Limiting Distractions–clutter | The Practical Disciple

Limiting Distractions–clutter

So much of hearing God’s voice is just slowing down which for most of us involves simplifying our lives. One way to isolate God’s voice is just to limit the many other voices speaking to us. Two years ago during Lent I decided that I want to work on simplicity. I did so by ruthlessly attacking clutter and excess in my life. Specifically, I set aside 40 grocery sacks in my closet and every day for 40 days, I filled and got rid of a sack. Many sacks went to the thrift shop in our church, some went to people I knew, and a surprising number were just trash.

I learned a host of discipleship lessons during this discipline. One of the most profound was that everything we own, owns a little bit of us. Each item is calling to us in some way–“Keep me, store me, use me, clean me, etc.” Perhaps, that’s why Jesus told the disciples to bring so little with them on missionary journeys. Every item you have can be a demanding distraction. So, one simple way to begin to clear the air to hear God’s voice is to simply purge junk in your life.

I encourage you to reflect on just how often you find yourself pondering what you need to do with stuff in your life. How much time and space in your life is consumed by stuff? How and what could you realistically eliminate? Blessings from The Practical Disciple

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  • John, I love how you approached clutter! In the past few years our family has been moving through waves of releasing items as we’ve continued on our path of simplifying our lives and striving to live in a slow, mindful, responsive, responsible, listening way. Your method is beautiful, and connects so simply and deeply with why we would want to clear our clutter in the first place. As I approach another round of clearing my stuff, I will consider how I might work with that sacred process of transformation (40 days) and listening to and for God’s voice, and then … go!

    Jane (a fellow Village Builder)

    Jane 9 years ago

  • Jane one of the biggest keys to this experience was that I resisted working ahead and made myself do one bag and only one bag a day. The only exception I made to that was when I realized I was going to be visiting my parents for several days during the middle of my forty days. I didn’t think they would appreciate me throwing out bags of their stuff. So, I doubled up on bags for several days before I left. Anyone I know who has done this and leapt in with the energy of a tornado whipping out a bunch of bags at the beginning hasn’t made it to forty. When I felt hungry to do additional bags, I curbed my appetite by organizing for a bit instead.

    Also, there was something formative about a daily discipline that I have trouble putting into words. It conditioned me to daily look for and eliminate clutter. I’ve done this three times now and can’t recommend it enough. I also have a card in my chore deck called “Sack It” which helps us as a family stay on top of clutter. If you haven’t read my posts on the chore deck, I recommend you read my post More God, less stress and clutter and Some additional thoughts on the deck.

    I hope you find these articles helpful. If you try any of these tools, I would love to hear your story of success or struggle. Thanks for commenting Jane.

    admin 9 years ago

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