Last week, I did a major clean out of three closets. As I worked, I was surprised to discover clothes in a little-used closet that dated back to my college years, almost five decades ago! Although I’m still not finished, I am happy with my progress.
Cleaning out isn’t limited to clothing or household items. Many times, we harbor unpleasant memories or hurts that drag us down and take up space in our lives. The thought of sifting through those memories and hurts, cleaning them out, and letting them go may feel overwhelming, but if you can look ahead to the benefits, you can ignite the forward motion you need to begin, and complete, the task.
What Stops Us from Letting Go
I remember what I wore to important events – graduations, births, funerals, parties. That nostalgia often prevents me from letting go. Many of the hardest clothes to part with are those my mother made for me. Letting go of those outfits feels a little like letting go of her all over again. It’s hard, but to declutter, you just have to close one eye and take the plunge. Remember, letting go of things doesn’t eradicate memories.
All of us deal with what ifs, wondering what will change if we take certain steps, or what might have happened if we’d been brave enough to take those steps.
Sometimes we hold on to things, bad memories, and emotional pain for odd reasons. If I give this away, will I wish I had it later? If I let go of this hurt, am I excusing the offense? If I forgive, do I negate my pain? But, be aware, what ifs are a trap, a spinning cycle of uncertainty that keep you from moving forward.
What ifs are a trap, a spinning cycle of uncertainty that keep you from moving forward.
I’ve already cleaned out a house this year, so any deciding, sorting, and giving away felt like too much. I had to force myself to make the effort. It helped to tackle the process in steps, take breaks, and work over a period of several days. That broke the task into manageable chunks.
Many of us put off decluttering because we don’t want the chore. As with cleaning out things, when it comes to decluttering life issues, we don’t want to stir up emotion, make decisions, and do the hard work. However, the benefits far outweigh the difficulty.
Benefits of Decluttering
One of the benefits of decluttering is seeing what you have. It’s easy to forget what you have and where it is stored. In like manner, we sometimes overlook all the positives in our lives and allow the negatives to cloud our vision.
Decluttering provides a fresh perspective and is a catalyst for forward motion.
Feeling of Freedom
This week, I was at the county courthouse for a probate court meeting to close my aunt’s estate. As I walked through the hall, a guard stopped me and motioned for me to stand to the side. A door ahead of me opened, and prisoners walked out. Handcuffed and shackled, they shuffled toward the criminal courtroom. As I watched them, I thought of their lack of freedom and the possible actions that led to their situation.
Decluttering your mind and heart is often more beneficial than decluttering your home. When you let go of bad memories, old wounds, anger, resentment, and bitterness, you free yourself from the shackles that slow you down. Unlike the prisoners I saw, you have the option of living in freedom, disentangled from the bondage that clutters your mind and heart.
Sense of Accomplishment
How do you feel when you’ve persevered through a difficult life season, or completed a complex problem? I always feel lighter. The sense of accomplishment is somewhat euphoric and spurs me on to tackle other hard tasks and unravel deeper issues.
What in your life needs decluttering? Do you need to let go of thoughts that weigh you down emotionally or mentally? Do you need to refresh spiritually? Ask God to give you wisdom, discernment, and the determination to move forward with decluttering and letting go.
“Forget the things that happened in the past. Do not keep on thinking about them. I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen even now. Don’t you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIRV).
Ask God to give you wisdom, discernment, and the determination to move forward with decluttering and letting go.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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