Friday, May 15, 2020

Unclutter The Soul

Devotional derived from “Simplify” by Bill Hybels
    In his book, Simplify, Hybels identifies some practical steps in eradicating clutter in your inner soul in order to experience a clearer Godly purpose and rewarding life.  In this devotional, we will look at a few of these steps to unclutter your soul and find balance in your everyday routine. 
    To begin, let’s consider the process of cleaning out a closet while trying to dwell on the exhilarating feeling of a room finally clean and organized, like what you see in a magazine.  
     Now imagine your soul like that disorganized closet; think about all the piles of “stuff” in your life- both negative and positive; how has this enhanced your spiritual development?  
     Well, we all know that any kind of change is an uncomfortable, hard process, even though it is ultimately inevitable and necessary for growth. For some the process is rewarding and they prefer it quickly; like totally emptying the closet, cleaning it, sorting and arranging items back.  
     Others like a slower process; organizing items over months, or even years while reliving moments through photos.  Sifting through items, cleaning and straightening. 
     And there are a few that find this kind of change to be a debilitating process; Just the thought of it brings painful, overwhelming, and exhausting feelings. They become frustrated before starting and would rather keep that door closed.  
     Whatever your process, this book will encourage you.  It challenges us to unclutter our soul by looking into God’s word and meditating on His purpose in our current situation.  This is a journey of individual focus, energy, and time and proves to be a challenging task for anyone.  It requires intentional, and personal planning, just like your own spiritual closet.  
1)     Renew your mind  

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Colossians 3:2

     When we meditate on God and not on things of the world, it brings peace.  The peace of God is life-changing and brings freedom from anxiety and worry and allows God’s purpose to manifest in your life.   
     Your focus will soon shift and somehow what is disorganized becomes manageable and doesn’t seem so enormous.  As you sort, and organize you begin to find an inner strength and determination; fear diminishes, and isolation dissipates, and God brings special people in your life to encourage you.  You begin to crave a simpler way of life built on the foundation of faith.   Priorities and habits begin to realign with God’s plan, which builds trust and compassion.  

2)     Discard your “stuff
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”  Philippians 3:13
          We all have that “stuff” - thoughts, objects, people - that drains our spirit.  This may include childhood hurts, broken relationships, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness.  The list can be enormous and endless, and carry the continuous pain, and anguish that leaves your soul wounded and bleeding. However, the good news is that we are not alone.  Jesus came to carry that burden, heal your brokenness, and bring comfort to your spirit.  He will make you a new creation and forgive your sins.  Your spiritual closet will be wiped clean, fresh and ready for God to begin filling you will a special newness from Him.  

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

          Seeking God first each day will continue to add the energy and determination to live life to the full.  No longer will your mind and thoughts be scattered; but you will feel a rejuvenated, renewal of your heart.  God will take all those pieces and create a new masterpiece beyond what you can even ask or imagine.

3)     Maximize your time.   
     We all have the same amount of time in a day, month, year, but the encouraging difference in how we choose to spend it.  So, start simply with your calendar.  Think about just the next three months and record your top three priorities, then the next three, and so on.  Remembering to include time with God, family time, friends, spouse, work, exercise, recreation, and rest.      
     Soon, you will see all the wasted time and this scheduled calendar will become part of your normal routine; plus you will notice extra time for yourself and those you love.  This is your life choices, so refrain from comparing it to others because everyone adjusts differently.  The goal is to find pleasure and satisfaction in your daily routines, and rest in God’s love for you.  

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23”

4)     Continually rotate
     Just like that closet, your soul requires continual cleaning and sorting.  Some new items go in while others are removed based on the season in your life, and your walk with God.  Study Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  

Ecclesiastes 3:1

    In these verses, King Solomon lists twenty-eight different periods of time that we may possibly face during our lifetime.  It is a perpetual flow of opportunities; in which the goal is to find a healthy balance, and contentment.  
    Remember that seasons are only for a time, and will pass, so it is important to recognize your current one.  God may be using this time to teach and equip you for the challenging days ahead, or help you move on to the next season.  This could include deepening relationships, gaining knowledge, expanding your influence, or developing a spiritual gift, and much more. God is continually working behind the scences through people, and all kinds of situations or occasions, like natural disasters, tragedies, or epidemics, as well as joyous ones, like new babies, marriages or reunions.  So be aware of your current season and look for opportunities to serve and pray for God to give you direction while on this path.  
     My favorite part of this book was identifying my life verse:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  

Psalm 37:4

     It was inspiring to read testimonies from so many patriarchs of the faith, like Billy Graham, that stood on the promises of God during challenging situations and how their life verse had sustained them.  Hybels gives several stories from the Bible as well as his own testimony of overcoming challenges by incorporating these principles. 
    God showed me to remain focused on Him, I must truly delight in His Word every day.  I need to remain intentional, obedient, and continually share my gifts with others and I am confident that He will take care of all the rest. 

Donna Lindquist 
Book: “Simplify” by Bill Hybels.  Tyndale House Publishers 2014

Devotional Archive