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Friday, September 20, 2013

Feeling a little "cluttered" lately?

If you have ever stopped to consider things long enough to actually get a clear perspective on things, you will probably realize there is that moment in time when you finally realize the reality of something - it comes as one of those "AHA!" experiences.  For the first time, you see things as they are - you really understand them.  In our spiritual lives, this happens, too.  We get to the place where we finally have that "AHA!" moment and then we sit and revel in what it is we finally see so clearly.  What happened to get us to this point? Simply put, we got enough of God into the places in our heart and mind where we had all the muddle previously!  As he got into those places, he sorted out the muddle and let us see him and our circumstances in clarity!

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  (Matthew 5:8 NIV)

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  (Matthew 5:8 MSG)

What kept us from seeing clearly in the first place?  Wasn't it the condition of our heart and mind?  We get too much "clutter" in there, listening to all the rattling the clutter causes, and then we lose perspective.  If you get to know me, you will realize I "retreat" when this "clutter" gets a little too loud.  I have to get away to "settle" the clutter - sorting things out.  It may not take me long - sometimes only a matter of minutes - but when I recenter my attention on Christ, allowing him to get past the clutter inside my mind and heart, I begin to realize the true perspective of the things which are causing all this "rattling".  There is much to be said about allowing God to get inside where it is we have all this "clutter" - but most importantly, we need to recognize he is the only one who can actually see ABOVE all the clutter!  So, settling comes when we allow someone with a better perspective than we possess to actually get INSIDE our world and take us OUTSIDE of our clutter.

There are a lot of things which really cause a lot of clutter inside our minds and hearts.  The top two which come to mind first are the things which make us anxious and the things which we see as necessary to somehow allow our ambitions to be realized.  Actually, these are closely related - for one feeds into the other.  Anxiety causes unnecessary "clutter" and a whole lot of "racket" in our minds.  Racket is anything which causes a disturbance - especially of the kind which brings confusion.  If you have ever been in a large room with a lot of people and activity galore, you probably have been on sensory overload at some point.  All the racket created by the constant chatter of those individuals and the noise created by the tasks they are performing just puts your senses on overload.  Ignore the "alert" of being on overload, and you will burn a fuse!  We are not made to handle sensory overload for long periods of time - we need to get the racket under control or we will fry!

Our ambitions can also give us some cause for concern only because they drive us forward when we might just need to be still and rest for a while. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but when it consumes us, it becomes something which creates unnecessary clutter and racket in our lives!  Goals are good - without them we drift around aimlessly.  Unrealistic goals - those which another places upon us, but for which we have absolutely no real personal desire to fulfill can cause us great anxiety.  We need to guard against anyone "defining" our goals / ambitions for us besides God himself. He knows what we can handle, what will ignite our passion, and the correct timing for that passion to be stoked.  Sometimes we just need to settle down long enough to evaluate if our ambitions are really the ones God designed for us and designed us for!

If you have ever been consumed by the clutter, you know you no longer look to God to meet your needs.  It isn't because you don't realize you should do this, but because you somehow think you already possess something within the clutter which will meet the need.  Clutter has a way of confusing the issues and making us see things without clear perspective.  When we take time to settle down the racket, allowing God to clean out the clutter, and then get a fresh perspective, we begin to see what it is God designed for us and what he has designed us for.  This issue of a "pure heart" goes way beyond just confessing our sins.  It involves allowing God to be the center of our attention, and dare I say, the "keeper of the clutter".  When we finally give him the clutter to deal with, it is amazing how the things we thought we needed and the noise they created are soon revealed as totally unnecessary in our lives!  Just sayin!