill it)
When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. Matthew 12:43-45
This is why when we clear out space in out hearts, or remove a bad habit, it is crucial that we replace it with God. He longs to be the only thing that occupies our heart, but won’t force himself in if he’s not invited. If we don’t let God in then we run the risk of repeating they same cycle over and over again.
Our discipline to remain fully committed only comes from God, in fact He is the very one that brings our needs to our awareness in love.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
When I got rid of the clutter in my house, I was able to stop our kitchen table from being a catch-all by two things:
- making a conscious effort not to put stuff there.
- instead of keeping that space completely empty I simply placed one small thing there to take up space, but not allow it to be overcrowded with clutter once again.
Once we declutter our heart, it is up to us to keep it that way. Sweet friends, let this be a kind reminder to let God be the one to fill up your heart, today tomorrow and always. By doing this He will remain on the throne, and the “clutter” will be kept at bay!