Living Simply Saturday- A Cluttered Heart?


Welcome back to another Living Simply Saturday!

I’ve been so enjoying this series, and though I don’t always get around to reading all of the posts on Saturday (as I’m usually spending time with my husband and children) I make a point of reading each one when I’m able to. They’ve been an encouragement to me, as I examine these areas of my life (What would greater simplicity look like? What is my life cluttered up with that needs to be let go of?), and I hope they are for you, too!

It’s Week 2 of my look at the book, From Clutter to Clarity, and here’s the quote that hit me all over again when I re-read the chapter this week:

Clutter is an internal disease, a heart condition. Cluttered homes and lives are merely outward representations of what’s happening on the inside.

Ouch. There are things that I’m clinging to in my heart that are spilling forth as clutter, busyness, disorganization and stress? Makes sense, I suppose…

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The
good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and
the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:44, 45, ESV.

In the book, Nancy Twigg goes on to say this,

The problem is not that you have an overcrowded closet or that your schedule is chronically overbooked. Those are just symptoms. The real predicament is that your heart is cluttered. You can try to treat the symptoms by giving away clothes you don’t wear or cutting back on commitments, but the ailment will not go away until you treat it at it’s source. Until you declutter your heart, any changes you make to your environment will be only temporary.

Much as I try to become organized, to clean up messy rooms and closets and learn to live with less, to make wonderful schedules and routines and systems, to try to stay home more and focus on my priorities and responsibilities, I find that my struggle is perpetual and cannot be solved as easily as I want it to be. Still, things become disorganized, I feel overwhelmed, life gets too hectic, and simplicity seems like a pipe dream.

To a degree, I think there is an element of this that is just real life. Life gets crazy sometimes. There are seasons when things are just hectic and busy, and not at all tidy or on schedule or even remotely simple. I don’t think we can ever avoid that entirely.

I love this observation that she makes about Jesus, though.

In his thirty-three years on earth, Jesus provided the ultimate example of living simply in a complicated world. He was not status conscious or materialistic. He was certainly busy, yet he took time to rest and rejuvenate. Jesus knew his purpose in life and focused all his energies in that direction. He proved it is possible to keep our hearts grounded when everything around us is topsy-turvy.

How true! Jesus’ life was full, very full at times, yet He consistently took time to rest, time to be with His Father, and He kept His focus on the tasks that were specifically for Him, rather than becoming overwhelmed and stressed by all of the needs that were around Him (and there were many!).

Perhaps some of the lack of simplicity and peacefulness in my life comes at times because I try to take on too many things that are not intended for me to take on. Sometimes it’s worry or anxiety about material things that I think we need or that I want. Sometimes it’s burdens that either belong to others (yet I try to carry them) or that need to be given to God. Sometimes it’s pride that causes me to try to be and do everything, to appear perfect and self-sufficient and that I have it all together. Sometimes it’s possessions or habits that I cling to, because I am afraid to truly let go and allow God to meet my needs.

I think much will come out of these next few chapters, which look specifically at some of our heart issues, where much of the clutter in our lives originates. Are you as eager as I am to dig in to them? (Well, sometimes I’m not eager… it’s hard, sometimes painful work, sifting through the often wrong and sinful attitudes of my heart!).

Do you agree, that clutter works itself from the inside out? Do you find, as I do, that you can make outward changes that sometimes don’t stick or don’t really make a difference? Thoughts on this chapter in general?

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  1. I’m not sure why the title didn’t change!

    It should read Simplifying Quiet Times instead of Forced Simplicity.

  2. GREAT post, it really spoke to me today. I’m going to look for this book, or maybe put it on my Christmas wishlist, as I really like the quote you have above from Nancy Twigg. Thanks for sharing!

  3. great post Steph! I am feeling motivated to get rid of things now….probably should wait till i’m fully recovered before I attack my closets and garage LOL!

  4. I want to absorb this book thoroughly. I have checked out the author and she seems to be doctrinely sound –so looking forward to reading it along with you!

  5. Today was my first visit to your blog, and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed what I have read here. I love the same Heavenly Father you love, and I SO enjoy a simple life. I have homeschooled my 14 year old from 1st grade till now (9th grade), and lately I have really begun to see the benefits of this act of obedience. I’ve subscribed to your blog, and I’m sure I’ll be visiting and commenting again soon.

  6. I was directed to your blog today when I typed “Keeper of the Home” as a Web search phrase. I believe God has been trying to tell me over the last few months that I need make more of an effort to discover what this means and to find joy in my life as a stay-at-home mom. After reading a few of your posts and browsing your site, you became an instant favourite and I will be back often. I need all the help I can get!!!

    (I understand you are also a fellow Canadian!! Funny how rare that seems in the blogosphere!)

  7. Oddly enough, I find that the opposite is true for me. Visual clutter distracts me terribly. It is easier for me to get my ‘insides’ in order once my ‘outside’ is in order. I do think the reason for the clutter would make a difference, though. Some would need to deal with the heart/thinking issues before they would be able to organize their space. I need to do it in the opposite way.

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