Karen F. Gibson: De-cluttering brings new life


Our son came home for a 12-day visit.

Most children after they have been away as long as Seth has been (seven years) are able to see all kinds of improvements one needs in their lives.

Because Seth has been serving in the Marine Corps, he has organizational skills that far exceed mine. Efficiency is what he strives for. I was resistant to the idea of cleaning my office.

It seemed like a lot of work. It seemed like a hopeless case, but I gave in, hoping we could find my old office again. What I found was a new office. It was the same room, but a renewed sense of freedom came over me as we took the piles of papers out of the room.

I felt like a heavy burden had been lifted from my mind, from my spirit, from my physical being since I didn't have to dodge the stacks of papers and books leaning on the floor around my desk and the walls.

Isn't that the way it feels when a burden is lifted from our hearts?

Sometimes, I believe we don't realize how negative feelings have been accumulating, building up in our emotional storage bank.

Perhaps we have tried to ignore the situation, stuffing it back down into our hearts, our soul, our minds.

"Out of sight, out of mind," they say, and yet we know, it only affects our souls and mind more when we ignore those pains. In fact, with each effort to stuff something in that needs to come out, we lose a little bit more of who God created us to be.

Parker Palmer describes in his book, "A Hidden Wholeness," our soul decreases when we accumulate those negative messages.

Amy Hammond Hagberg writes an article about Skillet's John Cooper entitled, "The Freedom of Forgiveness."

As John Cooper grows up, he finds himself living in a very restrictive home and family. He is not permitted to listen to any rock music. This type of music was considered "Satan's music."

As the years go by, and John's mother dies of cancer, he finds himself living in an even more restrictive environment with a new stepmother.

Eventually, John graduates from high school and takes advantage of a music scholarship he earned at the University of Memphis.

While living with his maternal grandparents, he experienced a newfound freedom, which allowed him to develop a relationship with God. There, he met his future wife, Korey.

John's dad came to their wedding, but his brother was not permitted to miss school, thereby missing the wedding. John Cooper was angry with his dad.

About a year after John's marriage to Korey, John felt as though God was speaking to him about forgiving his dad.

By now, his dad was divorced and wanted to reach back also. Now, John has a relationship not only with his earthly father, but his heavenly Father. It is God that gave John and his dad the freedom of forgiveness to unload the baggage and to change their hearts.

The Bible's best illustration of forgiveness is God forgiving the Israelites over and over again in the stories of the Old Testament.

These stories are a reminder of how God is a merciful God. The sin that separates us from each other also is a barrier that separates us from God.

"I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44: 22 (NRSV).

God de-clutters my heart, soul and mind the same way my son helped me to de-clutter my office.

De-cluttering my office has given me more peace about how God wants me to organize my life.

God calls me to de-clutter all the areas of my life. So where else do I have clutter? What else separates me from my relationship with God and with others? My newfound freedom gives me time to be more efficient and more time to spend with God.

Thanks be to God.

So I say let go of the clutter, throw it out, and see how much more peace you have.


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