Finding good tools and taking action

Published 8:04 am Sunday, May 6, 2018

By Karen Y. Stevens

My husband and I have recently been Spring cleaning. We have collected so much junk over the years and failed to get rid of any of it, along the way.

Isn’t that just like our spiritual lives. We collect bad thoughts, regret, pride, self-loathing, selfishness, etc. The problem, much like our material collections, is we fail to get rid of any of this excess spiritual baggage. When we come across a situation, we have a hard-time finding the right words of wisdom, right attitude, right scripture, the right compassion, etc., because there is so much other stuff in our head and our heart.

I hate throwing things away, so Spring cleaning only comes about every five years in my house. The oxymoron is that I love it when I do throw things out, because I can find things easier.

So why is it so hard to get rid of the things we have collected? The research is still preliminary, but studies have shown hoarding is related to cognitive differences in processes like decision-making, sorting and categorizing.

No, I’m not saying we are hoarders, but I am saying “yay”, it really all boils down to a decision-making process. You also hold onto things based on hope. You hope to lose weight, catch up on reading, and finish that abandoned project.

But when you don’t, it’s hard not to beat yourself up about it, and you continue to hold onto those clothes that won’t fit, and the articles you’ll probably never read. The sad thing about too much stuff, is it controls you.

What we should be asking ourselves is, do I honestly need this item, and or do I need these things in my mind? Do I love it? Does it have some sort of significance in my life? Does it serve a purpose?

June Saruwatari wrote the book “Behind the clutter”. She claims to achieve a goal, you need to create three action steps for that goal.

For example, if you want to start exercising in the morning before work, you could organize your workout clothes in a space near your bed to make them easily accessible, create a spot in your home where you can exercise, and set up some sort of reward for yourself after your work out–like all the ingredients for a smoothie.

The same goes for clearing out your mind of all the excess of unpleasant or unproductive thoughts.

If your goal is to read more of your Bible each day (which will clear out a lot of those thoughts), find your paper Bible; set it out on the counter where you’ll see it in the morning. Don’t use your digital Bible – there are way too many things to get you distracted, like checking your email, getting on Facebook, etc.

You might also place a “read the Bible in a year” guide, or a topic you have been interested in researching thru God’s word.

Also, set out your fine china cup, with your favorite fattening cream to reward yourself.

To sum it up for physical and spiritual declutter, set goals, set three actions in place, and follow thru. Having the right tools and taking action is the key.


Karen Y. Stevens is founder of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild